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I'll Be Gone in the Dark Paperback – 1 Mar 2018
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I'll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it's a brilliant genre-buster. It's propulsive, can't-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing.
What readers need to know-what makes this book so special-is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara's is the light half. It's a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.(Stephen King)
McNamara has a novelist's eye for what emerges as her true theme: the illusion of the Californian dream... A brilliant, shattering work of art. (Independent i)
'Riveting. as heartbreaking as it is deeply compelling.' (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich Mail on Sunday)
'I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the true-crime equivalent of one of those literary biographies in which the research process and the motivations of the biographer are as much the focus of the biographee. McNamara includes biographical interludes, explaining why identifying and investigating a suspect is like falling in love, and speculating on the ways in which her devotion to the mystery mirrors the obsessive nature of the killer. She has a real gift for bringing alive the victims, witnesses and cops she writes about. The killer remains unidentified, but how he would hate to be the subject of a book which, as a record of so many people's passionate pursuits of justice, leaves one believing in the innate goodness of humanity rather than otherwise. A worthy memorial to its brave, engaging author.' (Daily Telegraph)
'An in-depth, utterly compelling investigation of the serial rapist and murderer who has become known as the Golden State Killer. the true emotional impact of I'll be Gone in the Dark is owed to the author's deeply personal writing style. In many ways this book is a memoir as much as a true crime account. McNamara is so present in this book - her unwavering dedication to the case and her deep empathy for the victims is palpable on every page. So much heart and humanity went into the research and writing of this book... a very powerful book.' (Booktopia)
The detective's nose for the crucial clue transmutes so easily into a novelist's eye for the concrete detail that conjures a memory or emotion. She applies the same gift to a handful of portraits of people affected by the killer's crimes...These read like fragments from Raymond Carver stories, tales of ordinary lives fractured by incomprehensible violence. Had she lived, McNamara might have helped identify the man who committed that violence, but before she died, she did something nearly as miraculous: making them all live again in some small way. (Slate)
'Whatever you look for in your true crime thrillers, this has surely got it. [the] prose is blisteringly passionate in spite of her undoubted rationality, pitching herself as an obsessive every bit the equal of the cruel coward she fought nobly to catch.' (Mr Hyde)
'Posthumously published true crime blogger McNamara's harrowing account of her time tracking the elusive Golden State Killer became even more relevant with the news last month that the Californian police may finally have got their man . . . A brilliant, shattering work of art' (Independent i)
'[A] game-changing investigation of the Golden State Killer. That the book feels triumphant even after tragedy upon tragedy is a testament to McNamara's skill as a reporter and the determination of her husband (comedian Patton Oswalt) to tie up loose ends and push forward with the publication.' (Esquire)
'A fanatical quest to identify California's 1970s Golden State Killer is told in gripping, grisly detail. As a record of obsession, I'll Be Gone in the Dark delivers a nearly fluorescent portrait of the fanatic's life: the sleepless nights and shut-in days, the rabbit holes of online message boards, the underground economies of samizdat information... More than 8,000 suspects were investigated as part of the Golden State Killer case. Detectives crisscrossed the country to retrieve DNA samples and follow leads. Yet the killer was never caught or even identified. Even decades after retirement, some detectives are unable to shake the case. "The Golden State Killer haunts their dreams," McNamara writes. "He's ruined their marriages. He's burrowed so deeply inside their heads that they want to, or have to, believe that if they locked eyes with him, they'd know." You come away from I'll Be Gone in the Dark suspecting much the same of McNamara. In the book's lyrical epilogue, she addresses the killer, who she imagines is now an old man somewhere in the dregs of America. McNamara sketches a hypothetical but hopeful scene in which a car pulls up to the kerb and detectives emerge to finally arrest the monster who has eluded them for more than 40 years. You can't help but believe that had McNamara lived, that outcome might have been a little more likely.' (Guardian)
About the Author
Michelle McNamara (1970-2016) was the author of the website TrueCrimeDiary.com. She earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota and had sold television pilots to ABC and Fox, and a screenplay to Paramount. She also worked as a consultant for Dateline NBC. She lived in Los Angeles and is survived by her husband, Patton Oswalt, and their daughter, Alice.
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McNamara's writing is compelling, and vividly captures the horrific nature of the crimes without ever seeming lurid or sensationalising the detail. Throughout, McNamara balances the chilling events with the real human impact of the crimes upon victims, loved ones, and investigators. It is this concern for people (and particularly the victims) which elevates I'll Be Gone in the Dark above other true crime writing.
I highly recommend this book.
I read in todays press (UK) the 26 April 2018 - and on the American websites that a man has just been arrested and charged with four of the murders. He was an ex police officer. I only finished reading this very worthwhile book a few weeks ago. Michelle McNamara deserves a lot of credit for keeping the case 'alive' and communicating with the different law agencies. I hope this fact does not get forgotten and her family should be very proud of her. In her book she writes a letter to a future time when the GSK would get caught and face justice. At the end of this man's trial this letter would make a fitting 'collective' victims statement and should be read aloud to him in open court. Well done Michelle McNamara and well done to all officers and scientists and technicians who have managed to corner their prey.
A very well researched book. Reads a more like a novel than a simple recount of criminal activity. The author did a good job and it is a great shame
she passed away before seeing the book in print - or even better seeing the EAR/ONS (read the book) brought to justice. It is not a spoiler to report that he/she is still at large. If this person ever gets arrested and charged Michelle McNamara should be recognised as the person who kept the 'heat' on this evil low life.
Michelle’s relationships and conversations with the investigators of these crimes demonstrates her professionalism in the field. Even though the book had to be completed from notes and research left behind by Michelle, the book tells the most coherent story of the Golden State Killer you’ll ever read. By the end you’re hoping this guy eventually gets caught, for victims’ sake as well as for all of those who have worked on this case.
I think this book will linger in my mind for a long time.
Unfortunately, Michelle died before the book was completed but what’s left is still a riveting read. Well worth the time investment.
McNamara died before the completion of this book and much of it has been pieced together by her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt. The information is taken from her notebooks, finished and unfinished chapters and all the case files and reports she meticuously detailed and kept. It's a fascinating read.
Worth mentioning that the GSK was caught just recently and people have mentioned that it may have been down to McNamara's investigative work and this book.
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