I'll Be Gone in the Dark

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case—which was solved in April 2018.

SCIBA Book Award Winner

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018.

Introduction by Gillian Flynn • Afterword by Patton Oswalt

“A brilliant genre-buster.... Propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading.”   —Stephen King

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara Summary

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer is a true crime book by Michelle McNamara about the Golden State Killer. The book was released posthumously on February 27, 2018, nearly two years after McNamara's death. McNamara became interested in the Golden State Killer case and wrote an article for Los Angeles magazine about the serial killer in 2013. She then signed a book deal with HarperCollins and began to work on a book about the case. McNamara herself coined the moniker "Golden State Killer" to refer to the serial killer/rapist who had previously been referred to by various other names (e.g., Original Night Stalker, East Area Rapist, and the Diamond Knot Killer).McNamara died in her sleep on April 21, 2016, at the age of 46. At the time of her death, she had been in the middle of her hunt for the killer, and her book was unfinished. Crime writer Paul Haynes, investigative journalist Billy Jensen, and McNamara's widower Patton Oswalt helped finish the book after McNamara’s death. The book – McNamara's debut – was released on February 27, 2018 (almost two years after her death) and reached the top of The New York Times Best Seller list for non-fiction. The book remained on the list for fifteen weeks.I'll Be Gone in the Dark contains an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by Oswalt. In April 2018, HBO announced that they had purchased the rights for I'll Be Gone in the Dark and were developing it into a documentary series. Filming for the series began on April 24, 2018.On April 25, 2018, the Sacramento Police announced the April 24 arrest of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case: 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo (born November 8, 1945). DeAngelo, a former police officer in Auburn and Exeter, California, was arrested and charged with six counts of first-degree murder. Authorities in Sacramento, Orange, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties are preparing charges against DeAngelo for all twelve of the murders in the Golden State Killer case...

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara Book Reviews (634)


Fascinating Read5 star

Incredible book. You won’t be able to put it down. It is amazing how the author zeros in on things that may have been speculative when she wrote them, but which were ultimately fact, such as the connection to Citrus Heights, the place where Joseph James DeAngelo was eventually taken away in cuffs. 55

Aussie Howie in LA

I’ll be gone in the dark5 star

I’m an Australian father of two boys who has moved to LA to further my wife’s career . This book quickly got a hold of my fears and anxiety . Reading this at night , with kids in bed and sometimes with wife away on business ,heightened the senses to every sound in the house . The doors were locked and double checked . A great read into the primal fear of any family . Loved it 55


Riveting5 star

I hardly ever read nonfiction. It just so happens the news broke that the Golden State Killer was captured while I was at work. Michelle McNamara’s tireless investigation and her book was mentioned, as well as her untimely death. My interest was peaked. I discussed it with my co-workers and we all agreed to read it. I started this book Monday and couldn’t put it down. I had a busy week, but by Saturday I had devoured it completely. Michelle has a friendly, warm way of writing. She takes you into her world of laptop detective work. The endless digging and chasing pieces. And she shares wonderful little tidbits of her life and her family. You feel like you are drinking tea as Michelle takes you along her journey. We peer over her shoulder as she describes her meetings and collaborative work with detectives. I was worried about the victims stories, I wanted to know, but would it be too much? Michelle walks you through the victims’ stories humanely and respectfully. I ended up caring about each victim. By the end, I was quite moved. I was changed. Michelle was a great talent, gone too soon. This book is a gift to us, the readers. I didn’t know Michelle, but by the end of this book I very much cared about the same thing she cared about: the capture of the Golden State Killer. I have a new appreciation for detectives and science too. I highly recommend this book. 55


Book Slows In The Middle4 star

Great writer and story. Very matter of fact. The middle just dragged. 45


I’ll be gone in the Dark3 star

A good read, however, extremely hard to follow. The information was there but the book jumped from place to place. Would have helped to have had a map of some sort, if you were not familiar with the areas. Thank God they got the SOB and may he rot in hell for all he’s done. I hope Michelle knows it. 35


Extraordinary story3 star

I read this not long after GSK was arrested. The author was very, very close--uncannily so. She deserves credit for that. The book sags in the middle and I would've liked more psychological detail, more of the profile. I wish she were alive to see him behind bars. I like to believe she's up there smiling, her mission accomplished. RIP, god bless, and well done, Michelle. 35

Mele 113

Killer Caught5 star

One woman search for the truth came to an end. Over a 10-year-period, from 1976 to 1986, the Golden State Killer was linked by DNA and method to 12 slayings, 45 sexual assaults and more than 120 burglaries from Sacramento to Southern California’s Orange County. 55


Compelling!5 star

Excellent writing by a passionate lady. So wish she could have known that the GSK EAR was finally caught. 55


Amazing5 star

I so wish so could have seen this man caught. An amazing book there’s been times a night we’re I had to stop reading because it was so unsettling. 55

Kat1959 22

Riveting5 star

One of those books you just cannot put down. Except at night, best read in the daylight. Creepy, intriguing and full of details. The writer makes you feel like you are watching the crimes. So sorry we won’t get more from her, what a loss. I hope she is resting in peace and somehow knows that they finally got him. 55

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