I’ll Be Gone in the Dark tells the story of the Golden State Killer. It was written by Michelle McNamara, the woman behind True Crime Diary, a true crime website dedicated to solving cold cases. I am so bummed I didn’t know about True Crime Diary before Michelle passed away. I went on there after I read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and immediately fell in love with her writing all over again.
My boyfriend bought the physical copy of this book because he’s a big fan of Patton Oswalt, who was Michelle’s husband, after finding out about the book via Patton’s Twitter account. I started reading it, but then the ladies on My Favorite Murder mentioned how amazing the audiobook was so I decided to check it out from my local library. And let me tell you, they were not kidding! The woman who reads this book has the perfect voice for true crime fiction. That sort of dreamy NPR voice — you know what I’m talking about.
The book details Michelle’s journey on trying to discover the Golden State Killer, the nickname she created for the person who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s. The Golden State Killer committed at least 13 murders, 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries. The book gives you an intimate glimpse into Michelle’s life and how dedicated she was to finding the Golden State Killer. From leaving fancy Hollywood parties early so she could follow up a tip she received by text or tracking down a pair of cufflinks in an pawn shop in middle of nowhere Oregon — you understand how dedicated and passionate she was at trying to find the person known as the Golden State Killer. If you have been following the case at all then you know a man by the name of Joseph DeAngelo was arrested in April 2018 as the potential Golden State Killer by DNA evidence.
At the time of DeAngelo’s arrest, my boyfriend was just finishing the book so I had yet to read it. But that did not stop me from listening to all of the news coverage OR the My Favorite Murder special episode with PAUL FREAKING HOLES. You can bet that I’m going back to re-listen to that episode now.
I will probably read the book at some point because some things were lost with listening to the audiobook. Obviously, I didn’t have the pictures to look at, and sometimes the layout of the book was a bit confusing to me when it jumped from year to year and city to city. I will say though, everyone needs to listen to Michelle’s Letter to an Old Man, from the very end of the book. That was the most haunting thing that I have ever listened to and I had goosebumps after it was over. And then immediately listening to Patton’s afterward had me in tears. Needless to say this book was an emotional roller coaster for a lot of different reasons: the terrorizing nature of the crimes, the endless goose chase of tracking down suspect after suspect, and finally the bitter sweetness of a woman who spent years researching in the darkness of her child’s playroom never able to look at the picture of the man she had hunted for so many years and say “got ya.”
If you are a lover of true crime books definitely pick this one up. If you are wanting to try true crime and don’t know where to start, start with this book. Michelle’s narrative writing style makes you believe you are reading a work of fiction rather than non-fiction. It’s a good read.
Until next time!