Audiobook, True Crime

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara ★★★★

I’ve followed true crime since reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote as a teen. Most of my focus tends to be on serial killers as they are a crafty group who are often elusive to law enforcement and I really want my happy ending (they’re found, locked up, tried and justice served). Imagine my surprise when, during this book’s promotion, I learned, for the first time about the Golden State Killer, or the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker (EARs/ONS). The fact that this killer/rapist escaped nationwide notoriety tells you something about him and his crimes.

The author does something different here than what I customarily find in other similar true crime stories. She provides a lot of context for the victims and survivors, humanizing them in a way that makes you experience their trauma emotionally without relying on graphic details to evoke feeling unless it was germane to the evidence and investigation. I felt like I knew them more intimately before their assaults. Truman Capote was the only other author I’ve read who accomplished the same.

I found the book fascinating, particularly the insights into the hearts, minds and dogged determination of the primary investigators. These crimes lived with them and McNamara succeeded in humanizing and honoring them as well. It is a tribute to her that they all viewed her as part of the investigative team.

It’s tragic that the author died before completing the book and before seeing the killer captured shortly after the book’s release. I think those who helped bring the book to completion did an admirable job. However, you can tell the author wasn’t able to tell her story as sometimes the telling of the events lacked a cohesive element. But, it didn’t lessen my appreciation for her work on this case and I can’t help but feel she may have fallen victim too because of her obsession about the case. I listened to the story and really liked how the narrator refrained from using a dramatic approach. It read like a reporter or law enforcement professional giving me the facts: straight and no nonsense.

Highly recommend this to those who are true crime followers and appreciate the value of good investigative work in tracking down a wily killer.



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11 thoughts on “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara ★★★★”

  1. You can’t help but feel… does that mean we don’t know how the author died? You’d think if she was a victim, they might have known or mentioned that in the book, very briefly.

    It does sound fascinating. I like these kind of stories also. Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you are right, Jonetta. I have seen her husband speak about the book, and she was not sleeping well. She was completely consumed with the case, her anxiety was high, and her sleep deprivation played a part, and that is why she took the medication. I bought this one and need to read it soon. Your review is lovely, as always, and I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I only saw one interview when I didn’t know much about the book or the case and don’t remember much about her. Thanks for sharing that insight and I’ll be very interested in your thoughts after reading the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful insightful review! I read an article on the author and yes I think she was just consumed with this book it is so unfortunate that it took her life in the end, glad they were able to do her justice with the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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