I’ll Be Gone In the Dark By Michelle McNamara | Book Review

i'll be gone in the dark review




A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

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.


“Movies don’t capture the effect of the real thing. It’s impossible to reproduce in a studio. Conversations stop. Heads jerk. Eardrums pound with dread. For nothing signals terror like a teenage girl’s wild, unrestrained scream in the night”

I don’t think words can accurately describe how I felt reading Michelle McNamara’s brilliant work of True Crime. If I possessed the talent for prose Michelle did perhaps I could.

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark is one of the most unique pieces of True Crime I have ever read. All of the trademarks are there, of course, the meticulous research, the evidence, the writers own theories and interviews with detectives and internet sleuths. However unique to this story is the hauntingly beautiful narrative prose and Michelle’s persona perfectly entwined in the story. Paul Holes phrases it best in the book;

“The ability to learn the case, have insights that many do not have the aptitude for, the persistence, and the fun and engaging personality all wrapped up in one person was amazing”

As a reader, you can’t help but be painfully aware throughout the novel that this wonderful human was taken from the world to soon. I have hope that all her painstaking work and obsession with finding the responsible suspect will be rewarded after a reader reads this book and, like Michelle utilizes their own skills playing detective. Finally fitting the pieces together and solving the case she dedicated much of her life trying to figure out.

“We will not stop until we get his name, we’ll be playing detective as well”

The book is as one expects, completely riveting. I made the mistake of starting it during the process of moving and working and ended up reading it into the wee hours of the morn. With all my lights on and doors locked of course. She has a way with prose that is so visual, I was often left with chills up my spine and a scream caught in my throat. As someone who has read a lot of True Crime, I can say nothing has yet left me quite as shook to my core as this book.

Even if you aren’t a True Crime reader I implore you to read this book. It’s a window into the beautiful person that was Michelle, and an intimate view into the obsession that kept her up at night.

I had to read the last chapter several times the “Letter to an old man” she wrote has an immense impact and I can only imagine what the Golden State Killer felt if he has read it. I hope he has, and I hope like so many of his victims, He is afraid.

“Open the door. Show us your face.

Walk into the light”


I think it’s also very important to highlight we should all trust our gut instinct. If you see something suspicious that doesn’t seem right, call 000/911. Worst case they check it out and it’s nothing, but you could be ultimately saving someone’s life.