I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Book - 2018
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For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults and ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist, pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. The masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death - offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind.
Publisher: New York, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780062319784
Characteristics: xvi, 328 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some colour), map, portraits (some colour) ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: I will be gone in the dark


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TechLibrarian May 14, 2018

I had to see what all the fuss was about, since this book has been in the headlines and on the holds shelf so much lately. The author chronicles the rapes and murders committed by the Golden State Killer in the late 1970s, and in so doing aptly communicates the terror he imposed across California. (I found myself locking and double checking that I'd locked my doors, and jumping at any sounds I heard in the night.) I'm not big on true crime and don't enjoy being creeped out, but I did like how the author wove her own narrative into her telling of the story. Anyone who likes true crime will probably like this book, while I myself need to read something that restores my faith in humankind now. :)

May 04, 2018

They just got him, didn't they? Also, I've had this book on hold for like a year and a half lol.

May 02, 2018

I had put this book on hold at the library a couple of months ago and it came in just weeks before news broke that they had arrested a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, so it was a very timely read. I have not read any true crime novels and I was unsure of whether it would be a genre I would want to read as it is that much creepier to read these stories knowing that they are based on real events that have taken place. I was however curious about it and so I thought I'd give it a try and you know what, I'm glad I did. It was interesting, yet terrifying, and i became hypersensitive to every little sound in the house while reading it at night. Michelle McNamara has an honest and gripping style of writing that just sucks you into the story and the facts right away. It is uncanny how well she can portray the events that happened and how her obsession can pique the reader's interest. I was somewhat confused by how the timeline was presented as it was not followed chronologically which i would have expected. I continuously consulted the timeline and map provided at the beginning of the book. This however did not take away from the quality of the writing. I am blown away by the amount of information Michelle was able to obtain! Her epilogue was quite powerful. I do wish she could have witnessed the arrest and we could have read her take on the events that have unfolded recently in the case of the Golden State Killer.

mko123 Apr 26, 2018

They just got this guy! The recently deceased author kept the interest high and the heat on the detectives to solve these decades old crimes. Too bad she didn't live to see the arrest. I got half way through this book and had to put it down because I was getting too creeped out. That is a testament to what a good writer she is. It was all too visual for me. It reminded me of In Cold Blood. Read it if you dare.

Apr 25, 2018

Hot off the press that the suspect of the "Golden State Killer", an epithet coined by the author, has been arrested and jailed without bail today. I had the book for awhile and decided to dump my other reading material to peruse this true crime book first. Surprised that this is the first and only book published by the author. From the "Afterword", realized that McNamara's died unexpectedly in April 2016 and her husband Patton Oswalt finished the book for release on February 27, 2018 with the help of lead case researcher Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen. As mentioned by others, this is a relatively thin book that chronicled the victims of the killer from police files, punctuated with the author's own investigations and capped off with about 36 photos at the end. Now we wait for the police stories and hopefully the trial. As Oswalt wrote in the "Afterword":

I’m still hoping he (the Golden State Killer) hears that cell door slam behind him. And I hope she hears it somehow too.

Note: see list of victims in "Cast of Characters" in "Summary."

Apr 25, 2018

Suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, an ex-cop, arrested April 25, 2018. Just over two years after the death of Michelle McNamara April 21, 2016. The book was a quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

DCLadults Apr 24, 2018

Chilling true crime book that is hard to read and put down.

kobrien3 Mar 23, 2018

I chose this one because I loved Michelle McNamara's blog (True Crime Diary), and the ladies behind one of my favourite podcasts (My Favorite Murder) were raving about it. It is quite possibly the best true crime book I've ever read. The amount of time and energy Michelle spent on researching and chasing the Golden State Killer is truly staggering. The writing is beautifully done, and as she recounts the stories of the victims, survivors, and investigators who have worked on this case it often feels as though they are sitting across from you, telling you their stories themselves. Almost as much a memoir as a work of true crime, I enjoyed every moment of reading this. If you enjoy true crime this one is not to be missed!


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Apr 26, 2018

Citrus Heights where DeAngelo, 72, has been arrested on Apr 25, 2018:

(EAST AREA RAPIST . . . FEAR GRIPS SERENE NEIGHBORHOODS), a man in a leather hood entered the window of a house in Citrus Heights and sneaked up on a sixteen-year-old girl watching television alone in the den. He pointed a knife at her and issued a chilling warning:
“Make one move and you’ll be silent forever and I’ll be gone in the dark.”
What is the lasting damage when you believe the warm spot you were just sleeping in will be your grave? Time sands the edges of the injuries, but they never lose their hold. A nameless syndrome circulates permanently through the body, sometimes long dormant, other times radiating powerful waves of pain and fear. A hand gripped her neck. A blunt-tipped weapon dug into the side of her throat. At least a dozen investigators in Northern California could have correctly predicted the first words whispered in the dark.
“Don’t move.”
“Don’t scream.”

Apr 26, 2018

In another notepad, she wrote: “Don’t underestimate the fantasy: not raping in front of men—afraid of male; functional; privacy, writhing male not part of his fantasy. Mommy and crying. No remorse. Probably part of fantasy.” There were even notes on her own psychology:
-He was a compulsive prowler and searcher. We, who hunt him, suffer from the same affliction. He peered through windows. I tap “return.” Return. Return. Click Mouse click, mouse click.
-Rats search for their own food.
-The hunt is the adrenaline rush, not the catch. He’s the fake shark in Jaws, barely seen so doubly feared.
AFTER PROCESSING THE HOUSE, THE POLICE SAID TO DREW WITTHUHN, “It’s yours.” The yellow tape came down; the front door closed. The impassive precision of badges at work had helped divert attention from the stain. There was no avoiding it now. His brother and sister-in-law’s bedroom was just inside the front door, directly across from the kitchen. Standing at the sink,

Apr 26, 2018

California Proposition 69, approved in 2004, which mandated DNA collection from all felons, and from adults and juveniles charged with certain crimes (e.g., sex offenses, murder, arson). Keith Harrington’s (1980 victim in Dana Point) brother Bruce sponsored the campaign, pledging nearly $2 million to fund it.
DNA was the thread Michelle felt was the best way to get out of the maze of the Golden State Killer. California was one of only nine states in America that allowed testing of familial DNA within the state’s database. If the GSK’s brother was arrested for a felony tomorrow, we would see a hit. But that database contains only people who have been convicted of a crime. Michelle thought she might have found the killer when she had uploaded his DNA profile to a Y-STR database available online from Ancestry.com.
EAR/ONS == East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker

Apr 25, 2018


Scrolling through the rest of the 3,500 documents in Michelle’s hard drive, one comes upon a file titled “RecentDNAresults,” which features the EAR’s (East Area Rapist) Y-STR markers (short tandem repeats on the Y chromosome that establish male-line ancestry), including the elusive rare PGM marker. Having the Golden State Killer’s DNA was always the one ace up this investigation’s sleeve. But a killer’s DNA is only as good as the databases we can compare it to. There was no match in CODIS. And there was no match in the California penal system’s Y-STR database. If the killer’s father, brothers, or uncles had been convicted of a felony in the past sixteen years, an alert would have gone to Paul Holes or Erika Hutchcraft (the current lead investigator in Orange County). They would have looked into the man’s family, zeroed in on a member who was in the area of the crimes, and launched an investigation. But they had nothing.


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Apr 25, 2018

Cast of Characters

Sheila (Sacramento, 1976)
Jane Carson (Sacramento, 1976)
Fiona Williams (South Sacramento, 1977)
Kathy (San Ramon, 1978)
Esther McDonald (Danville, 1978)

MURDER VICTIMS (***DNA link tied to 4 cases --- announced Apr 25. 2018)
Claude Snelling (Visalia, 1978)
Katie and Brian Maggiore (Sacramento, 1978)
Debra Alexandria Manning and Robert Offerman (Goleta, 1979)
Charlene and Lyman Smith (Ventura, 1980) ***(DNA link)
Patrice and Keith Harrington (Dana Point, 1980)
Manuela Witthuhn (Irvine, 1981) ***(DNA link)
Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez (Goleta, 1981) ***(DNA link)
Janelle Cruz (Irvine, 1986) ***(DNA link)
Note: per wiki: The Golden State Killer is a serial killer, serial rapist and serial burglar who committed 50 rapes in Northern California during the mid-1970s and murdered twelve people in Southern California from 1979 through 1986 ...
Author's February 27, 2013 article for LA magazine:


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