I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

eBook - 2018
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:

Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR | Paste | Seattle Times | Entertainment Weekly | Esquire | Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel | Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle | Mother Jones | Real Simple | Crime Reads | Book Riot | Bookish | Amazon | Barnes and Noble |Hudson Booksellers New York Public Library | Chicago Public Library

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

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.

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.


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m
MommaJen
Jun 06, 2019

My first true crime book, and I am hooked! I didn't know anything about GSK until he was caught. After following what I could of the story on reddit and other sources, I finally got the book everyone was talking about. It's nearly impossible to put this book down until its finished.

t
toddhansen1
May 16, 2019

Fantastic read! A+

s
snydes81
Apr 30, 2019

I listened to the ebook on a road trip and air trip and found the story fascinating and terrifying. Being in the Bay Area it was unreal to imagine the terror the GSK in his many alleged personas inflicted on Sacramento and later other parts of the Bay Area and California. This terror, woven in with the great investigative efforts of the author, her story, and the past and future of criminal investigations was a real treat. I thought the book was too exhaustive in parts, but that's where tuning out an ebook is easy. That said, I'm still happy I listened and keen to find out the outcome of the GSK's trial in real time.

b
brangwinn
Mar 30, 2019

The determination to find the Golden State Killer by an amateur detective shows what doggedly following leads can do. Interesting and amazing how much one woman was able to accomplish

r
raydot
Feb 26, 2019

Fantastic book. Page turner by the end. Especially relevant if you live between Contra Costa and Sacramento. McNamara is a master writer in this genre, and it’s a shame there will be no more from her.

IndyPL_CindyB Feb 26, 2019

True crime is one of my favorite genres, but this book is more than that. If I had the time and means I would absolutely love to do what Michelle McNamara did in this book. It is absolutely riveting. When you think about how she was so close but so far from her dream of knowing who the Golden State Killer (a name she invented) was it gives you hope that you too can make a real difference in the world. The sadness comes when you realize she died two years before the suspect was apprehended.

b
bibliofiend13
Jan 23, 2019

I'm amazed at how much work the author put into this book, and saddened that she did not live to see him brought to justice.

t
TutoredOdin
Jan 18, 2019

This is a must read true crime novel!

a
alexkies
Jan 11, 2019

kept waiting for her to condemn the police's ineptitude.

SCL_Justin Jan 05, 2019

I don't usually read true crime but this was good so I'm glad I did read it. I do think that it being an unfinished posthumous publication makes it more interesting from a craft of writing and investigation perspective. The privacy implications of what actually caught the killer are to me even more scary than the rash of 1970s crimes depicted. But I didn't live through that terror so whatever.

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Quotes

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a
alyxcampbell
Feb 01, 2019

This is how it ends for you.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once.

Open the door. Show us your face.

Walk into the light.”

j
jimg2000
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.”

j
jimg2000
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,

j
jimg2000
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

j
jimg2000
Apr 25, 2018

FINDING THE KILLER WITH FAMILIAL DNA

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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k
krsbozo
Jun 25, 2018

I have an occasional thing for True Crime, and this case has definitely caught my interest, but of course not at the same level as it captured the author's. She pursued this killer and rapist with the same level of dedication as the hardened detectives and criminalists that she profiles along with the killer. A good read, although sobering.

j
jimg2000
Apr 25, 2018

Cast of Characters
Victims:

RAPE VICTIMS
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:

http://www.lamag.com/longform/in-the-footsteps-of-a-killer/

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