A singular blend of tenacity, resourcefulness, and compassion distinguished Michelle McNamara as a journalist and made her uniquely equipped to put the decades-long hunt for the elusive Golden State Killer to rest — a goal she pursued tirelessly until her untimely death. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which chronicles that pursuit, is at once a gripping, keep-you-up-all-night, real-life whodunit; a testament to McNamara’s inimitable resolve; and an extraordinary parting gift from a talented writer. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
We are all drawn to darkness, but some people are more keenly attuned to the siren song of the void than others. Michelle McNamara was just such a person: a well-regarded journalist, she devoted herself to finding a man she dubbed "the Golden State Killer." Despite the breadth of his crimes and many near-misses, he was never caught, although he has occasionally emerged to taunt his victims. By the end of this incredible book, I was as obsessed as McNamara. I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a remarkable piece of journalism, urgently paced and filled with small human details that made the story come alive. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
I first read this book in early 2018 and was simply overwhelmed. I slept with the lights on and refused to answer the door for weeks! Then in April, when the Golden State Killer was finally identified, I reread McNamara’s “Letter to an Old Man” and felt the hairs on my arms stand straight up. I’ve never encountered a work of nonfiction that left me feeling quite so terrified and amazed. Recommended By McKenzie W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 New York Times Bestseller
The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.
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 is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.
"This book just knocked me over." Megan Abbott
"Remarkable.... A modern true crime classic." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"This is a one sit-down read. That’s how riveting it is. Very few writers have the skill to bring a decades-old cold case to life; in these pages, Michelle McNamara has not only successfully resuscitated the fascinating case of the Golden State Killer, but done so with humanity, insight, and grace." Michael Connelly
About the Author
Michelle McNamara (1970–2016) was the author of the website True Crime Diary. She earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota, and had sold television pilots to ABC and Fox and a screenplay to Paramount. She also worked as a consultant for Dateline NBC. She lived in Los Angeles and is survived by her husband, Patton Oswalt, and their daughter, Alice.