I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK BY MICHELLE MCNAMARA

Published: February 2018 by Harper

Genre: True Crime

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never been much of a true crime fan. And by that I mean I have never before read any true crime nor had any interest… because I’m a big ol’ scaredy cat.

So the fact that I picked up this book at all is kind of a big deal… and it probably wouldn’t have happened were it not for my cousin’s very exciting Book Club proposal–read and discuss true crime books over Mexican food and call it Murder & Margaritas. Obviously I was sold on that one, so I was more than willing to pick up a book that was sure to give me nightmares.

It wasn’t until several months later though, after the Golden State Killer had been caught, that I finally got my hands on a copy and started reading. I read the first half of the book on my way to New York for BookCon (which was not my best decision ever, I’ll admit, because I’m already a nervous flier as it is and this book is SCARY). But I couldn’t stop reading it. From the very first page, I was hooked and completely absorbed in this horrifying story. McNamara is a truly phenomenal researcher and a brilliant writer, and the editing team that worked to finish this book after her untimely death did a fantastic job.

Once I returned home from New York, it took me the rest of the month to finish the last hundred pages. Not because I lost interest, but because I actually couldn’t sleep at night if I read in the evenings, or read more than a chapter or two at a time at home. This book really did terrify me. How someone could write about true events that happened decades ago, full of facts and information gathered from extensive digging into police and news reports, and make it truly scary, is beyond me. McNamara was incredibly gifted, and it’s devastating to me that she passed before she got to see the Golden State Killer behind bars.

This book is not a light read, nor is it one you should approach lightly. Depictions of the Golden State Killer’s crimes, which included fifty sexual assaults and ten horrific murders, kept me up at night. I honestly can’t tell you if I’m glad I know as much as I now know about it. This book definitely hasn’t turned me into a true crime reader… if anything, it cemented the fact that I’m not really cut out for the genre.

However, I still rated this one five stars because it’s truly a monumental book. McNamara’s writing blew me away… her ability to recite all these facts while also keeping me completely enthralled in the story, while also presenting such real people involved in this case, while also scaring the you-know-what out of me was definitely deserving of 5 stars. I’m also just completely intrigued by the timing of it all… McNamara died before the book was ever completed, and before the killer was found, and the editors put it together and wrapped it up in the most complete way they could, and then, just months after its publication, the Golden State Killer was finally caught. I mean… it’s just crazy.

If you’re up for a disturbing read, and able to handle the subject matter, I’d definitely recommend this one. It won’t be for everyone (and maybe shouldn’t have been for me), but it’s an incredible book all the same and one I absolutely will not be forgetting any time soon.

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