I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

By Michelle McNamara

  • Release Date: 2018-02-27
  • Genre: True Crime
Score: 4.5
From 178 Ratings
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Introduction by Gillian Flynn
Afterword by Patton Oswalt

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it’s a brilliant genre-buster. It’s propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing.

What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.”   —Stephen King

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.

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.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

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. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.


  • Page turner!!

    By chalupalytica
    Excellent read for anyone who enjoys the anticipation of true crime
  • Reader

    By revtch1
    McNamara wrote compelling prose with more than the usual layperson’s grip of criminal investigation. Her analysis is reminiscent of Ann Rule. The background story of her life is inseparable for readers who are now caught up in the compulsion to see this rapist/killer caught.
  • I’ll be gone in the dark

    By 4ensicsgal
    This book is exceptionally amazing. Grips you from page one.
  • Amazing writer

    By Shakira without the Sha
    I’d give this six stars if I could - I literally couldn’t put it down. I can’t believe this is Michelle’s only book. She writes so beautifully and just wanted more. I so wish this book had been the beginning of her career as a novelist and not the end. Loved it.
  • Beyond five stars!

    By mcgb1972
    Her structure, the writing, the layout... all kept me hooked. You start to create your own theories. Rest in light, Michelle. You have a new fan.
  • Chilling

    By Spineynorma
    The details and insights bring bumps to the skin and make you want to double check the locks on your doors and windows!
  • Very Insightful!

    By Glamorekitten
    It is quite amazing that a true crime story, that reads like a Novel holds you in its grip. Ms. Oswalts gift for research and Information absolutely unbelievable. My heart goes out to her Family for their lost, but she has left a wonderful legacy behind.
  • GSK

    By Premrents
    This book was as good a read as I thought it would be. I finished it in two days and now find myself disappointed that it's over. I loved this book and wish Michelle McNamara was still here to see how wonderful it turned out. This is a must read for anyone that loves true crime stories.
  • A well written true crime book.

    By Puzzle Kitty
    This book can be compared to the writing style of Erik Larson who wrote ‘Devil in A White City’. It is written in the prose of a novel yet matter of fact in the approach as most true crime books are penned. You can feel here obsession and hear the all night clicking of her furious research in every paragraph you devour. My only problem with the book is no fault of the author. It became as stale as the trail of this killer when others tried to fill in the blanks after her death. It was like eating two thirds of a filet mignonette and then being given a hot dog. I did devour the book in one day so that says a lot more than this review could convey. It is a compelling read.