2020 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · 2020 Reviews · crime · non-fiction · true crime · Uncategorized

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

pop sugar 2020 1 sept

Today I am marking off my thirty first #31st checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:

a book on a subject you know nothing about

Updated edition: With introduction by Gillian Flynn, a compelling true crime account of

the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised 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.

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.


It took true crime author and researcher Michelle McNamara over a decade to compile her comprehensive book on the renowned Golden State Killer, titled I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. A fascinating and insightful true crime portrait, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark offers a unique perspective on the manhunt involved in capturing the notorious Golden State Killer.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark offers a deep and informative account of the process of trying to capture the Golden State Killer. This rapist and murderer ploughed his way through California in the 1970s and into the 1980s, taking many prisoners in his wake. One woman, Michelle McNamara, was determined to unmask the identity of the Golden State Killer. Unfortunately, this dogged and passionate journalist was never got to see her labour of love published, she passed away before completing the book. With the help of a researcher and a fellow investigative journalist, Michelle McNamara’s ground work is brought to light. Readers are issued with a compelling glimpse into California’s recent past. This startling perspective provides the reader with a solid understanding of the carnage caused by the Golden State Killer. It also shows the reader another side to the story, the impact this book had on the writer, Michelle McNamara and her inherent desire to bring down this killer. A collaborative piece, drawing on perspectives from lead investigators, victims and family members left behind, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a remarkable true crime presentation.

Just a few days ago I came across a shocking headline in my Twitter feed, ‘Golden State Killer issued with 26 life terms’. This statement and figure astounded me. I also had no idea of who this Golden State Killer was. A quick goggle search and an overview of a number of articles detailing this prolific killer’s exploits had me intrigued. In response, I managed to unearth a key text in outlining the shocking behaviour of the Golden State Killer. Thanks to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,  I was able to glean much more about this cold blooded criminal.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is clearly formatted and structured, which makes it so much easier for those who tend not to read a lot of non fiction. Following the contents page, a timeline, map, a moving introduction from author Gillian Flynn and prologue, there are two comprehensive parts dealing the Golden State Killer’s movements and the resulting investigation it covered. Following the passing of the author, Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen composed part three of this text, which draws on much of Michelle McNamara’s research notes. McNamara’s husband provides the afterword and an epilogue titled ‘Letter to an Old Man’ which adequately closes I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

Although I don’t consider myself a seasoned true crime reader or non-fiction fan, I do like to dabble in the genre from time to time. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark features a subject matter and dark figure I was unfamiliar with until I picked up this book. McNamara’s special form of storytelling and careful approach really brings this case to life. A profile is slowly built on this horrendous criminal, based on an array of information collated by McNamara’s thorough research methods. What I found most striking was the depiction of the setting and time period. McNamara is able to fully immerse the reader in 1980s California. It was an absolutely fascinating insight into society at this point in time. With the input of procedural elements from the resulting police investigations, detailed information on the crime scenes, the impact on the victims and the loved ones struck by the Golden State Killer’s actions, a clear picture begins to emerge. All the while there is the determined, persistent and resolute voice of Michelle McNamara guiding this manhunt. The loss of McNamara hits hard and I felt very saddened that she was not able to see her book released and the arrest of the man she was desperately searching for. However, McNamara’s legacy is carried through I’ll Be Gone in the Dark until the very end. This certainly is a true crime novel not to be missed.

**** 4 stars

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara was published on 27th February 2018. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.


2 thoughts on “POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

  1. Awesome, another category crossed off! An unexpected but interesting book choice for this prompt, I can stop guessing now lol.
    I’ve not heard of the golden state killer either. Sounds brutal.

    Liked by 1 person

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