Book Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: True crime Brief synopsis:  During the 70s and 80s, over 50 rapes were committed by the E...

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: True crime

Brief synopsis: During the 70s and 80s, over 50 rapes were committed by the East Area Rapist (EAR) and over 10 murders were committed by the Original Night Stalker (ONS). DNA testing decades after the committed crimes led analyst to determine both the EAR and the ONS are the same guy. Michelle McNamara spent years of her life researching and investigating these crimes and dubbed the EAR-ONS with the moniker the Golden State Killer (GSK). This book is a collection of her research alongside retired detectives, investigators, and more.

I was really impressed with I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Honestly, the story was really dark, especially with it being true investigative journalism. Michelle McNamara really put her heart and soul into the book. Since she passed away before completing the book, I did feel like there was so much more we could've learned from her and about the crimes of the GSK. She actually wrote much of the book, but there were sections and chapters that were put together from her notes or other articles she'd written in the past. She had a true crime blog, as well, that focused on cold cases, and some of the content came from there as well.

What's so interesting about the story is the GSK was never caught or convicted - he could very much still be at large, which made the story terrifying. Granted, I live in the complete opposite side of the country, but every little noise I heard had me panicked. But because there's no specific identity, the story doesn't focus so much on him as it does his victims - who they were and are. It was beautifully written to respect the lives of those lost, but also wasn't afraid to give some of the gory details to really define the terrible deeds of the GSK.

The pieces that were less appealing to me were those written not directly by Michelle. The writing wasn't noticeably different, but were always preceded by disclaimers. Knowing they were not her words threw away a little of the appeal for me. I really enjoyed reading about Michelle's own childhood and what sparked her journey to uncover cold cases. Those were really my favorite parts of the entire book, if you'd believe it.

It was also so interesting to learn more about the start of DNA processing, which I had no clue was so relatively new!

If you're looking for something that's both educational and creepy, I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the perfect read for you. I'd definitely recommend it.

With no intention of discrediting or pulling attention away from Michelle's ingenuity or talent, I thought it was really interesting she was married to Patton Oswalt. While not an avid superfan of his, I've always enjoyed watching his shows and movies, so I thought that was a nice little tie-in and his afterword absolutely added to the overall quality of the book, and his little piece of love for his wife.

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