I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was finished posthumously after the author, Michelle McNamara passed away in 2016 before she was able to completely finish the book. Because of this, the book was pieced together primarily from her research, the partial manuscript for the book and her previous articles about the Golden State Killer (GSK). I felt this gave some of the chapters a bit of a disjointed reading feel, but mostly because there were parts where the information would abruptly shift direction due to the somewhat incomplete nature of her research at the time of her death.
I purposely never paid much attention to the identity of the GSK when he was captured because I wanted to read this book – and reading this book really had me feeling anxious during the process that Michelle and all the other dedicated researchers (both professional and amateur) went through to find this awful, awful man. All total, he is accused of 50 sexual assaults and at least 10 murders, but due to the statute of limitations for the crimes he committed, he can only be tried for a fraction of those.
I truly believe that had Michelle lived to finish the book completely it would have been much smoother and not disjointed. Circumstances being what they are, there is no avoiding that, and I think that the information was presented in an informative way that detailed the search and the developments utilized in the search through the years. I learned a lot that I did not know about DNA usage in the search for criminals, and I slept with the light on for several nights in a row because I was rather freaked out but could not help but read the book at bedtime anyway.
And by the end, I was sitting on the couch with tears streaming down my face as I looked at pictures of the victims of the GSK and Michelle herself. Between Michelle’s writing, the introduction by Gillian Flynn and the afterword by Michelle’s husband Patton Oswald, I felt connected to all of them…and seeing their pictures just cemented that. This is definitely going to be a top read of the year, I think.
5 out of 5 stars.