New Release Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

March 3, 2018 Uncategorized 15 ★★★★

New Release Review: I’ll Be Gone in the DarkTitle: I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Author: Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn
Source: from publisher for review

Summary: Engaging and well written, if a little disorganized.

“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,” (source) was obsessed with determining his identity. Online, she found a community of the similarly obsessed. Her empathetic and professional approach to the case helped her connect with both victims and investigators involved in the case. In this book, she brings together the clues they’ve uncovered that might lead to the killer’s discovery.

This story was written in an incredibly engaging way. My favorite parts were actually hearing about the author’s experience pursuing the killer. She drew me into her obsession. I loved hearing about the incredibly creative and resourceful ways people are still working on a cold case like this to bring a killer to justice. In both the memoir sections and the sections about the killer, the selection of details she included were perfect for bringing each scene to life. I could picture her working late at night, surrounded by her daughter’s toys. And I could picture the crime scenes described in a way that left me feeling completely creeped out.  She managed to achieve this without her descriptions of the violence feeling gratuitous.

The only downside to this book was that it was very poorly organized. Each chapter jumped around in time. Even though there were chapter labels with dates, it was hard to keep track of the order in which everything happened. Sometimes multiple time frames were included in the same chapter, which made the labels less helpful. It also wasn’t clear why the story was told in this way.  Sadly, the author passed away during the creation of this book, so it’s possible better organization would have happened otherwise. It was still a great read though and I was incredibly impressed by the writing.

15 Responses to “New Release Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”

  1. whatsnonfiction

    I’m glad to hear you liked this one too! I was so pulled in by this book, it was completely haunting. I agree the organization was off, I had to assume it was from the piecing together of her notes after her passing too. I think she could’ve achieved so much with it if she’d been able to finish, considering it was this good and she wasn’t even done.

    • DoingDewey

      I agree! I find her death very sad simply as a person and also as an author who won’t be producing more books, because it seems she was incredibly talented.

  2. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I agree – her own story as an amateur investigator was so integral to the success of this book. I do think the organization would have been better had she not passed away while writing it.

  3. Angela

    This sounds like such an interesting book, despite the flaws in organization. I’ve been seeing this one around a lot.

  4. Tara

    I’m so looking forward to this one, Katie, but I’ve been warned that I should probably not listen to the audio while I’m out running by myself – ha!

  5. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    I started reading this one at night and was so creeped out by the first couple of chapters I had to stop! You’re right, the writing is really vivid without feeling gratuitously violent, which is impressive. I need to read it on a nice, bright, sunny afternoon 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      I can’t blame you! I enjoyed this a lot, but when it started getting creepy, I did wonder what I’d gotten myself into 🙂

  6. Kazen @ Always Doing

    At first this book it was a maybe for me but it has gotten such raves here and elsewhere I think I’ll go for it. Not sure how the creepy will work out, so I may save it for the bright, sunny afternoon Kim suggests! 😉

    • DoingDewey

      I’ve been really happy to see this getting such rave reviews, because I think it deserves them. I hope that if you pick it up, it’s not too creepy for you 🙂

  1. Nonfiction Friday | Doing Dewey

    […] just read Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, I was interested to hear that a suspect was apprehended in the Golden State Killer […]

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