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.