#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case—which was solved in April 2018.
Introduction by Gillian Flynn • Afterword by Patton Oswalt
“A brilliant genre-buster.... Propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading.” —Stephen King
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. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.
“What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.”
“Both a vivid and meticulous investigation of a twisted predator who terrorized quiet, upper middle-class communities in California for nearly a decade, and a wrenching personal account from a writer who became consumed by her subject.”
“This is a one sit-down read. That’s how riveting it is. Very few writers have the skill to bring a decades-old cold case to life; in these pages, Michelle McNamara has not only successfully resuscitated the fascinating case of the Golden State Killer, but done so with humanity, insight, and grace.”
“A singular, fascinating read. It’s lifelike in its incompletion... a posthumous treasure that feels thrillingly alive. A-”
“What makes McNamara’s work so compelling is her empathy and sensitivity toward the people touched by these crimes.... I wish I could read the next 10 books she would have written.”
“This book just knocked me over.”
“A powerful portrait of the scale of the Golden State Killer’s crimes, of the mechanics of criminal investigations, of the strange particular dread and paranoia in the California in the 1970s, and of McNamara’s own obsession with violent men, and this one violent man.”
“Breathtaking, ambitious, and exquisitely written.”
“Michelle McNamara was an obsessive. She was also a damn good writer. That combustive mix has produced I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a dark page-turner.... Scintillating.”
“That the book feels triumphant even after tragedy upon tragedy is a testament to McNamara’s skill as a reporter.”
“Narrative true crime journalism at its very finest, a complex, multilayered, chilling portrait of a faceless monster, and a remarkable tribute to the woman who, up until her last day, believed she would one day have him in her crosshairs.”
“Any true crime project is basically a reckoning with death, but in this case, it’s a reckoning that is no longer theoretical. McNamara is gone. And what’s especially sad about her absence is just how good she was.”
“Remarkable.... A modern true crime classic.”
“Chilling.... Hard to put down.”
“The work has many notable qualities — in particular, a penetrating and elegiac voice.”