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I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Chat Sách’s rating: ☆☆☆☆/5

I’m giving this book four stars but I still feel very unsatisfying as the book is unfinished… It wasn’t a surprise going in as it was completed and published post-mortem, but at least 20% was a tribute to the author’s life and research, which is fine if it’s was written on a blog but within the context of the book, I feel I was cheated.

Just a few days after the book was published, the police announced the arrest of the Golden State killer – an old man in his early 70s. Nothing was publicized on how he was caught. They did make a statement that details in Michelle’s book was not used in catching the killer but the book has keep the public interested in the case which allowed or encouraged the task force to keep on with this case. People involved with Michelle’s research may argue otherwise but as the details about the killer begin to emerge, it’s clear that they were not the same as the profile predicted in the book.

Over a span of 12 years from 1974 to 1986, the killer had committed more than 50 rapes, at least 13 murders and over 100 burglaries. He was named the Original Night Stalker, East Area Rapist, and later was named as the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. The term is now used widely to describe this killer. His crimes were not confined in a small area but rather had run along the coast of California.

At the time of death, Michelle’s research was not completed. She wrote about dozen of cases and the evidences that they are linked, she followed the footstep of the killer, worked with local detectives to trace his path, created a website to write about the cases and her finding, even started database to search this killer through genetic database. I enjoyed reading about her thought process, her analytical skill as well as her perseverance in the research. The details on the housing designs of Rancho was excellent. But that’s really after I’m about half way through the book. The first half was rather fragmented as she was establishing the links and described the random cases.

The book certainly went into good details in describing the life in California at the time. It certainly instilled fears into reader. You’re at home but you’re not safe. I recently learned that one of the Parkland shooting survival just recently took her life. You may have survived but that kind of fear never leave. You locked all doors and windows, keep a hammer under your pillow and you stay awake and alert. “I’ll be gone in the dark” is actually the phrase he said to one of the victims.

I can’t help but feel it was such a shame that she didn’t get to see it to the end and didn’t have the time to organize the information thoroughly for publishing readiness. I wonder if she’s waiting for the killer to be caught before publishing. This really was only the 2nd true crime book I’ve read beside In True Blood so I can’t really rank how well it was among other true crimes, it was greatly received which I think was deserving for the writing which echod a personal tone and expressed great sympathy and respect to the victims. I just hope the court will uphold justice now that the killer was caught.


Photo Credit: A cup of Jo
Originally published: February 27, 2018
Awards: Goodreads Choice Awards Best Nonfiction

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