Sunday 19 April 2020

Michelle McNamara Leaves Behind An Incredible Legacy With I'll Be Gone In the Dark

Title: I'll Be Gone In The Dark 
Author: Michelle McNamara 
Publication Date: February 27th, 2018 

The masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer - the serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade - from the late Michelle McNamara. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark offers a unique snapshot of suburban West Coast America in the 1980s and a chilling account of the wreckage left behind by a criminal mastermind. It is also a portrait of one woman's obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth, three decades later, in spite of the personal cost. 


I’m worried that this review won’t really convey how accurately I feel about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark or do Michelle McNamara’s work justice. I write this with so much respect for what McNamara has left behind with this incredible read. She really has left us a legacy to remember her with. 

It’s McNamara’s writing style, how she sets out the content and facts and overall tone that makes I’ll Be Gone in the Dark stand out. It’s easy enough to head online and search up the details of the killer’s crimes and cases, but McNamara adds to the learning experience by also detailing her research efforts, the connections she made and how much her long-standing fascination with the Golden State Killer really affected her personal life. I loved that McNamara was so upfront and honest as she wrote this. She didn’t mind inviting myself, as a reader, into her daily life as she reflected on how she became interested in true crimes, which then extended into her obsession with discovering who the Golden State Killer is. She admits to her obsession, which makes reading through her much more relatable. It’s well known that we are find fascination in gruesome events or stories, and serial killers are something many people invest their time into reading, watching or learning about. McNamara’s writing also flows in a way that delivers the details of the cases in an immersive way. I could vividly envision what was occurring, which becomes very confronting but also made sure I was engrossed whilst reading. 

Beyond appreciating my reading experience, I think, ultimately, the reason why I hold I’ll Be Gone in the Dark in high regard is because of the feeling I had while reading a book that was completed and released posthumous. Michelle McNamara, sadly, passed away in 2016 - 2 years before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was finally published. Unfortunately, I was not aware of who she was until picking up this book and so did not have the experience of reading her articles and blog pieces when she was still alive. She didn’t get the opportunity to finish writing this novel or see her work come to fruition but the completion of it, with the help of a number of people in her life, really gave us something special. That’s how I felt, at least, throughout reading it. It was also somewhat saddening to think that what I was holding in my hand had the author’s heart and soul poured into it without her even witnessing its completion, but if anything, McNamara should be proud of what I’ll Be Gone in the Dark has become. 

It’s hard not to get lost in I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and find yourself becoming obsessed as McNamara was with the Golden State Killer. I will be honest in saying I barely knew anything about the Golden State Killer when starting this so reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was my first introduction to the killer and the murders he committed. This might have enhanced my reading experience as I cannot speak on behalf of those who are aware and know a fair deal about the killer. 

Ultimately, I want to thank Michelle for being the drive force behind I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and leaving us with something that took up a part of her life.  

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