I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer


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One elusive fiend, one determined journalist. This is the story of the Golden State Killer’s atrocities, how he was finally found out, and the woman who’s lifelong goal of catching him came to fruition.




Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR Paste Seattle Times Entertainment Weekly | Esquire Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel Philadelphia Inquirer Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle 

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | Anthony Award Winner | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062319791
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 20,521
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michelle McNamara (1970–2016) was the author of the website True Crime Diary. She earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota, and had sold television pilots to ABC and Fox and a screenplay to Paramount. She also worked as a consultant for Dateline NBC. She lived in Los Angeles and is survived by her husband, Patton Oswalt, and their daughter, Alice.

Table of Contents

Time Line Map ix

Cast of Characters xi

Introduction Gillian Flynn xiii

Prologue 1

Part 1

Irvine, 1981 9

Dana Point, 1980 21

Hollywood, 2009 27

Oak Park 31

Sacramento, 1976-1977 51

Visalia 85

Orange County, 1996 99

Irvine, 1986 107

Ventura, 1980 117

Goleta, 1979 123

Goleta, 1981 129

Orange County, 2000 147

Contra Costa, 1997 155

Part 2

Sacramento, 2012 169

East Sacramento, 2012 177

The Cuff-Links Coda 187

Los Angeles, 2012 191

Contra Costa, 2013 197

Concord 197

San Ramon 209

Danville 218

Walnut Creek 234

Davis 241

Fred Ray 255

The One 261

Los Angeles, 2014 273

Sacramento, 2014 277

Sacramento, 1978 281

Part 3 By Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen 283

Afterword Patton Oswalt 317

Epilogue: Letter to an Old Man 323

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