Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

For a decade in California, from 1976 to 1986, an unknown serial rapist terrorized more than fifty people. Initially, his victims were women. Later, his crimes would include couples. Eventually, sexual assault escalated to murder.

Dubbed the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker (EAR/ONS), the predator somehow managed to evade police, despite dozens of investigations spanning numerous jurisdictions. His elusive nature, combined with the senseless acts of violence that he committed against so many, prompted true crime writer and journalist Michelle McNamara to study the case years later.

The search for the EAR/ONS—whom McNamara named the Golden State Killer—consumed McNamara, who spent countless hours researching possible suspects, theories, and clues. She connected with the case on a visceral level. Fascinated with true crime since she was a teenager, when a neighborhood girl was murdered by an unknown assailant, McNamara dedicated much of her life to researching cold cases. She documented her work on her website, True Crime Diary.

Sadly, McNamara passed away while in the process of writing this book, which was later completed by her co-researchers as well as her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt. To this day, the Golden State Killer has never been captured.

It feels terribly wrong that McNamara didn’t get the chance to complete the work that she was so dedicated to—finally seeing the Golden State Killer brought to justice. But her work lives on, and the compassion she felt for the many victims is a worthy legacy indeed.

Update: On April 25, 2018, police announced the arrest of a suspect in this decades-long cold case.

Search the VBPL catalog for I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. For similar true crime books, try Mind Hunter by John E. Douglas and I Will Find You by Detective Lt. Joe Kenda.

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