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I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Written by: Michelle McNamara
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (742 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be an HBO Documentary Series

Introduction by Gillian Flynn

Afterword by Patton Oswalt 

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer - the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade - from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. 

"You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark."

For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated 10 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. 

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of 18 and 30, Caucasian, and athletic - capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim - he favored suburban couples - he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening. 

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. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by Michelle's husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle's lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic - and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Tell Me Productions (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What the critics say

"Narrator Gabra Zackman delivers this terrifying account... Her calm, objective voice makes the minute details of GSK's 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders in California chilling.... McNamara's research makes for intriguing listening, thanks to Zackman's restrained, intelligent presentation of the grim details." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunningly Written and Incredibly Illuminating

I have read many, many true crime books over the past decade and this is probably one of the best. The pros is beautiful and it is not to detail heavy— there are enough memoir type instances that make it easy to fully comprehend the enormity of the EARONS/GSK case and the all encompassing search Michelle McNamara undertook.
I have recommended this book to everyone I know— true crime fans and fiction lovers alike.
I just hope that wherever she is now, Michelle knows he has finally been brought into the light.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Blown away

Phenomenal book - gripping and incredibly written with passion, skill, and dedication, and only enhanced by an incredible performance by the reader. I had trouble putting it down, and only did so because I wanted it to last. Wil be listing to this one over and over.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Equally talks about the killer and the author

Excellent. A lot of chapters start with Editor's Notes explaining it was pieced together from the authors notes before she died. Then switches to third person near the end. It's a great read/listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Riveting

An absolutely riveting and fascinating story! The single minded pursuit of the facts and the connection of details in such a large case is incredible! I could not stop listening!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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amazing!!!!

One of the most spellbinding investigations I've ever heard. Almost cried when first person switched to third after Michelle's death. so happy they've caught him now. she would be so proud and pleased

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Audible sucks! book is great!

I bought this book on audible.ca. It’s phenomenal- I’m not a true crime fan. The story is beautifully written. Haunting. It should come with a PDF which seems impossible to get on Canadian audible.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Confusing as an audiobook

I think this would have been better to read in book form and not as an audiobook. It was hard to follow.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A story that pulls you in and doesn't let go

Absolutely loved this book - it goes into such great detail on this terrifying time in Sacramento and weaves it together into a story that keeps your attention. I would highly recommend it, thanks #Audible1 for being a great source of entertainment!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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True Crime enthusiasts - get it here.

"I'll be gone in the dark" - eerie words spoken by the killer and a great lead into the search for the mysterious character. I have been into True Crime since my university days and materials like these I think have saved me a few times when walking home solo or on an occasional evening, I'm home alone. Narrated steady and sometimes in a whisper, you feel like you're privy to the most private of investigations and were a fly on the wall during the attacks. I enjoy how your periodically reminded that this book was put together from amateur sleuth's notes and articles to ground you but you cannot help but get caught up in the train of theories and ideas. I listened to the majority while doing errands and it had me looking over my shoulder, just in case. #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gripping, chilling true crime

In the year that Joseph James DeAngelo has finally been identified as the Golden State Killer, this important true crime book is well worth your time. It's devastatingly sad that McNamara didn't survive to see the GSK apprehended: her passion, dedication, and sense of urgency shine through this book. I highly recommend it.

Gabra Zackman does a fantastic job with narration - I wasn't sure how true crime would lend itself to this format, but this title has certainly convinced me that it can be done very well. Just make sure to download the bonus PDF from your library to make the most of its included timeline and maps - the dates are a little harder to keep up with if you can't flick back and forth as easily as in a book.

#Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lindsay
  • 2018-04-06

Too special to not try

Where does I'll Be Gone in the Dark rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

"I'll be gone in the Dark" definitely ranks highly among all the audiobooks I've listened to, but it is one of the best true crime books I've read.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The most interesting piece to me was learning about DNA testing and how much the process has changed since these crimes occurred.

Any additional comments?

I purchased this book after listening to an interview with Patton Oswalt talking about getting this book published after Michelle MacNamara died. While I enjoy true crime, this book was also special because of the lives Michelle touched and devotion to her project. Great true crime read, but oh so frustrating because there is no end yet.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Trixie Runnin'
  • 2018-03-04

Wonderful Listen to Scare Yourself in the Dark

Loved it! It was like listening to a police documentary with a soap opera story in the undertones. It is definitely a "foreground" book--I made the mistake of trying to do some work and cooking while listening... wound up with a pot of burnt noodles, a flashing cursor burnt into my retinas and three chapters in need of a complete rewind!
This is definitely a "coffee and cold rainy window" type listen.

160 of 171 people found this review helpful

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  • Alette
  • 2018-03-27

loved it!

I really enjoyed this audiobook! the narrator is amazing, and the story itself is very interesting. it’s written in a clever way that gives you the facts, but in a way you’ll remember them and actually enjoy hearing about them, rather than lists of things for you to remember

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat - Audible
  • 2018-03-02

A haunting masterpiece

As a fan of the true crime genre and Michelle's fantastic blog, I was so excited for this book -- and devastated to learn of Michelle's sudden death in 2016, when she was still writing it. As Gillian Flynn notes in the forward, a lot of us grapple with our fascination with true crime, and one way to approach it is by seeking justice, truth and compassion rather than voyeurism, misinformation and shallow answers. Michelle was always a crusader of the highest order, and her obsessive sleuthing and thoughtful reckoning of her own motivations (“We, who hunt him, suffer from the same affliction. He peered through windows. I tap ‘return.’ ”) shine through here with fierce humanity. If you don't about the Golden State Killer, also known as EAR/ONS, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" will pull you into the story of the faceless monster behind one of America's most notorious and horrific unsolved cases, but it is Michelle's voice that stays with you in the end. This book is a rare gem of dogged research and masterful writing that elevates it to the top tier of true crime. A special benefit of the audio version is hearing Gillian Flynn’s forward and Patton Oswalt’s moving afterword in their own voices. (It is also thanks to Oswalt, researcher Paul Haynes, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen that the book was completed.) I hope its legacy leads to what Michelle wanted most of all: an answer, and justice for the victims.

201 of 224 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 2018-03-04

A story that leaves a scream stuck in your throat.

Gripping, chilling and absolutely engrossing, Michelle McNamara’s obsession to find the killer is a triumph. I couldn’t stop listening and finished this in a day. McNamara keeps you thinking, guessing and piecing together clues as well as interweaving her own life story into this finely shaped puzzle that will set your mind on fire. Thank you Patton Oswalt for completing this to perfection and amazing narration by Gabra Zackman.

60 of 67 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenna
  • 2018-03-14

If only...

If only Michelle had lived to see this book published. If only she had known how successful this book would go on to be. It’s beautifully written and beautifully researched. She gives details and makes her journey personal to the reader. She kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, but with every word I read my heart broke, not just for the victims and their families, but because Michelle had no idea the impact this book would have.

83 of 94 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa Gregory
  • 2018-03-14

I Wanted to Love This Book

Knowing the back story on this book, I really wanted to love it. I knew that the author had died suddenly, that the book was unfinished, but that the author's husband and associates wanted her work published. What she wrote is beautiful. The problem is, I thought this book was closer to publication than it was. Throughout, in chapters written by Michelle, there are editor notes about information that she had not included, some where her opinion had changed. Then there are whole chapters gleaned from a magazine article she had written or things that she excluded from the magazine article. The one chapter I did like was where she met an investigator and they toured one of the areas. This chapter was just the transcribed dialogue between them in the car which she had taped.

Michelle's chief investigator wrote the last chapter and told about all the information she had recently acquired that she was sifting through. He tried to wrap it up, but couldn't. I wondered why they bothered to put this book together and publish it. I understand that all who loved her wanted her words out there. But then I thought perhaps the real purpose was to get the word out and solve the case. That would be Michelle's true legacy.

Final thought: this book made me yearn for what it could have been had Michelle been the one to finish it.

64 of 78 people found this review helpful

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  • e.salmeron
  • 2018-03-04

Masterpiece

Michelle McNamara has incited a flame that will lead to the finding of the Earon, of that much I am sure. Magnificently written, and emotionally gripping.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Erin M. Bleier
  • 2018-03-02

Amazing. Riveting. Masterpiece.

What I said before. No one else could have written this book, and only those who loved her could have finished it with the reverence Michelle and her journey deserved.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan Yore
  • 2018-03-04

PERFECT

Michelle's unexpected death was heartbreaking on so many levels, including that her work was unfinished. the way this book was put together honors her memory and gives us hope that the GTK will be caught.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • VR
  • 2019-06-07

Fantastic audiobook

Fantastic research work wrapped up in a captivating narrative. Michelle McNamara's life work. 5 stars.