I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

by Michelle McNamara

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 14/03/2018

RRP  $29.99 $24.18

With introduction by Gillian Flynn, a compelling true crime account of the Golden State Killer the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised 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 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.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim - he favoured 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 recognise 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 her 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.

Praise for this book:

'I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it’s a brilliant genre-buster. It’s propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing. What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.' Stephen King

'This is a one sit-down read. That’s how riveting it is. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the chilling account of an obsessive search for a monster and along the way we are as equally transfixed by the searcher as we are the monster. Very few writers have the skill to bring a decades-old cold case to life; in these pages, Michelle McNamara has not only successfully resuscitated the fascinating case of the Golden State Killer, but done so with humanity, insight, and grace. This is true crime reporting at its best.' Michael Connelly

'I tore through I’ll Be Gone in the Dark in two days. It was so deeply rewarding beyond any ‘solution’ because it's ultimately not just about the Golden State Killer case - it's a portrait of a woman's rich and complicated mind and her immense heart. And it goes a long way to exploring what's too often underexplored: the real connection so many of us - especially women - have with these crimes. This book just knocked me over.' Megan Abbott

True Stories for Him
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Faber & Faber, Limited
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):

‘McNamara has a novelist’s eye for what emerges as her true theme: the illusion of the Californian dream … A brilliant, shattering work of art. Independent

‘McNamara died suddenly in the process of writing this game-changing investigation of the Golden State Killer. That the book feels triumphant even after tragedy upon tragedy is a testament to McNamara’s skill as a reporter.’ Esquire

‘McNamara was a gifted US journalist who died before she would finish this classy and gripping true crime thriller … McNamara was determined to unmask this violent psychopath and her book… may yet help to do just that.’ Bookseller, editor’s pick

‘Both a vivid and meticulous investigation of a twisted predator and a wrenching personal account from a writer who became consumed by her subject.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘A chilling account … It is as much a photo-fit of a period and a violent and clever criminal mind as it is one person’s personal odyssey and obsession to unmask evil.’ RTE Guide

‘A brilliant genre buster … I loved this book.’ Stephen King

‘This is a one sit-down read … Michelle McNamara has not only successfully resuscitated the fascinating case of the Golden State Killer, but done so with humanity, insight, and grace.’ Michael Connelly

‘A singular, fascinating read. It’s lifelike in its incompletion... a posthumous treasure that feels thrillingly alive.Entertainment Weekly

‘This book just knocked me over.’ Megan Abbott ‘An intimate, thrilling account.’ Yahoo

‘A haunting look at a long-unsolved string of rapes and murders…. This is not a love song to horror. This is the dirge of a monster.’ Bleeding Cool

‘If and when this case is finally solved, it will be in no small part because of McNamara… Her voice in these pages [is] immortally suspended but so very much alive.’ Kera Bolonik, Vulture

‘A penetrating and elegiac voice… I’ll Be Gone in the Dark provides an unusual freeze-frame look at one writer on the verge of dispelling her lifelong nightmare.’ Seattle Times

‘A portrait of a particular criminal and a particular time... [McNamara] is gone. Her book lives.New York Daily News

‘Masterful… Narrative true crime journalism at its very finest, a complex, multilayered, chilling portrait of a faceless monster, and a remarkable tribute to the woman who, up until her last day, believed she would one day have him in her crosshairs.’ Village Voice

‘Both a vivid and meticulous investigation of a twisted predator who terrorized quiet, upper middle-class communities in California for nearly a decade, and a wrenching personal account from a writer who became consumed by her subject. New York Times

‘Utterly gripping.’ People

‘Breathtaking, ambitious, and exquisitely written.’ New York

‘Michelle McNamara was an obsessive. She was also a damn good writer. That combustive mix has produced I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a dark page-turner.... Scintillating.USA Today

‘Impressive.’ Booklist, starred review

‘Remarkable ... A modern true crime classic.’ Publishers Weekly, starred review

Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara (1970–2016) was the author of the website Truecrimediary.com.

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.

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