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I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

Dear Diary,
Imagine being so obsessed with something that it consumes you.

Perhaps this is why I find the show 'The Curse of Oak Island' so compelling, not for the thrill of the treasure hunt they've embarked on, but because it was an endeavor Rick Lagina dreamed of taking on since childhood.

It's why I purchased Michelle McNamara's book, I'll Be Gone In The Dark, published following her untimely death, and restocked since Amazon sold out following its release.


The book chronicles her exhaustive search into who she dubbed the Golden State Killer, whose rampage through California included fifty violent sexual assaults and at least 10 grisly, gruesome murders that left a generation cowering in fear.

He was a boogeyman, emerging from the darkness to carry out his horrific crimes.

And then one day, inexplicably, he stopped.

No one knows who he was, where he was or why he did this. And it was this mystery that motivated a graduate of the University of Minnesota to investigate the case herself.

She started a blog, True Crime Diary, which became quite popular among circles of armchair detectives and so trusted by the actual investigators that Dateline enlisted her assistance for interviews. She wrote, and researched, and interviewed, and chased leads that turned into frustrating dead ends, and she would sob in defeat only to somehow find a renewed strength to keep going. She began to organize her tireless efforts into a book; a book that she could unfortunately never see finished, yet triumphs thanks to her husband and closest associates. She died tragically in her sleep as she neared its end. That chapter was printed as it was with the Editor's Note that she had passed.

This book read like both a memoir and a case summary. I learned quickly that it was unwise to read at night yet continued to do so anyway, often times reading well into the morning hours. I found myself relating to her on so many avenues of her life - her Minnesota ties, her passion for chasing stories, journalism, her blog, writing as her family slept, and finally, her obsession with the process of how law enforcement traps monsters.

This book went above and beyond the narratives of the profiler who helped catch the Unabomber. Where he was cocky, she was confident. She was empathetic when he was selfish. And she connected to her audience to share her obsession in such a way that I couldn't help but simultaneously weep and cheer for her.

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

We live in a world filled with monsters, but also a world filled with helpers. Look for the helpers, even in the darkest of moments. They're there. And I hope from where Michelle is, she'll soon be able to hear the echo of a jail cell door clicking shut behind the man she calls the Golden State Killer.

Read the book. Just not in the dark.

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