I'll Be Gone In The Dark- Spoiler Free Review

Wow. Just wow. I added this to my list because of the podcast My Favorite Murder, but I genuinely didn't know I'd be so amazed by this book. 


I have to give it to Michelle, she was a true Murderino, who dedicated so much of her time and life to hunting a monster. Reading this book allowed a peek into her mind, but also showcased just how invested she was into finding DeAngelo and putting him behind bars. "In 2014, Michelle paid the Ventura County Courthouse $1,400 for hard copies of the transcripts from the Joe Alsip preliminary hearings." Not many armchair detectives are so determined to shell out that kind of money on a possible lead. 


Michelle didn't care if she did it, but she wanted the monster responsible caught, to pay for all of the awful he'd done. And maybe her book wasn't directly responsible, but I think it definitely played a part in garnering so much interest in the case in recent years. 


"They [Cops] could tick off ninety-nine out of a hundred boxes with these kinds of arrests. That one unchecked box though. It could vex you into early death.” 


Michelle McNamara's writing was beautiful. I really loved the way she took such a terrifying topic and managed to make it sound so fascinating and grotesquely interesting. 


"Charlene Smith was just the latest unlucky stand-in for the lustful, sneering women-- mother, schoolgirl, ex-wife-- who formed a disapproving circle around the killer in his daydreams, their cacophony of disdain forcing him, always, to his knees; the act of grabbing the log was arousal alchemized to hate, a vicious punishment meted out by one judge: his corroded brain."


I also appreciated how Michelle realized she wasn't a pro. She enlisted the help of others, like the great Paul Holes. She knew when to step back. She even understood that her hunts weren't unlike that of the Golden State Killer. 


"Seeking is the lever that tips our dopamine gush. What I don't mention is the uneasy realization I've had about how much our frenetic searching mirrors the compulsive behavior-- the trampled flowerbeds, scratch marks on window screens, crank calls-- of the one we seek." 


Although I was reading this over a year after DeAngelo had already been arrested, it still managed to send chills up my spine and I'm not sure if that's due to the circumstances surrounding the crime or the writing. 


"I am both nowhere and everywhere. You may not think you have something in common with your neighbor, but you do: me. I'm the barely spotted presence, the dark-haired, blond-haired, stocky, slight, seen from the back, glimpsed in half-light thread that will continue to connect you even as you fail to look out for each other." 


I greatly appreciate Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen for finishing the book, but God, I'm so glad Michelle had already written the epilogue, because it may have been my favorite part of the book. 


"Open the door. Show us your face. 

Walk into the light."


And finally, a big huzzah for Paul Holes and the Contra Costa County for finally catching this monster and bringing him into the light. I'm sure Michelle is proud.