Cover image for I'll be gone in the dark : one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State Killer
Title:
I'll be gone in the dark : one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State Killer
Edition:
First Harper Perennial edition
Publication Information:
New York: Harper Perennial, 2019

©2019
ISBN:
9780062319791
Physical Description:
xvi, 344 pages, [16] unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 21 cm
Language:
English
General Note:
"Features new material on the Golden State Killer's arrest." -- back cover

"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 [Paul Haynes]."--Amazon.com
Contents:
Introduction / Irvine, 1981 ; Dana Point, 1980 ; Hollywood, 2009 ; Oak Park ; Sacramento, 1976-1977 ; Visalia ; Orange County, 1996 ; Irvine, 1986 ; Ventura, 1980 ; Goleta, 1979 ; Goleta, 1981 ; Orange County, 2000 ; Contra Costa, 1997 -- Sacramento, 2012 ; East Sacramento, 2012 ; The Cuff-links coda ; Los Angeles, 2012 ; Contra Costa, 2013 ; Fred Ray ; The one ; Los Angeles, 2014 ; Sacramento, 2014 ; TSacramento, 1978 -- Afterword / Epilogue : Letter to an old man -- The book that helped unmask the killer : the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo
Abstract:
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 in 1986 he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, true crime journalist Michelle McNamara 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 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. This book--that 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
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Summary

Summary

Features new material on the Golden State Killer's case and an updated afterword by Patton Oswalt.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:

Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR | Paste | Seattle Times | Entertainment Weekly | Esquire | Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel | Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle | Mother Jones | Real Simple | Crime Reads | Book Riot | Bookish | Amazon | Barnes and Noble |Hudson Booksellers New York Public Library | Chicago Public Library

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case--which was solved in April 2018.

Introduction by Gillian Flynn * Afterword by Patton Oswalt

"A brilliant genre-buster.... Propulsive, can't-stop-now reading." --Stephen King

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.

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. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic--one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

This posthumous debut recounts the chilling crimes of a serial murderer in California in the 1970s and '80s, alongside the indefatigable investigation of crime writer McNamara to uncover the identity of the killer decades later. When McNamara first started writing about the case on her website TrueCrimeDiary in 2011, DNA testing had already linked 10 murders and 50 sexual assaults to one unknown man. The culprit, whom McNamara later gave the moniker "The Golden State Killer," was a serial rapist in San Francisco's East Bay in the mid-1970s, attacking women and girls in their homes. But in 1979, a close encounter with law enforcement led to a change in his M.O., and from that point on no one survived his attacks. McNamara fills in each crime with haunting details ("The suspect began clicking scissors next to blindfolded victims' ears") and tells the story of her own investigation, going as far as to track down and purchase from a vintage store a pair of cuff links that she believed the Golden State Killer stole from a victim. By the time of her sudden death in 2016, McNamara had inspired an online community of sleuths who continue to research the crimes. With its exemplary mix of memoir and reportage, this remarkable book is a modern true crime classic. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Guardian Review

A fanatical quest to identify California’s 1970s Golden State Killer is told in gripping, grisly detail For at least a decade between 1976 and 1986, a psychopath stalked California. He targeted bungalows in middle-class neighbourhoods stretching from Sacramento in the north to Dana Point, nearly 450 miles to the south. He wore a mask. He was white, probably in his late teens or 20s, wore size nine shoes and had type A blood. He sometimes stuttered, and sometimes cried after attacking his victims. He had a small penis. This is almost all that is known about the prolific rapist and murderer who has been variously dubbed the Original Night Stalker, the East Area Rapist and, perhaps most evocatively, the Golden State Killer. This last epithet was coined by the late Michelle McNamara, whose posthumous book chronicles her decade-long quest to identify this mysterious bogeyman. Like the Zodiac Killer, who terrorised California in the late 60s, the Golden State Killer was never apprehended, and his case continues to intrigue amateur sleuths. A lifelong devotee of true crime, McNamara blogged about her DIY cold-case investigations on the website truecrimediary.com. In 2007, she learned of the East Area Rapist, and her life seems to have changed. “There’s a scream lodged permanently in my throat now,” she writes in her New York Times bestselling, unforgettable I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. When she died at the age of 46 in 2016, leaving the book unfinished, she had amassed 3,500 files related to the case, plus dozens of notebooks, legal pads, digitised police reports and 37 boxes from an Orange County prosecutor (the book was finished by her lead researcher and a colleague). Some of this material went into the blockbuster story she wrote about the case for Los Angeles magazine in 2013, but this book is the real testament to how all-consuming and dogged McNamara’s search was. Like other recent true-crime books – Claudia Rowe’s The Spider and the Fly, Carolyn Murnick’s The Hot One – McNamara’s is as much a memoir as it is a procedural. Early chapters describe the unsolved murder of 24-year-old Kathleen Lombardo in 1984, which occurred just steps from McNamara’s childhood home in Oak Park, Illinois. The case fascinated the teenage McNamara and whetted her appetite for the dark side. “I was a hoarder of ominous and puzzling details,” she writes. “I developed a Pavlovian response to the word ‘mystery’. My library record was a bibliography of the macabre and true. When I meet people and hear where they’re from I orient them in my mind by the nearest unsolved crime.” As a record of obsession, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark delivers a nearly fluorescent portrait of the fanatic’s life: the sleepless nights and shut-in days, the rabbit holes of online message boards, the underground economies of samizdat information. In one vivid passage, McNamara recounts holing up in a Sacramento hotel room to review 4,000 pages of police reports on a flash drive she’d just acquired. A raucous wedding reception was being held 10 floors below. “I was jittery from sugar, hunger, and spending too much time alone in the dark absorbing a 50-chapter horror story narrated in the kind of dead voice used by desk clerks at the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles],” McNamara writes. “My eyes were stripped by computer glare and as devoid of moisture as if they’d been vacuumed clean by an airplane toilet. Kool & the Gang’s ‘Celebration’ wasn’t the soundtrack for my frame of mind.” Some victims described how he cried after attacking them; one said he ate crackers in the kitchen during the assault This excerpt indicates what’s so unique and convivial about the book: no matter how grisly things get – and there’s no shortage of horror with more than 50 sexual assaults, at least 10 murders, and tableaux of psychological torture – McNamara retains a sense of humour. But it’s a humour tempered by moral exigency. To identify a killer is to take away his power and render him banal, McNamara argues. In one of the book’s many sharp insights, she likens herself and all amateur detectives to the killers they seek. Both perpetrator and sleuth share an uncommon and singular compulsion. One seeks to destroy, while the other seeks to create, however haphazardly, some kind of explanation. Explanations are hard to come by in the case of the Golden State Killer. His first crime was probably a rape in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of Sacramento, in June 1976. His first murder occurred two years later. All the evidence and eyewitness accounts add up to a mere fragment, a faceless cipher who taunted the police and his victims with crank phone calls, kept houses under surveillance before his attacks and seemed to relish playing mind games. He bound some of his female victims, raped them, and then went silent. Just when they believed the terror was over, he’d whisper in their ears or scrape a knife along their backs. He told one victim that he’d been in the army; others described how he cried or hyperventilated after attacking them. According to one, he took a break from his assault to eat crackers in the kitchen. One couple told detectives he “seemed like someone straining to appear tough”. Whatever the extent of his instability, his crimes were real, and they spread panic in California. By 1977, he averaged two rapes a month. McNamara describes how entire towns in northern California were transformed into de facto garrisons patrolled by vigilante squads. “In one house, tambourines were tied to every door and window,” she writes. “Hammers went under pillows. Nearly 3,000 guns were sold in Sacramento County between January and May. Many people refused to sleep between 1 and 4am. Some couples slept in shifts, one of them always stationed on the living room couch, a rifle pointed at the window.” The killer was never caught or even identified. Decades after retirement, some detectives are unable to shake the case McNamara resurrects two Californian offenders from the 1970s who have largely faded into obscurity – the Early Bird Rapist and the Ransacker. Nothing connects these men. As McNamara points out, crime rates were high all across the country in the 70s. It was a decade adrift from violence and the nihilism of seeing the counterculture erode into drugs, anomie and post-Vietnam malaise. California metabolised 60s idealism and 70s cynicism into a kind of toxic slag. Some of McNamara’s most arresting passages detail the copycat strip malls and subdivisions that replaced orange groves and lush farmland. This hangover feeling is part of the larger tragedy that the book documents. More than 8,000 suspects were investigated as part of the Golden State Killer case. Detectives crisscrossed the country to retrieve DNA samples and follow leads. Yet the killer was never caught or even identified. Even decades after retirement, some detectives are unable to shake the case. “The Golden State Killer haunts their dreams,” McNamara writes. “He’s ruined their marriages. He’s burrowed so deeply inside their heads that they want to, or have to, believe that if they locked eyes with him, they’d know.” You come away from I’ll Be Gone in the Dark suspecting much the same of McNamara. In the book’s lyrical epilogue, she addresses the killer, who she imagines is now an old man somewhere in the dregs of America. (She may be right. In 2001, a man presumed to be him called a woman he’d assaulted 24 years earlier: “Remember when we played?” he whispered.) McNamara sketches a hypothetical but hopeful scene in which a car pulls up to the kerb and detectives emerge to finally arrest the monster who has eluded them for more than 40 years. You can’t help but believe that had McNamara lived, that outcome might have been a little more likely. - Jeremy Lybarger.


Kirkus Review

The Golden State Killer is once again in the headlines after finally being caught. This book about the search for him is sure to catchand keepreaders' attention.McNamara, a TV screenwriter and true-crime blog and magazine writer, was particularly captivated by the man she dubbed the Golden State Killer. A prolific criminal who left dozens of cold cases (including at least 12 murders and 50 rapes) in his wake, the GSK had been glimpsed but never seen, and the author was sure he would be caught despite evading police for over 30 years. She hunted him mostly through online research, and she became friends with other cold-case enthusiasts, detectives, and others who still pursued justice, giving her unparalleled access to information about the GSK and his crimes. In this explosive book, McNamara combines her prodigious research with her impressive storytelling skills and ability to seamlessly weave the narratives of all those lives into one terrifying story. Sadly, the author died in 2016 before finishing the book (her husband, Patton Oswalt, provides the afterword), and the manuscript was completed by investigative journalist Billy Jensen and her lead researcher, Paul Haynes. The last section of the book is written in exactly the style one would expect from an investigative journalist: no nonsense and loaded with facts and relevant observations. For armchair true-crime enthusiasts, this cold case, packed with countless cases and near misses, would have been captivating based on nothing but the dry facts. However, in McNamara's skilled hands, this enthralling book becomes so much more: a detective story with an unlikely narrator, a study in changing forensic techniques, a multidecade saga that never loses urgency, and a potent analysis of human behavior in victims, witnesses, investigators, and onlookers.An exemplary true-crime book, and with an HBO adaptation in the works, this book will be enjoyed by any reader with an interest in human nature, crime, puzzles, and investigative dramas. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* McNamara's posthumously published book tells both the nightmarish story of the Golden State Killer (GSK) and the neighborhoods he terrorized and her own story of true-crime addiction. Growing up in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, McNamara became obsessed with unsolved murders after a young woman was murdered in an alley blocks away from her home, and the killer was never found. McNamara's holy grail of killer obsessions came in the form of a serial rapist and murderer responsible for more than 50 sexual assaults and at least 10 murders in California during the 1970s and 1980s. She obtained hundreds of pages of official documents, interviewed those who worked the GSK case then and those who still work it now, and formed her own theories. After she died suddenly in 2016, the book was finished by piecing together her articles, notes, and taped interviews. Though this makes for occasionally disjointed reading, it's a small distraction from McNamara's impressive gifts for language and storytelling. Her work paints a picture of not just a killer but of the towns and lives, including hers, that were irrevocably altered by the horror he inflicted. Gillian Flynn and the author's widower, Patton Oswalt, contribute an introduction and afterword, respectively.--Sexton, Kathy Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

HAVE YOU HEARD? They may finally have caught the Golden State Killer, who managed to commit more than 50 rapes and 12 murders between 1976 and 1986, until he just ... stopped. (An ingenious application of forensic science brought him down, but that's another story.) If there's any justice left in the world, that law-enforcement coup should fire up interest in I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (Harper/HarperCollins, $27.99), the definitive crime study of one of the most elusive offenders to come out of California - or anywhere, really. Sadly, the good news can't reach the author, Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016, leaving an investigative journalist and a researcher to finish this comprehensive and important study of how a killer can elude detection for almost 40 years. The killing didn't start right away. In the beginning, this night stalker restricted himself to raping single women in their bedrooms and limited his activities to the Sacramento area of Northern California. Back then, he wore a homemade mask and was known as the East Area Rapist. After committing as many as 50 sexual assaults, he worked his way down to Santa Barbara and attacked couples. That's when he escalated to murder. Because sections of McNamara's manuscript were pieced together from her notes, there's a disjointed quality to some of the chapters. But the facts remain the facts. In December 1979, the serial rapist transitioned into a killer when he shot Robert Offerman, an osteopathic surgeon, and his girlfriend, Debra Alexandria Manning. How cold could this guy be? After committing the murders, he went into the kitchen and ate their Christmas dinner. Historical murderers lack that modern-day sense of humor. They kill. They bury the bodies. They keep their mouths shut. Take the antiheroine of hells princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men (Little A, $24.95), Harold Schechter's deeply researched and morbidly fascinating chronicle of one of America's most notorious female killers. Standing six feet tall and weighing 280 pounds, Gunness was described by Harper's Weekly as a "fat, heavy-featured woman... with a big head covered with a mop of mud-colored hair, small eyes, huge hands and arms, and a gross body with difficulty supported by feet grotesquely small." Evidently no beauty, this strapping Norwegian immigrant became matrimonially desirable in 1901, when she bought a 48-acre farm outside La Porte, Ind., with insurance money from the suspicious but unchallenged death of her first husband. Questions were raised, then dismissed, when she buried the handsome boarder (a "fine-looking blond Viking of a man") who became her second husband, a relationship that lasted until a heavy metal sausage grinder happened to fall on his head. The list goes on, of hopeful farmhands and would-be suitors who were never seen again after responding to the come-hither ads Gunness ran in Norwegian-language newspapers. You have to say one thing for Gunness - she wrote catchy ad copy: "WANTED: A woman who owns a beautifully located and valuable farm in first-class condition wants a good and reliable man as partner in same." Were it not for the ad's last line - "Some little cash is required" - that siren song would turn any man's head. You'd think that Gunness's lamblike victims, some 20 it was believed, might have been leery of her bluntness. ("Take all your money out of the bank," she directed her swains, "and come as soon as possible.") But as Schechter suggests, America at the turn of the 20th century was a vast unknown land, intimidating to friendless immigrants eager to hear a welcoming voice in their own language. His intention, he tells us, was to focus on Gunness and the atrocious nature of "the butchery she performed on her victims, the desecration of their corpses, hacked to pieces and dumped in the muck of her hog lot." But his greater achievement is to humanize these lonely men - Henry Gurholt, Olaf Lindboe, Christian Hilkven and the rest - excavating their bones from the foul burial pits on Gunness's "murder farm," the last, sad stop on their adventures in a brave new world. Ah, women. What would homicide cases be without the ladies? If they aren't personally committing a murder, like Gunness, they're instigating one. There always seems to be some lovesick chump around to do the actual deed while they're innocently filing their nails. Or, in the case of that little minx Evelyn Nesbit, kicking up her heels on a velvet swing. Reams of print have been lavished on this 16-year-old femme fatale, a chorus girl who figured in a salacious scandal that began in 1901 with an innocent romp in a rich man's playroom (see: Swing, velvet) and ended in a murder trial that transfixed New York society. In the girl on THE VELVET SWING: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (Mulholland, $29), the historian Simon Baatz takes a surprisingly credulous view of Nesbit's role in the murder of her lover, Stanford White, the brilliant New York architect, who nearly went bankrupt designing the original Madison Square Garden. Calling her "naive and impressionable," Baatz absolves Nesbit, by virtue of "her inexperience and her youth," of any complicity in White's death at the hand of her husband, the profligate playboy Harry Thaw. Recreating an imagined conversation between the pair, he notes that "tears welled in her eyes," forcing her to turn away "to wipe away a tear that threatened to roll down her cheek." Poor baby. Unlike those biographers who jump off the gravy train when it runs out of steam, Baatz follows both Nesbit and Thaw past the end of the line, when the scandal of their lives was well behind them. He's sympathetic to Nesbit during her years of drug addiction, and is on her side when Thaw, a millionaire when he died, leaves her no more than a pittance in his will. But by then the thrill is gone, and Baatz's narrative never again rises to the drama of that night in 1906 when, during a performance of a musical turkey called "Mamzelle Champagne," Thaw crept out of his seat at the theater, raised a pistol and fired three shots at Stanford White, killing him on the spot. "Sing, girls, sing!" the panicked stage manager implored the chorus. "For God's sake, sing!" And they did. Does everyone have a murder in the family skeleton closet? Pamela Everett never knew she did, until the night her father broke down in tears and told her a secret about the two sisters he "lost." That horrific tale inspired little SHOES: The Sensational Depression-Era Murders That Became My Family's Secret (Skyhorse, $23.99), about the 1937 rape and murder of 7-year-old Madeline and 9-year-old Melba Marie Everett. "They found their pairs of little shoes lined up in a row," Pamela's father told his daughter, who got the impression that "someone had taken greater care with the shoes than with the bodies." That's the kind of image that sears into your brain (and makes an eye-catching book cover). But despite the cover art and lurid subtitle, Everett doesn't turn a tragedy into a cheap melodrama. The facts of the story are plain and simple and sad. The two young sisters and a little friend were playing in a pretty park across the street from their home in a "lovely" California neighborhood when they were lured away by a man who called himself Eddie the Sailor and promised to take them rabbit hunting. (Each child could have her very own bunny, they were told.) Two days later, a troop of Boy Scouts found their broken bodies at the bottom of a gully. On occasion, Everett lets her imagination run away with her narrative. ("My grandmother is covering her entire face with both hands. I can hear her sobbing. I can see her shoulders heaving. I can hear her muffled cries.... No, no, no. Please God no.") At other times, she's shockingly blunt, reflecting on what jurors assigned to the murder trial had to keep in mind: "nooses pulled tight, bloody clothing, violent sexual attacks, mutilated bodies, the little shoes in a row." For the most part, though, she covers the facts in a sober manner, while looking over her shoulder at "a seemingly simpler and safer time" when people trusted their children to entertain themselves, look after the younger kids, and come home in time to wash faces and hands for supper. In telling this piece of family history, Everett is not simply walking us through social changes since 1937. (But on this subject, when, exactly, did children lose the freedom to play outside without grown-ups watching?) As a professor of criminal justice, she's also keeping track of the technical advances made during the criminal investigation of this case, including one of the first forensic profiles of a sex offender ("Look for one man, probably in his 20 s, a pedophile..."). And as a lawyer for the California Innocence Project, she eventually raises the appalling possibility that the man who was hanged for the murders might have been innocent - a plot twist that in a fictional account might seem histrionic. True-crime authors sure do like to insinuate themselves into their stories, even when the connection is entirely peripheral. Cutter Wood once stayed at a motel that later figured in a 2008 murder case, a slim coincidence that nonetheless led to his thoughtful account of that business. LOVE AND DEATH IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: The Story of a Crime (Algonquin, $26.95) opens with a vivid description not of some criminal atrocity but of a picturesque island in Greater Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Drawn to the island, Anna Maria, for a family affair, Wood puts up at a motel owned by Sabine Musil-Buehler, who goes missing some months later, when her motel burns down. "I had the sudden sense, almost like a shock of static electricity, that I needed to know more," he tells us of his impulsive decision to return to Anna Maria to look into this mystery. As seems to be the fashion nowadays, Wood entwines the specifics of the case - including his investigation of the various suspects, among them Sabine's boyfriend, Bill - with episodes in his own life that might not be particularly meaningful for readers. ("She cooked the eggs while I got the toaster off the high shelf," he recalls of those heady early days in a new relationship.) Perhaps that heightened sense of identification is what it takes to interest a writer in the personal history of a stranger. "Ithas notgone unrealized by me," Wood admits, "that as I fumbled so earnestly with the story of Bill and Sabine, I was also undertaking a not unrelated investigation into my own life." Mercifully, whenever he focuses on some aspect of the case that excites him, he drops that affectation and attends to his writing. Here, his fixation is fire. "I absorbed myself in a near-fanatical research into fire," he tells us. During hours spent at the library, he accumulated accounts of "all the best fires," from the Great Fire of London and earlier conflagrations in Rome and Alexandria to the solitary funeral pyre of Jan Hus. The modest fire at Sabine's motel hardly ranks among those epic blazes that moved the author to eloquence. But it does present a focal point for what is, after all, just a sordid little murder in a sad part of town. Blood, guts, body parts, leftover food - who's going to clean up this mess, anyway? Time to call in the pros. That would be Sandra Pankhurst, the subject of Sarah Krasnostein's one-of-akind biography, the trauma CLEANER: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster (St. Martin's, $26.99). Pankhurst, the founder of Specialized Trauma Cleaning Services Pty. Ltd. ("We specialize in the unpleasant tasks that you need to have taken care of"), promises to rid your home of everything from bedbugs to fresh human corpses. "People do not understand about body fluids," Pankhurst notes in the brochure that lists her many mop-up services, including, as she puts it on her business card, "Homicide, Suicide and Death Scenes." But she neglects to mention the most valuable of her services - the nonjudgmental respect and compassion she shows to clients living and dead. A typical job for Pankhurst and her crew might be cleaning out the apartment of a reclusive woman named Dorothy who had become a concern to her neighbors. It took six people 12 hours to complete the job, not counting the time needed to take the front door off its hinges to get past the debris. But when Krasnostein asked what the hoarder looks like, Pankhurst said only that "she just looks like an old lady." When pressed on the matter - "Is she unwell?" - Pankhurst replied: "I think she's just lonely." Working for someone who seems as nice as Pankhurst makes trauma cleanup sound like a nice job. But let's make no mistake about the nature of this work. "Trauma cleaning as a career may have a darkly attractive quirkiness," Krasnostein allows, "but the reality is that it is dirty, disturbing, backbreaking physical labor of transcendentally exhausting proportions." Take that into consideration and the work ethic of Pankhurst and her crew seems admirable in the extreme. No matter what horrors they find on a job, they leave the site spick-and-span. If murderers, who are mostly men, were required to clean up after themselves as well as Specialized Trauma Cleaning Services does, the murder rate would drop precipitously. But then Pankhurst and her crew would be out of a job - and we wouldn't want that, would we? Marilyn STASIO writes the Crime column for the Book Review. Pankhurst, the founder of Specialized Trauma deeming Services, promises to rid your home of everything from bedbugs to fresh humem corpses.


Library Journal Review

Can an independent journalist backed by a dedicated online community bring down a serial predator who terrorized a neighborhood for decades? This gripping, intimately drawn book chronicles McNamara's research into the unsolved rapes and murders of the Golden State Killer in California. McNamara, who blogged at -TrueCrimeDiary.com, -meticulously covers the long (and ongoing) criminal investigation, giving equal attention to the work of the detectives who have worked the case and the terror the victims faced. The book is also part memoir, as McNamara reveals how her almost obsessive research kept her up nights, sometimes writing notes with her daughter's crayons. Published after the author's untimely death in 2016, the book contains several unfinished chapters and explanatory comments, which in this context add to the somber and disconcerting accounts of life's fragility. Narrator Gabra Zackman delivers a stellar performance. Her steady and calm narration adds to the unsettling feeling and helps to ramp up the suspense and intensity (which might make some people sleep with the lights on). VERDICT While this extremely well-written book will get attention from the big names attached (author Gillian Flynn and -McNamara's husband, Patton Oswalt, who both narrate their respective contributions), this work deserves to stand on its own and belongs on the same shelf with other contemporary classics of the genre. The print version is already a best seller so expect high demand. For those on the holds list, recommend Robert Kolker's The Lost Girls, James Renner's True Crime Addict, or notable true crime podcasts such as Stitcher's Stranglers. ["A haunting, if somewhat patchy read for fans of true crime": LJ 3/1/18 review of the Harper hc.]-Cathleen Keyser, NoveList, Durham, NC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.