I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (28,522 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The basis for the major six-part HBO documentary series.

Number one New York Times best seller.

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

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | Anthony Award winner | SCIBA Book Award winner | Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime | 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 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.

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 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

Critic Reviews

"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)

Editor's Pick

A true crime thriller that became front-page news
"The best true crime books pass on an obsession: they haunt you the way the case haunted the writer. Before Michelle McNamara came along, few besides the most dogged web sleuths and law enforcement knew about the Golden State Killer, a serial predator who stalked, raped, and murdered victims in their own homes in California in the 1970s and ’80s—and then vanished, letting the trail grow cold. Much has been made about whether McNamara’s gorgeously written, obsessively researched book helped catch the suspect who was arrested just two months after its publication. But McNamara herself predicted DNA technology would eventually beat him, though she didn’t live to see it happen. Don’t listen to this book to figure out whether McNamara “solved” the case. Listen to be in the company of her sharp, compassionate, and haunted mind, for which Gabra Zackman’s skillful, subtle narration is the ideal conduit. Listen because this audiobook is, quite simply, on the very short list of masterpieces in the literature of true crime."
Kat J., Audible Editor

Featured Article: 20 Best True Crime Audiobooks for Your Inner Detective


Do you enjoy murder mysteries or chilling criminal escapades? The best true crime audiobooks will have you on the edge of your seat—whether the story divulges details about well-known serial killers or unidentified villains of unsolved crimes. You won’t be able to stop listening as each mystery unravels, especially when these fascinating, gripping tales are read by some of the most captivating voices in audio. Satisfy your inner detective here.

What listeners say about I'll Be Gone in the Dark

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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

17 people found this helpful

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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.

178 people found this helpful

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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.

24 people found this helpful

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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.

71 people found this helpful

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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.

207 people found this helpful

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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.

90 people found this helpful

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Huge letdown.

this book is just a 10 hour roll call of case facts and varying theories as to who was the GSK. it's all over the place at times and it's easy to lose focus. I was relieved when the book was finally over with. what this author helped accomplish in solving the crimes is amazing and the fact that just she passed on saddens me.

11 people found this helpful

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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.

76 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Ida Skov-Skov Bergh
  • 07-21-20

Boring

The book contains too much detail about the crimes without a defined narrative. To me it was repetitive and boring.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-23-20

Confusing amount of detail not told as a story

This was more like a report than storytelling. The most interesting parts were hearing about the authors life and obsession with the East Area Rapist. Delivery was monotonous.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-27-20

Absolutely essential

Michelle McNamara writes *beautifully*.. I’ve been a true crime fan for years and have been aware of her contributions, her enormous heart and sadly, her untimely death for a while now.. But had never quite gotten around to listening to/reading this INCREDIBLE book. I’m only 2 hours in, and I’ve literally cancelled my evening so I can devote myself to listening once I finish typing this. I am completely transported by her prose - which is so wonderfully captured by Gabra Zackman’s narration, wow. This audiobook is *truly* on another level.. Usually, I’ll put a book or a podcast on while I’m cleaning or doing the dishes, and sort of give it 80% of my attention, but I was completely unprepared for this. She’s phenomenally talented, weaving together the stories of victims with her own life, and her unrelenting pursuit of GSK.. And knowing that she passed before his capture puts haunting layer over everything that is so.. heartbreakingly unique. But good Lord, knowing also how vital her contributions were to this case, and how so many pieces might not have come together without her.. I’m truly overwhelmed by her passion and the clarity of her purpose. This is truly a masterpiece. I want to say more, but I need to get back to my chapter. 100/10, no question <3

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  • M. Seiler
  • 11-14-19

Chilling and captivating

Immense research and detail pulled into a fascinating and comprehensive narrative expertly told by the collective writers. Wonderfully narrated by Ms Zackman. Incredible timing - the release of this book and the capture! Would highly recommend.

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  • Areeje
  • 09-05-19

Its ok a little confusing at times

Struggled to finish wasca little slow and boring also confusing didnt have a great flow

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-12-19

Insufferable narrator

I wanted to finish this audiobook, but even as I got closer to completing, I dreaded listening. The narrator’s style (to me) is completely off-putting. The voices she employs for different individuals, men in particular, are barely listenable. It’s a shame, because I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since it was released. It’s a good book. It’s well written and interesting, but disjointed and messy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-14-19

This is a masterpiece. Highly recommended.

From the first chapter you feel every ounce of the writer's passion for her work. Within minutes you are sucked in and her compulsion becomes yours.

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  • Dante
  • 08-31-18

a brilliant book.

Michelle's talent will be missed. I'm only glad that her work with Paul Holes resulted in this creeps capture. Pattons postword was so emotional.

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  • donna
  • 08-03-18

Couldn't get enough!

Loved it, Michelle McNamara was some woman for one woman. Paton should be very proud (of course he is!) Couldn't stop listening, will be re-listening. The narrator was great; easy to listen too.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-18

Kept me wanting more

Loved it, kept me excited and wanting more. Sad ending since you feel like your geting to know the author.