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If you like "true crime", then this is the book for you. Chilling and intriguing.
A fantastic true crime read.
A dark insight into the timeline of the Golden State Killer. Looking into the past, Author Michelle McNamara predicts how the future of trendy genetic testing ultimately led to his capture. As a native to the the area he first got started, the Visalia ransacker is still talked about today. It is quite haunting to read about a serial killer who once prowled the streets I grew up on. Although the timeline seems jumbled in the book, it is a definite must read If you are interested in the serial killer phenomena that plagued the 1970’s-1980’s.
RATING: 4.5 STARS
2018; Harper/HarperCollins Canada
I remember watching true crime episodes on the East Area Rapist (EAR) and the Original Night Stalker (ONS) as I grew up on shows like Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20. The thought that these killers were still not caught, and could be preying on people even now was just so terrifying. As I started to see more about these serial killers, there was also this urban legend component to them. I mean, these crimes happened awhile ago, nothing else had been tied to them, and seemed to be the past. These cold cases were famous for being unsolved and the brutality seemed so savage that it seemed unreal to everyone not touched by this. At the time though, people were terrified as this wasn’t just women being preyed upon but couples. Being home with someone else did not protect you.
To this day I still faithfully PVR Dateline Mysteries and 48 Hours Mysteries. It was on an episode of 48 Hours, that I first saw Patton Oswalt speak of his wife, Michelle McNamara’s work on the Golden State Killer. Michelle, a writer, wrote some articles on true crime, and had her own true crime blog. With her interest in EAR and ONS she started to do her own investigation into the crimes and the killers. As she started digging she theorized that EAR and ONS were the same person. If that was true the evidence found in the two groups could be connected to one suspect. From there she would try to put together a profile of the killer that could lead to suspects that could be tested against DNA. Patton’s love, respect and awe for Michelle on the show, and in the book’s Afterword further drew me into Michelle’s journey as well as the case and her writing. He and Michelle call her investigation her obsession and it is that passion that real brings Michelle to life in the book.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I have always been interested in true crime shows and mysteries. Yet, I can be picky about what I will invest my time in. It is not that a case is not “juicy” enough, but it is what resonates with me. I am curious about psychology behind what causes someone to act in such a brutal way. Something about Michelle's passion and her writing style really sucked me right in. Even if I wasn’t interested in the case I would have read this. She was able to present the facts and be compassionate to the victims and their surviving families. I find often that writers try to scandalize or be too graphic when there is no need to. These were real people that horrifically lost their life and deserve justice. Unsolved murders and missing persons are two things that terrify and sadden me.
After finishing this book, it was announced that they may have found the Golden State Killer (GSK) based on DNA evidence. They were able to find him through a genealogy site. They have been testing the evidence to their suspect. Michelle passed away before she was able to finish the book so it was finished through editors, and they did well with keeping with Michelle's vision. I highly recommend this book as it is a good read as well as informative.
***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS*
My first true crime book, and I am hooked! I didn't know anything about GSK until he was caught. After following what I could of the story on reddit and other sources, I finally got the book everyone was talking about. It's nearly impossible to put this book down until its finished.
I listened to the ebook on a road trip and air trip and found the story fascinating and terrifying. Being in the Bay Area it was unreal to imagine the terror the GSK in his many alleged personas inflicted on Sacramento and later other parts of the Bay Area and California. This terror, woven in with the great investigative efforts of the author, her story, and the past and future of criminal investigations was a real treat. I thought the book was too exhaustive in parts, but that's where tuning out an ebook is easy. That said, I'm still happy I listened and keen to find out the outcome of the GSK's trial in real time.
The determination to find the Golden State Killer by an amateur detective shows what doggedly following leads can do. Interesting and amazing how much one woman was able to accomplish
Fantastic book. Page turner by the end. Especially relevant if you live between Contra Costa and Sacramento. McNamara is a master writer in this genre, and it’s a shame there will be no more from her.
True crime is one of my favorite genres, but this book is more than that. If I had the time and means I would absolutely love to do what Michelle McNamara did in this book. It is absolutely riveting. When you think about how she was so close but so far from her dream of knowing who the Golden State Killer (a name she invented) was it gives you hope that you too can make a real difference in the world. The sadness comes when you realize she died two years before the suspect was apprehended.
I'm amazed at how much work the author put into this book, and saddened that she did not live to see him brought to justice.
I don't usually read true crime but this was good so I'm glad I did read it. I do think that it being an unfinished posthumous publication makes it more interesting from a craft of writing and investigation perspective. The privacy implications of what actually caught the killer are to me even more scary than the rash of 1970s crimes depicted. But I didn't live through that terror so whatever.
I could not put this book down, but I had to keep checking my doors to make sure that they were locked. I thought the narrative of the truly horrific crimes was well-balanced from well-written and thoughtful to truly grotesque and disturbing. Mcnamara was able to paint a picture of a deranged killer without knowing his identify.
This book was written before the April 24th, 2018 arrest of Joseph DeAngelo (a former police officer, Vietnam vet and mechanic). DeAngelo was caught using genetic material from one of his relatives who was registered on a genealogy site.
It's too bad that Michelle McNamara was unable to live to see that day. Her book detailing the crime spree of this monster is incredibly well-researched and she put her heart and soul into finding this man.
This is a story about one woman's diligent search to find the identity of the Golden State Killer. McNamara's writing style is perfect for a book of this nature. She provides the reader with details and insight into the killer's crimes. Yet, this book ultimately is her own fascinating story. McNamara died tragically shortly before the killer was identified and arrested. It is devastating to think that this woman, who did so much to keep this man's crimes fresh in the minds of the public, died shortly before finally seeing him captured. A must read for readers of true crime and anyone with an interest in crime research! McNamara worked closely with the detectives who worked the case, and this book provides a unique insight into how they work.
If you just heard about this book recently and think it’s about how the so-called Golden State Killer (GSK) was finally identified, think again. It’s the story of his crimes, and of one now-deceased woman (the author, who was an amateur/civilian), who became obsessed with him. She writes well and describes his crimes in detail as well as depicting the detectives and many others whose lives intersected with him. However, the book was published in February 2018, two months before the GSK was identified and arrested. He is now awaiting trial. It is very frustrating to get to the end and find that you cannot find out which of the myriad theories was correct. Which profilers got it right? Which parts of the profiles were right? Was the name of the GSK ever in the database of suspects? How was he caught? These questions are not answered in this book.
This book was really weird for me. I was so looking forward to reading it and it really did pull me in for the first few chapters, but I began feeling really uneasy. I'd put the book down, and pick it up again only to stall. It was so disconnected, jumping back and forth from period to period, character to character...I can see this format really working for certain readers. It keeps you on your toes, but I think you've got to be in the mood to be kept on your toes when the subject matter is so dark. The format lends too much levity to the story...I sort of wanted the author to hunker down and dig into a period or character, THEN move on. But I have a feeling this book got so much hype and push simply because the author died young and in her sleep (and was married to Patton Oswalt, apparently?). RIP to her. I'm a true crime lover, but like a steadier focus.
As a memoir for Michelle McNamara, who I was a big fan of, I liked this book and enjoyed her storytelling. The drive and obsession this woman had was amazing and it's heartbreaking to know that she never got to see it published. However, as a true crime novel I found that the timing jumped around a lot and make the actual story of the EAR/ONS/GSK a bit confusing.
Could not put this down. I enjoyed Michelle's writing and her way of intertwining the victims stories with factual evidence from the cases. Very griping but recommend not reading too late at night. I had to check all my windows and doors while reading this!
Michelle McNamara possessed a rare gift. She could almost overwhelm you with facts of the deeply disturbing East Area Rapist case, but knew just when to reel you back in with a poetic turn of phrase. In this book, she doesn't beat around the bush about the horror of his crimes, but approaches each with compassion and respect for the victims.
Going into this knowing that she tragically passed away before its completion, and before the EAR was caught earlier this year, and that she left behind a young daughter and devoted husband...that made me sad. Now, after reading her only work of this kind, I lament that her promising career was cut short. She was instrumental in spurring this investigation forward, and told the story with such grace. Her passion, dedication, and talent will be missed.
I am unsure why this type of book fascinates and draws me in. It feels prurient in some ways. This is a deep exploration by a skilled writer of a tragic series of crimes by a man who derived pleasure by abusing and murdering innocent people.
I have read a lot of true crime in my day, but this book has affected me as few books have. The combination of the story of the Golden State Killer and his evolution from serial rapist to serial killer plus Michelle McNamara's discussion of how the quest for him affected her own life plus the fact that McNamara died before the book was finished makes this a very compelling story. I am still not quite finished with the book, as I have to put it down, because it gets too frightening.
I was disappointed by this true crime book. One of the main reasons concerns the fact that Ms. McNamara never finished the book. She died in 2016 from complications of the combination of the medications fentanyl and xanax. No reason has ever been provided, to my knowledge, as to why this massive pain killer ( responsible for the deaths of Prince and Michael Jackson ) was being prescribed. Whatever the underlying diagnosis, it may have contributed to the obsession with the Golden State Killer and explain the fact that the pictures of the author show her working in bed. Ms. McNamara wrote a true crime blog. The book has been cobbled together from this, published articles, and notes. The result is disorganized and repetitive. The content could have been concisely recorded in half the pages. Extraneous chapters unrelated to the author seem to have been added to pad the pages rather than to add significant information. Since the killer has never been identified, if he is still living I can imagine him glorifying in his story and the failure of law enforcement. I hope the obsession behavior of the author did not interfere with her personal life to the extent that seems to be portrayed. McNamara herself acknowledges the incredible toll the case took on her, writing at one point that “there’s a scream permanently lodged in my throat.” I have read a number of amazing true crime books. I highly recommend "Helter Skelter" by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi, "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America" by Erik Larson, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" by David Grann, and "The Onion Field" by Joseph Wambaugh. Since reviews of this book have been so positive, I was hoping for an excellent book, but was very disappointed. Kristi & Abby Tabby