Saturday, May 12, 2018

McNamara, Michelle (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)

I kid you not when I say that my loan for this e-book came through two days after they caught the killer. I've talked to folks who read this book when it came out in February, and I really wonder how my reading experience differs from theirs.

For me, it involved reading a section and then immediately going to the web to hear what the police, the press, and armchair detectives were discussing about the very thing I just read. I'm sure readers were doing that when the book came out, but there was SO much more to read at this juncture. No one is surprised he's a police officer and no one is surprised that it took DNA to catch him, but I am surprised that it took this long.

Yes, DNA as evidence was not truly accessible to law enforcement in the 70s-90s, but still, the number of lucky escapes this man had! Are you kidding me! Perhaps unbelievably, towards the end of the book I was getting a little tired of the mantra: "He was just here. You just missed him. He blinded you with his flashlight and got away. We couldn't catch him on foot because of all the... fences in the way." This was repeated so many times that it's hard to believe there wasn't a lot of stupidity, all around.

McNamara herself, being such a tragic tale, is alternately touching and exasperating, but the sections of this book that she had written before she died (other sections were written by fellow armchair detectives) showcase spectacular journalistic intuition and integrity. I wish she were here to continue to be part of this conversation, especially regarding lessons learned for law enforcement.

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