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The ‘Bittersweet’ Story Behind Michelle McNamara’s Golden State Killer Book That Sold Out Overnight

2 minute read

Years ago, true-crime author Michelle McNamara became obsessed with the Golden State Killer. She began writing a book that laid out the chilling details of the cold case that haunted California in the ’70s and ’80s amid her search for clues about the man who allegedly raped more than 50 women and murdered at least 12 people.

McNamara never lived to finish the book, I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, or get it published after she suddenly died in 2016. But that didn’t stop her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, from finishing her final book and posthumously publishing it. McNamara’s book quickly became a New York Times best-seller in April and HBO acquired the rights to I’ll Be Gone In The Dark with the intent to develop a docu-series based on it. But on Wednesday, I’ll Be Gone In the Dark shot up to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list and overnight, the online retailer was sold out of all of its copies.

So what sparked the sudden interest in McNamara’s tale of the Golden State Killer? California authorities announced a new development in the decades-old cold case — the suspected serial killer, who was identified as Joseph James DeAngelo, had been found. DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, was arrested and is awaiting a court appearance to face charges for the list of allegations against him.

“You did good. You aimed a light and helped the hunter catch a monster,” Oswalt tweeted shortly after the Golden State Killer announcement had been made.

Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said at a news conference Wednesday that McNamara’s book did not specifically lead to any new information about the Golden State Killer, but the book’s release undeniably helped keep the unsolved case in the national public consciousness.

But Oswalt said on social media he thinks his deceased wife’s hard work played a crucial role in helping the killer be brought to be justice. Since Wednesday’s announcement, Oswalt has been retweeting many people’s comments about her dedication to the cold case.

Oswalt even said he’d like to meet the Golden State Killer face to face, not to “gloat or gawk,” but to get answers to questions McNamara wanted to ask him.


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