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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara

  • “I love reading true crime, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that, as a reader, I am actively choosing to be a consumer of someone else’s tragedy. So like any responsible consumer, I try to be careful in the choices I make. I read only the best: writers who are dogged, insightful, and humane.” 
  • “That’s what we do. All of us. We make well-intentioned promises of protection we can’t always keep. I’ll look out for you.”
  • “Writing this now, I’m struck by two incompatible truths that pain me. No one would have taken more joy from this book than my mother. And I probably wouldn’t have felt the freedom to write it until she was gone.”
  • “My mother was, and will always be, the most complicated relationship of my life.”
  • “He loses his power when we know his face.”
  • “He’s the fake shark in Jaws, barely seen so doubly feared.”
  • “I’m envious, for example, of people obsessed with the Civil War, which brims with details but is contained. In my case, the monsters recede but never vanish. They are long dead and being born as I write.” 
  • “I love my husband. I hate men.” 
  • “I always find it something of a relief to be in the presence of someone who knows the shorthand”
  • “I want him captured; I don’t care who he is. Looking at such a man’s face is anticlimactic; attaching a name, even more so. We know what he did; any information beyond that will inevitably feel pedestrian, pale, somehow cliché: “My mother was cruel. I hate women. I never had a family. . . .” And so on. I want to know more about true, complete people, not dirty scraps of humans.” 
  • “He pointed a knife at her and issued a chilling warning: “Make one move and you’ll be silent forever and I’ll be gone in the dark.” 
  • “She was both proud of the fact that she had raised a strong-minded daughter and resentful of my sharp opinions.”
  • “Why are you so interested in crime?” people ask me, and I always go back to that moment in the alley, the shards of a dead girl’s Walkman in my hands. I need to see his face. He loses his power when we know his face.” 
  • “The victims recede from view. Their rhythm is off, their confidence drained. They’re laden with phobias and made tentative by memory. Divorce and drugs beset them. Statutes of limitations expire. Evidence kits are tossed for lack of room. What happened to them is buried, bright and unmoving, a coin at the bottom of a pool. They do their best to carry on.”
  • “Yet he was still out there blending in, a man whose ordinariness was his mask.”
  • “I don’t care if I’m the one who captures him. I just want bracelets on his wrists and a cell door slamming behind him.”
  • But then you hear a scream and you decide it’s some teenagers playing around. A young man jumping a fence is taking a shortcut. The gunshot at three a.m. is a firecracker or a car backfiring. You sit up in bed for a startled moment. Awaiting you is the cold, hard floor and a conversation that may lead nowhere; you collapse onto your warm pillow, and turn back to sleep. Sirens wake you later.” 
  • “It really confirmed for me that inside everyone lurks a Sherlock Holmes that believes that given the right amount of clues they could solve a mystery. If the challenge here, or perceived weakness, is that the unsolved aspect will leave readers unfulfilled, why not turn that on its head and use it as a strength?” 
  • “I’ve now come to realize that getting excited about a suspect is a lot like that first surge of stupid love in a relationship, in which, despite vague alarm bells, you plow forward convinced that he is the One.”