My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hmm I’m not sure how to feel about this book. I feel like I’m going to be an outlier here with an unpopular opinion. I didn’t hate it but I also didn’t love it.
A few notes about this book:
1. Michelle McNamara died before the book was complete.
2. Much of the book was pieced together by her colleagues prior to publication.
3. The Golden State Killer was not identified prior to this book being published so if you’re looking for a conclusion where an identification is made, you aren’t going to find it here.
4. A 74-yeard old man named Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested after this book was published (April 2018) and charged with many of the crimes depicted in this book. He is assumed to be the Golden State Killer although the trial is still pending.
Ok so all of that being said, my biggest issue with the book was the fact that it was very disjointed and all over the place in terms of timeline and content. It jumped around from the 1970s to the 1980s to 2010s back to 1970s… You get the gist. Which might not have been a huge problem if the story was more cohesive. However, I felt like the bulk of the book was a compilation of mini-stories or random thoughts that didn’t real tell a complete story. I found the discussion of the various crimes committed to be extremely repetitive as the killer’s MO didn’t deviate a whole lot. I’m not sure why each crime needed to be rehashed.
I guess I was expecting more “investigation” and less victim back story. And I feel like I finally got that 8 out of 10 hours into the audiobook. The last 2 hours were probably my favorite because there was more discussion about creative ways in which Michelle and other investigators dissected the known information to formulate theories. That part was superb. I would have appreciated more of the latter and less of the former.
I feel like it’s a little unfair to judge this book too harshly considering the author passed away while the book was still being written, had to be pieced together posthumously, and likely wasn’t edited in the way the author would have edited it. I’d like to think that had Michelle McNamara had an opportunity to finish it herself it would have been better.
Lastly, the entire time I read this book (having known the killer was allegedly in custody) I wanted so badly to compare the theories in the book with known information about Joseph James DeAngelo to see if the investigators’ theories were accurate. Guess I’ll have to wait for the HBO documentary that somebody will undoubtedly produce one of these days to find out!