Golden State Killer Authors Draw Hundreds to Barnes and Noble Book Signing Event

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG)  |  By Elise Spleiss
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Billy Jensen, investigative journalist and friend of the late I’ll Be Gone in the Dark author Michelle McNamara, Paul Haynes, lead researcher, and Michelle's husband, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt addressed the packed Citrus Heights crowd. Photo by Heather Killion

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - It was standing room only at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Citrus Heights on May 30, 2018. Hundreds of men, women and even children pushed their way through the crowd to reach the 100 chairs set up for the panel of three who had completed and posthumously published the book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer written by Michelle McNamara.

They came to hear the compelling story of one women’s growing obsession to identify the man who, for over 40 years, had come to be known as the East Area Rapist and later the Golden State Killer.

The panel, which answered questions for an hour, was made up of Billy Jensen, investigative journalist and friend of McNamara, Paul Haynes, lead researcher, aka The Kid, and Michelle's husband, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt.

Attendees came from throughout California and beyond, some with a close and personal connection to the 1970s and 80s reign of terror Joseph James DeAngelo unleashed on California. This fear carried on for more than four decades, affecting hundreds of thousands of lives of single women, couples and families over the course of DeAngelo’s suspected crime spree of at least 12 murders, 50 rapes and 120 known burglaries.

McNamara had completed much of the first half of the book before her death.  She died in her sleep at 46 years old, the result of complications from taking prescription drugs with an unknown heart problem. Her own entries end with a sentence added by Oswalt that reads simply, “Michelle McNamara died on April 21, 2016.”

The panel spoke of the hardest issue they faced following McNamara’s death as working to maintain her unique style of writing to the end. “Finishing the book was like putting together puzzle pieces (from her drafts).” It only worked because they all knew her rhythm.

The epilogue to the book is a five and a half page “Letter to an Old Man” which McNamara wrote. It includes all her questions to the rapist when he is caught and it ends with an ironic challenge, considering her book was published two months before DeAngelo’s arrest.                                   

‘“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,”’ you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.”