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  • Ryanne Harper

Walk into the Light

I was saving this for my reading challenge update, but I can't. And this brilliant book deserves a post all its own. Unless you've been living under a rock, you are at least somewhat aware of who the Golden State Killer is. Before Michelle McNamara, I didn't know who he was. Or what he'd done. Even now I, like Gillian Flynn said, "don't care who he is...I just want him caught"; so, if you're reading this hoping to learn more about him, this isn't the blog for you. I don't care about him; I care about the victims and their families, the detectives who hunted him, and Michelle McNamara.

The man Michelle McNamara dubbed The Golden Killer began as a ransacker, escalated to rape, and eventually to murder. He is a literal monster, And, until last week, the case remained unsolved. Thanks to advances in DNA testing, he was finally caught. The victims he left alive, the families of those he didn't, and the detectives who hunted him can all rest a little easier.

The unsolved murder of a neighbor piqued Michelle's interest in true crime at a young age. In 2006, she started her blog, True Crime Diary, which focused on cold cases. When she decided to focus on the GSK, she really, really focused. She spent hours hunting down clues to not just the killer, but items the killer stole from his victims in an effort to find him. She drove to old crime scenes. She made playlists of songs that were popular at the time so she could better understand the time period. She worked late into the night, while her husband and daughter slept, trying to track down this monster. And she did it to bring closure to the families, the victims, the members of law enforcement who hunted this man, and to make sure he would ultimately be held responsible for the crimes he committed. Michelle McNamara died in 2016. It would take her researchers and friends another two years to complete and publish this magnificent book. Her epilogue, titled "Letter to an Old Man", was chilling when I read it the first time. Now that the man she dubbed the Golden State Killer has been arrested, I feel weirdly proud of Michelle for all her hard work. I didn't know anything about this woman until the release of this book. I regret not finding her and her brilliant blog sooner.

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.

-Michelle McNamara

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