One of my pals started a horror book club and McNamara’s book was selected. It was already on my radar, but this put it at the top of the list. Unfortunately, it is so dang popular that I wasn’t able to get the book until after the meet-up, but once the audio hit my inbox I was committed. I heeded the advice of everyone else which was NOT to listen to it at night time. This was my early morning walk/morning commute listen. Definitely a lights on read, as it is a horrifying tale.
This is an outstanding book, and it is uniquely situated as it really tells three stories. First, you have the well-researched story of the vile and depraved killer who raped and murdered Californians in the 70s and 80s. Second, this is the memoir aspect of McNamara, who spent her life researching this captivating story. You learn where her intrigue came from, what drove her, and how this mystery was woven into the fabric of her life. And lastly, and sadly, this is a love letter to Michelle in a sense, as she died suddenly before the novel was finished. One final layer to this novel is that last April the killer was apprehended which adds further context to this story.
For all these reasons, this is an unusual and mesmerizing book. Michelle was a powerhouse of a woman: smart, focused, and unrelenting. She unflinchingly tells the story, following every possible lead and coordinating with law enforcement at every opportunity. She does an extraordinary job painting a clear and jarring picture while paying respect to the victims. There is also a lovely foreward by Gillian Flynn and an afterward by Michelle’s husband, Patton Oswalt was lovely – a wonderful tribute to his late wife, which bookends the entire thing.
This is definitely a tough read because the subject matter is graphic but I am glad to have read it and it has earned a place on my list of books I will recommend to everyone.