The term masterpiece is thrown around a bit too much when it comes to describing books, especially books that have been released in the past few years. If it isn’t masterpiece, it’s groundbreaking. The truth is that not many books live up to the hype and to describe them as masterpieces or groundbreaking weakens those adjectives.
This book does live up to the hype. It is truly a masterpiece, and even in its’ unfinished state rivals, if not bests, In Cold Blood.
I honesty don’t know why this book popped up on my radar. I had never heard of the Golden State Killer (who started as a rapist). It appeared on my tbr list around Christmas, and then when the positive reviews came in I used an Audible credit. I hadn’t read McNamara’s blog, and I dimly remembered hearing about her death when it occurred (as well as the idiots who felt they had a right to tell a husband how long he had to stay a widower).
McNamara’s account of the killer’s crimes switches between her memoir and interest in crime. Her writing has an incredible amount of life and pulse. The sections detailing the crimes are chillingly told and read by Gabra Zackman. Zackman’s voice shifts as she reads the memoir sections.
The investigation sections and chapters are well done, with that same wonderful writing tone. McNamara not only discusses possibilities but also the development of science and DNA testing, things that allowed for break thorough.
Because she died before the book could be completed, there is, at times, a slightly uneven feel – this is particularly true towards the end of the book where a chapter is simply a transcribed audio. It is too the credit of the editors who finished the book (McNamara’s researcher and a fellow reporter) that they keep themselves separated from the book. They let McNamara speak for herself.
The book is also very touching, especially the afterward.