I’m a murderino. I didn’t know there was a name for it until recently. I also didn’t want to shout it from the rooftops because it felt so… morbid. I’m fascinated by murders. I love reading true crime. I want to know what makes these people tick and why they did what they did. When I was younger I used to spend hours on the FBI website reading about famous cases and criminals. I know. It was weird. But I now know that I’m not the only one who has a fascination with the horrific. Why else do newspapers put car accidents and acts of violence on the front pages? Because people are secretly fascinated by that kind of stuff. It sells papers.
Aside from a couple people I knew, I thought I was the only one interested in murder and I kept it a secret. People would think I was such a freak for being so interested in it. Then my friend introduced me to a podcast that changed my life – My Favorite Murder. It’s a fantastic podcast that blends humor and topics of murder. It’s an odd combination, but weirdly enough it works. Through that podcast my eyes were opened to a whole community of people who are fascinated by true crime, specifically murder. They call themselves murderinos. That’s when I finally realized I wasn’t alone. That is also where I learned about Michelle McNamara. Unfortunately, I learned about her a little too late. At that point, she had sadly passed away at the tragically early age of 46 in 2016, but McNamara left behind a legacy. She wrote about true crime on her website TrueCrimeDiary, gathered a following, and also an obsession.
McNamara was determined to identify the Golden State Killer – a name she coined when DNA evidence linked the Original Night Stalker and East Bay Rapist as the same person. Her life began to revolve around solving this mystery and she was in the middle of writing a book using the thousands of hours of her research when she died. Two years later that book was published posthumously as “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”.
It is a tragedy that McNamara was taken from us at such an early age. “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” showed such promise. She had a way with words, and I would go as far as to say she could have been the next Ann Rule. The first two parts of the book, written by McNamara (the last part is a compilation of her research written by her research partner and a journalist), are described in such a way as to keep you completely glued to your seat. It is amazing how in-depth her research went. There are so many small details that not many people would have thought of that she included. She was not just a writer, but truly an investigator. What I loved most about the narrative were the parts where McNamara included herself into the story. It wasn’t just a book presenting the evidence on the Golden State Killer, but it was also about her obsession with the case and how it affected her life. McNamara was truly the queen murderino. She would be at movie premieres and could hardly keep her eyes off her phone while she was shifting through new evidence. This case was her life. It is just too bad that she didn’t live long enough to see what has become of it. Only a few months after her book was released, they arrested the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer – one of the people she named in the book. There are many questions still left unanswered, but I am sure we will find more answers soon. In the meantime, this is a very exciting time to be a murderino, and to celebrate how one murderino’s obsession helped to finally close a cold case.
If you are like me and stories of true crime completely enthrall you, check out these fantastic books that we have at the library. Maybe you’ll find your next obsession between one of these covers.