When I was at CrimeCon 18 I saw this book and purchased the Kindle edition when I got home. I notice today it is not up on Amazon, but that could be either a bug with Amazon.com or the authors working on a new edition. I would hope they would keep this one in print because it is useful.
As a true crime author, I wanted some details on this case and this book is all about the details. It covers every single crime related to the Golden State Killer. Some of this was clearly compiled from police reports, while other incidents seem a little lighter, perhaps from media sources.
This is not a casual read…there is a LOT of material here. My hates off to Kat Winters and Keith Komos for the staggering amount of research they did for this. I wanted this level of detail in a book. As a true crime author my level of curosity is at the nuts and bolts level and here, this book doesn’t disappoint. If you want an overview level of the cases, there are some great books out there. This one takes you through every single crime.
What was strange was that after I read it (nightly for four weeks – it’s that big) I started to blur the cases together in my head. Perfect. That meant there was a very distinct pattern that you see emerge with these crimes. It is incredible how the murderer (suspect Joseph DeAngelo) followed a pattern of how to approach the target homes, entry, things he said to the victims, his methods of immobilizing them, etc. I knew this going into the book, but not on the incredible volume of cases. What you are led through, chronologically, is the evolution of madness this rapist/killer went through. You can read clearly how he honed his horrific skills. The amount of work that went into this book is something I respect as a researcher and author.
We knew that the Golden State Killer called his victims, but I was surprised at how much he tracked and called them. He used the phone to stake out when the houses were empty and when certain people were at home. This kind of stuff is golden (no pun intended) for a true crime fan like me.
The book has a conversational tone in some areas where the authors ask the readers questions about what they see. I’m not a huge fan of that, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. It is a style of writing and you don’t have to be a fan of every style. There were some editing mistakes, but I’m in no position to cast stones on that front. Sidebar: That stuff happens and the people that make a big deal about it are often would-be writers themselves who believe the English language is composed of hard and fast rules that cannot be pushed or broken. There hasn’t been a book I’ve read in the last decade that hasn’t had some minor hiccup when it comes to grammar. Let it go people. End Sidebar
There is remarkably little about the investigation. This is, per the title, the “case files.” For some true crime fans that is going to be something they will struggle over. There is no narrative that weaves all of this together. It reminds me of Dragnet’s infamous line, “Just the facts ma’am.”
With DeAngelo’s case front and center with the media, this is a great go-to book in the coming years. Everytime something has come up on TV about the case, I’ve done a search on my Kindle copy to check references.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars for the casual true crime reader. For someone wanting to know each and every case, it is 5 out of 5 stars.