I have always loved true crime shows, and over the past few years, that love has transferred to books. True crime is turning out to be one of my favorite genres of nonfiction (I’ve read five so fr this year). I’ve been hearing about Billy Jensen’s Chase Darkness with Me, and decided it would make a great addition to my Nonfiction November reading.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?
Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there.
But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer and author of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops had given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.
You’ll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You’ll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle McNamara’s pursuit of the Golden State Killer and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown Four. And Billy gives you the tools―and the rules―to help solve murders yourself.
Last year, I read and loved Michelle McNamara’s I’ll be Gone in the Dark which is about her search for the Golden State Killer. Billy Jensen was one of the people who worked on finishing McNamara’s book after her death (which he does talk about in Chase Darkness with Me). He has an obvious passion for true crime, which reminded me a lot of how McNamara worked to find the Golden State Killer.
What makes this book different from any true crime I’ve ever read is that it’s more of a memoir Jensen wrote about the crimes he’s helped solve and how he developed his passion for true crime. I think true crime authors are often more involved in their subject than a lot of other nonfiction writers. They’re not just writing about something that happened, they are actively trying to solve a crime, and oftentimes becoming personally involved with law enforcement or victims or victims’ families. Brad Jensen is no exception. And I found it fascinating to learn about the behind the scenes of true crime; not just the crimes themselves, but about the people whose interest in the crimes drives the cases forward.
If you liked I’ll be Gone in the Dark, I highly recommend following it up with this book. There is quite a bit of overlap – especially about the GSK case after McNamara’s death. But it’s also just a fascinating true crime novel. And if you’re interested, and haven’t read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, I’d recommend reading that one first (it’s not necessary, but the timeline makes more sense that way).
★★★★★ – I really enjoyed Chase Darkness with Me. If you’re a true crime geek like me, this is definitely one to add to your reading list!
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible. Chase Darkness with Me is an audible original read by the author. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission for purchases made through this post.*