HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime…
Loading...

Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders (edition 2019)

by Billy Jensen (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1298156,260 (3.82)1
***With an exclusive behind-the-scenes conversation between Billy Jensen and retired detective Paul Holes on the Golden State Killer, their favorite cold cases, and more*** 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 familiesof 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 HalloweenMask 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. Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Meis an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true-crime narrative unlike any you've read before.… (more)
Member:KShannahan
Title:Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders
Authors:Billy Jensen (Author)
Info:Sourcebooks (2019), 336 pages
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Jensen’s story and the way he tells it makes for interesting reading. I enjoyed learning about how he got into crime-solving, the cold cases he’s worked on, and his methods, and overall I liked the sections about his childhood. He’s a fascinating person to read about, but I’m not sure I’d like him in real life. He seems nice but also very driven and intense, and maybe a bit full of himself.

Honestly, half the reason I picked this book up is the connection to Michelle McNamara and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which is the book that got me and a lot of other people into true crime. While I enjoyed the parts of the book where Jensen talks about his work on that one, I liked seeing his memories of McNamara more. That said, the amount of space those chapters took felt a little like bragging or pandering, like Jensen knew people would be reading for that connection and he played it up a little for them. (But then, I’m cynical.)

If you’re counting, that’s three threads: McNamara, his present-day work, and his origin story. And there’s stuff about trying to get a TV show off the ground, and finding a workable life-work balance, which he mostly fails at. It’s not told linearly, which is fine and easy enough to follow, but it’s also a lot to balance and for me a lot of the book felt like writing, not like story, if that makes sense. There wasn’t a whole lot to drag me forward, except maybe for one of his “white whale” cases.

The best thing about this book is that Jensen does convey the intensity of solving cases on social media pretty well, and there’s a section at the end that is equally a call to arms, a how-to manual, and a warning. You get drawn into the mystery and excitement and frustration, though it’s a persistent tug rather than an undertow—and I prefer the latter. The second best thing is seeing him work up from the kid getting bedtime stories to who he is now. The third best: the cold cases he hasn’t yet solved.

This is a solid “like, didn’t like a lot” for me, I think. If you’re interested in true crime, especially if you want to get involved yourself or are interested in the stuff in my previous paragraph, you’ll probably like it too. If you’re looking for a deep, compelling, hard-hitting look at crime or psyches, this isn’t for you. It’s definitely on the “light read” end of the true crime spectrum.

To bear in mind: It’s true crime, but it’s not particularly creepy and graphic true crime. Still, beware murdered women, serial killers, dead kids, cold cases, missing people, and various other forms of crime and murder. Also there’s one description of an on-camera death that’s … urk.

6.5/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
Marking this one as unfinished. It’s a great book, but I need a break from true crime. It’s causing me way too much anxiety.
  widdersyns | Jul 19, 2020 |
I dithered about the rating. This wasn't a bad book, but it definitely starts to drag around the 60 percent mark. I think if Jensen had followed the conclusion to the cases he introduces readers to through and moved on to another case it would have worked better. Instead the book starts off trying to do that, and then it goes into how he meets Michelle McNamara and her quest to find the Golden State Killer. And from there the book focuses on her death and it jumps around a lot to Jensen talking about a case and then Michelle or a case and the Golden State Killer. Then the last portion is focused on Citizen Detectives and I hard cringed about it. I don't know. Jensen seems adamant that he does not expect to be praised by law enforcement and he does the things he is doing to help the families of murder victims, but then at other times in the book you can "see" his frustration with law enforcement not looping him in on things or not giving credit to Michelle McNamara. I think I would compare this book more to a journal where he is getting all of his feelings out about a whole host of subjects.

"Chase Darkness With Me" is a memoir written by Billy Jensen that shows how he became invested in true crime cases and why he started to report and then help investigate them. I think some True Crime readers and podcast followers recognize his name. I only became aware of him when I read Michelle McNamara's book and I knew he was one of the people who helped finish her book after her death. I have tried to get into podcasts here and there on True Crime, but honestly the only one that I like these days is "Murder Minute." I don't like to listen to Stay Sexy Don't Get Murdered because it definitely got too big for me to stay into it anymore. Most of the show seems to be the hosts trying out their comedy routine with each other and the victims in the story don't feel important. I love Murder Minute since they walk you through current murders in the U.S. and then into their topic of the day. I tried to listen to Mr. Jensen and Mr. Paul Holes's podcast but I could not get into it.

So first off Jensen seems like a nice guy, but his writing I found to be all over the place. I think the first part of the book with him showing us how his father got him into true crime was really good. And then we get to see his first case he got involved with that I even know about (Howard B. Elkins murdered a woman he was having an affair with, Reyna Angélica Marroquín who was pregnant at the time). From there Jensen just jumps around in his narrative and tries to provide us information about cases that have stayed with him.

I honestly think the book could have cut out how he used social media to track down suspected murderers. He explained it once to readers and we didn't need to read it every time. And then at times he seems to want praise for spending his own money on this and then frustrated when he doesn't hear back from the police right away. I don't know, this memoir was weird for me. I get his frustrations. When he explains the number of unsolved murders in the United States and how many more get added on every year i shook my head. I mean I knew just on talking to my friends in law enforcement how many murders are not solved without a confession or a killer whose DNA is already in the system. I don't know if Citizen Detectives are the answer though. I joke about "Black Twitter" tracking down people, but I caution people doing that on a day to day basis. Especially after Twitter people wrongly identified a man as the one who assaulted two children this past weekend. The wrongly identified man ended up getting death threats over it. Social media is very powerful as we have seen over the past few weeks, but I think everyone has to be careful how they use it.

And when Jensen tries to go into the Golden State Killer case I just got totally lost. I already read McNamara's book so it didn't really need to be included here as well, except I guess to show how it affected him and others involved in the True Crime business.

The book ends on tips to be a citizen detective and I had a flashback to when at the end of G.I. Joe cartoons they always did a PSA to the kids watching and ended on Go Joe. It just didn't add much to the book for me and I really don't know about a bunch of untrained people running around trying to solve crimes. Jensen tries to show positive and negative outcomes to these detectives, but I was left baffled in the end. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This is sort of true crime & inspiration for change. There are connections to the Golden State Killer through his late friend Michelle McNamara, along with his own dive into reporting on and finally getting involved in solving crime stories. He ends with directives as to how we can make a difference in the outcomes of justice ion a good way. ( )
  EllenH | Nov 4, 2019 |
Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen is a 2019 Sourcebooks publication.

Gripping and personal journey into true crime reporting and crime solving-

The sheer number of cases that remain unsolved are mind numbing. We often focus on the crimes that make the big headlines, but for every one of those, there are numerous others that never make a blip on the public’s consciousness. Some cases go viral, such as the one where an innocent man is knocked unconscious, then hit by a car, then robbed while he lay in the street. Although the crime was recorded, finding the man who assaulted the victim took a long time, with many dead-end leads, and required much tenacity, patience, and a very sharp eye.

For Billy Jensen helping to solve the lesser known cold cases has become his life’s work. He is still a writer and journalist, but what he writes about is unsolved crimes. He became friends with fellow cold case/true crime advocate, Michelle McNamara, and he helped to complete her book after her untimely death.

In this book, Jensen explains how he became a crime reporter, his personal background, and even exposes his single-minded fixation on solving crimes, helping law enforcement, and bringing some closure to the victim's families, who at this point, just want to know the truth.

His heady exhilaration at having helped law enforcement close the books on a case is what keeps him from losing faith when so many cases hit a brick wall.

One thing that we can all agree on is that despite all the perils of social media, without it, and the advances in DNA and forensics, murderers and rapists like the Golden State Killer, might never have been caught. Jensen outlines the way he uses social media and the internet, in general, to help solve crimes.

It’s a fascinating story, and you have to hand it to the guy. He’s like a dog with a bone when he gets started on a story or case and he doesn’t turn loose of it, even when it looks as if he’s just chasing his own tale. This dedication might also be described as an obsession, though.

One issue I had with the book, and it is the same issue I had with McNamara’, is the layout and organization of the book. The flow is uneven, as Jensen seems unsure of when to insert something poignant or personal, which came off as feeling a little too forced and awkward. The timing is a bit off in that area, but I did enjoy some of the nostalgia from the seventies he spoke of. Adding personal antidotes was something that worked for McNamara, but not so much here, I think.

The other issue I have with the book is with the last portion, which is a DIY tutorial on amateur sleuthing and crime solving.

Because it goes without saying that law enforcement agencies nationwide are overwhelmed, it may have gotten to the point where it now takes a village to help solve crimes. It never hurts to be informed, prepared, aware, and alert. I do not have a problem with people logging onto to social media to study crime, cold cases, or missing persons profiles. Sometimes a citizen’s hyper-awareness could help save a life.

In many ways, I greatly admire Jensen and what he does. Without him, some crimes, and murders would mostly likely have remained unsolved.

That said-

While I read a great deal of true crime, and do follow certain specific cases, I keep my concerns and interest in the proper perspective.

Too many people interfering in official police investigations could backfire spectacularly. While Jensen found the internet and social media to be a huge asset, we all know by now that it is also packed with erroneous and harmful information, which could hinder, instead of help, solve a crime. It could also be very dangerous, opening oneself up to scams or cons or even physical harm. It could lead to false accusations as well, and we know that even a hint of such a thing can ruin a life in an instant.

So, I’m thinking this is a bit of a slippery slope and I’m not entirely comfortable with Jensen encouraging the general public to follow his chosen path. Putting oneself out there, interviewing victim’s families and the heart wrenching, day to day, drudge of following a lead that turned out to be nothing, is an emotional drain that can be mentally draining, and quite damaging… just take a look at the toll it took on Michelle McNamara.

I’m not saying Jensen glorified his work or sugarcoated anything, as the cases he examines are truly horrifying and one gets a glimpse at the cost the author pays, and the sacrifices his family must endure for him to be successful at what he does.

In my humble opinion, climbing into that dark, murky world, and becoming- shall we say- devoted- to the exclusion of all else in life can’t be all that healthy.

Still, I did find this book to be very interesting, and absorbing, overall, sans the DYI bits. Although I don’t necessarily recommend we all jump into the boat along with him, I’m glad Jensen has had success as a reporter, author, and amateur sleuth and hope that as he continues his work, he will at long last solve some of the cases that continue to haunt him.

3.5 stars ( )
  gpangel | Oct 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

***With an exclusive behind-the-scenes conversation between Billy Jensen and retired detective Paul Holes on the Golden State Killer, their favorite cold cases, and more*** 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 familiesof 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 HalloweenMask 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. Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Meis an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true-crime narrative unlike any you've read before.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.82)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5 2
3 9
3.5 1
4 14
4.5 1
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,782,071 books! | Top bar: Always visible