How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders
Whether you’re a private investigator, a citizen detective, or a true crime enthusiast, it is important to learn about your craft. Audiobooks are a great way to make use of “downtime” and learn more about investigations. The following is an overview of a book that I recommend for detectives, Chase Darkness With Me.
About the Audiobook
The Audible Original audiobook, Chase Darkness With Me, by Billy Jensen is a story about a journalist who began solving murders. Billy spent more than 15 years as an investigative journalist, writing about unsolved murders for various newspapers. He would follow crime cases, gather details, talk to witnesses, and tell the story to the public. Along the way, began to focus more and more on using his skills to help the victim’s family achieve some form of justice. After the death of a close friend, Michael McNamara, Billy came up with a plan to begin solving murders himself.
Billy, who does an excellent job of narrating the book, shares the chilling details of his most challenging cases. For example, he investigates the only murder, outside of the terrorist attack, that happened in New York City on 9/11/2001. Also, he finds a girl who went missing in the California forest. In addition, he succeeds in identifying the Halloween Mask Murderer. As you listen to this book, you’ll feel the empathy for the victims that Billy writes about. That empathy drives him to stick with the investigation long after the police give up on the case.
Billy Helps Finish a Friend’s Book
In Chase Darkness With Me, Billy chronicles the story of how he helped finish Michelle McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a story about the Golden State Killer (GSK), also known as the Original Night Stalker (ONS) and East Area Rapist (EARS). After her untimely death, he connects with Paul Haines, a research expert who was helping Michelle mine through mountains of data. Haines was highly skilled at a technique called geographic profiling (aka geo-profiling). Michelle believed this was one of the techniques that would eventually lead to catching the GSK. Geo-profiling is a technique used by law enforcement to map out potentially connected crimes. The purpose is to try to determine where the assailant might live, work, or spend a lot of time.
Working with Paul and Michelle’s husband Patton, Billy was able to get a copy of her hard drive with more than 4,000 files. Also, he got access to the “mother load”, which consists of 35 bankers boxes full of case information from the Orange County Sheriff’s department.
In this section, the author touches briefly on the use of familial DNA searches. By entering DNA from a crime scene into a public database of DNA samples, you could find a relative that could lead you to the person you’re searching for. If you have enough DNA, you can link it to immediate family, aunts, uncles, and many cousins down the line.
Why is Chase Darkness With Me good for private investigators?
Through his storytelling, Jensen reveals a number of ideas and techniques that private investigators should pay attention to. He describes how to use social media to conduct highly targeted searches for local killers. For example, Billy targets Facebook and Twitter posts to people who live in the area of the crime scene. He asks for the public’s help and for any witnesses. Then, he follows up on responses and tracks down leads. In some cases, this leads him to an eye witness, someone who “knows somebody”, and even to the killer.
Importantly, his experience as an investigative reporter demonstrates the patience and tenacity that investigators must have to solve a crime. Sometimes, it may take decades to solve a crime. Still, the effort is worthwhile to bring a killer to justice.
Buy It Now at Amazon
Chase Darkness With Me is available as a paperback book, hardcover book, Kindle edition, audio CD, and audiobook through Amazon.com and Audible.com.
Personally, I recommend the audiobook format. I love books narrated by a book’s author. Also, this format is perfect for investigators who are “on the go”. You can listen to it as you conduct surveillance, or wait for the courthouse to open.
Following are some of the technical details of the audio version:
- Written by: Billy Jensen, with a foreword by Karen Kilgariff
- Narrators: Billy Jensen, Karen Kilgariff
- Length: 8 hours and 19 minutes
- Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 6,000 listeners
If you have any questions about Chase Darkness With Me, please leave a comment below.