Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen
Release Date - August 13, 2019
Publisher Website - Sourcebooks / Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is 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.
This is a story of a true crime journalist who went from reporting on unsolved cases to helping solve them. Anyone who has a interest in true crime has probably heard the name Billy Jensen before. Maybe it is from his work helping to finish the brilliant Michelle McNamara's book on the Golden State Killer, or perhaps you are a Muderino and know of him thanks to Karen and Georgia, or perhaps you are familiar with his work on Crime Watch Daily.  The point is that he, obviously, has a lot of experience. It is this experience combined with his passion that makes Chase Darkness With Me so compelling.

The first thing that grabbed me about this book was the voice. There is a fair amount of humour mixed in and I feel like the reader really gets a sense for who Billy is. If you listen to his podcast, The Murder Squad, you'll immediately notice that Billy writes like he talks. This is someone confident in his voice as a writer and that makes for a strong read.

There is also an empathy that steeps out of the pages of this book. Billy is a man who cares deeply about the victims and the loved ones trying to get answers. You get the impression that some of these cases haunt him because of how much he cares. Any voyeristic or sensational tendencies that true crime tends to lean to are stripped away.

Billy takes the reader through various cases he has worked on and the different methods he used to try to solve them. Most fascinating is the way that Billy uses targeted ads to help solve cases. The same algorithms and technology that helps companies target potential customers is also being used to get particular details about a crime in front of the right people.

It's a must read for anyone with an interest in the true crime genre and entirely different from most of the books you would have read. It's a fascinating, and engaging, look at the good one man tries to do and the cases he's helped solve in a way that shines a light on how we look at and discuss true crime. It highlights the work that still needs to be done and gives the reader to tools to safely, effectively, and most important, ethically help if they so wish.

Billy has said before that the villains in true crime are so often the focus because they are larger than life but we need to shine a light on the heroes. He's pointed to Paul Holes as one such hero. I suspect that Billy would be too modest to consider himself to be among the heroes but this book proves exactly that. Billy's passion, dedication, and drive to help not just solve unsolved cases, but to also be an advocate for victims everywhere makes him one in my opinion. Thank you, Billy for not only striving to make the world a little bit safer but for being a voice for the voiceless.

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