Houston Matters

Patton Oswalt Discusses His Late Wife’s Obsessive Hunt For A Serial Killer

The comedian discusses Michelle McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.

Patton Oswalt - I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Patton Oswalt visited Houston to promote his late wife’s true crime book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/327230/327159" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

It’s fair to say Michelle McNamara, the late wife of comedian Patton Oswalt, was obsessed with finding the man she ultimately dubbed the Golden State Killer.

She wrote articles about it, investigated it, and started to write a book about it. But she died before she could finish it.

That’s where Oswalt stepped in, simply — as he emphasizes — by summoning help in the form of a journalist and McNamara's research partner, who helped get the book finished.

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara
Patton Oswalt and his late wife Michelle McNamara in 2012.

I'll Be Gone In The Dark BookOswalt says he’s an okay writer, but that he wasn’t on McNamara’s level. He never entertained the idea of finishing the book himself.

“I always describe it as — you could tell when Clapton stopped playing and the guy with the ukulele just started playing Hot Cross Buns,” he said.

The book, I'll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, came out in February 2018.

Just a two months later, DNA evidence led to the arrest of a Sacramento man in connection with many of the crimes. Now, a revised paperback edition has been released with updated information about Joseph James DeAngelo, who has been charged with 26 counts of murder and kidnapping.

Oswalt was in Houston this week to promote the release with a Brazos Bookstore event in front of a packed house at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church.

He spoke onstage with Michael Hagerty, the Houston Matters unofficial true crime correspondent, and shared some examples of his late wife's obsession. In the audio above, you can hear highlights of the conversation.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required


Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

More Information