Chase Darkness with Me (Billy Jensen) – book review

“Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?”

Where have we heard of this writer?  For this reviewer, it is due to the riveting new true crime podcast, The Murder Squad, which Jensen co-hosts with former police detective, Paul Holes.  The two hosts pair up extremely well and with the current plethora of true crime podcasts out there, it seems like the grownups have finally entered the room.  (If you don’t already subscribe, you should definitely have a listen).

Otherwise you may know Billy Jensen as the writer who helped finish the true crime work, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, written by crime author Michelle McNamara about the monster she coined as the Golden State Killer – also known as the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker.  (McNamara sadly passed away before she was able to complete her book, and also before the 2018 arrest that made worldwide headlines).

Billy Jensen is a fifteen year crime journalist who took his reporting a step further, becoming actively involved in murder investigations that had run out of forward momentum.  Frustrated with the process and the lack of resources and time afforded to the tasked police officers, Jensen began to continue on when the police were no longer willing or able to do so.  Over time this has resulted in Jensen being contacted directly by families seeking assistance in numerous cases involving their missing and murdered loves ones.

Jensen writes as he speaks; intelligently and with great respect for the victims, their loved ones, and the investigating police officers.  The networks Jensen has built up over the years are impressive and without grandstanding, you are made aware that none of that came about without the serious investment of time and effort, placed around all the other things Jensen had going on in his life such as making a living and raising a family.

Chase Darkness with Me is an incredibly informative read for anyone who feels that there must be something more that they can do. This is the age of web sleuths (or armchair detectives, if you prefer) and the community of people willing and able to assist the professionals is vast with all now only a click away from being in contact with each other.  The crowd sourcing tools (social media, online forums, podcasts etc) to help solve crimes are out there, and they are evolving all the time.

Chase Darkness with Me is a homage to all those who were taken too early, those who remain, and to those who never give up.

Chase Darkness with Me is published by Source Books.

Andy Thompson
For more of Andy Thompson’s book reviews, check out AustCrimeFiction

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