Wednesday’s news cycle very quickly became occupied with the arrest of a potential suspect in the so-called “Golden State Killer” case, which the late true crime writer Michelle McNamara had investigated for her posthumous book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The FBI and officials at an afternoon press conference later confirmed that a suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, had indeed been arrested. However, the influence of McNamara’s book was downplayed by the authorities, prompting a response from McNamara’s husband, the comedian Patton Oswalt, who was nonetheless thankful that her work was finally paying off.
Oswalt provided further context for his thoughts during Wednesday’s episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, on which he was supposed to promote his show A.P. Bio. Meyers, however, decided to give the comic the space to talk some more about the Golden State Killer story. “Her book and the article that led to the book really amped up all the interest in the case and really put a lot of focus on this,” said Oswalt. “Not to discredit the work that the police and the lab technicians did.”
Then, in a rather moving moment, Meyers echoed the sentiment shared by many on Twitter throughout the day that McNamara’s writing was just as good as her research. He was especially drawn to part of the book’s afterword, “Letter to an Old Man,” which he asked Oswalt to read for the Late Night audience:
One day soon, you’ll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You’ll hear footsteps coming up your front walk. Like they did for Edward Wayne Edwards, twenty-nine years after he killed Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Like they did for Kenneth Lee Hicks, thirty years after he killed Lori Billingsley, in Aloha, Oregon.
The doorbell rings.
No side gates are left open. You’re long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell.
This is how it ends for you.
“This is the beginning of this whole other chapter in this saga,” Oswalt concluded before he and Meyers moved on to other things. “I’m on adrenaline and sleeplessness right now.”