EDGAR AWARD FINALIST • “A true-crime masterpiece written by a cold-case-cracking master.” - John Douglas, New York Times bestselling co-author of Mindhunter
Barbara Rae-Venter isn’t just the genealogy expert who helped capture the Golden State Killer - she’s an unsung hero who has given murdered women and children their faces and names back. - Maureen Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of American Predator
Echoes the dedication displayed by such fictional police detectives as California novelist Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. - The Wall Street Journal
For twelve years the Golden State Killer terrorized California, stalking victims and killing without remorse. Then he simply disappeared, for the next forty-four years, until an amateur DNA sleuth opened her laptop. In I Know Who You Are, Barbara Rae-Venter reveals how she went from researching her family history as a retiree to hunting for a notorious serial killer - and how she became the nation’s leading authority on investigative genetic genealogy, the most dazzling new crime-fighting weapon to appear in decades.
Rae-Venter shares haunting, often thrilling accounts of how she helped solve some of America’s most chilling cold cases in the span of just three years, frequently starting with little more than a DNA sample. She brings readers inside her unique “grasshopper mind” as she pores through obituaries, marriage records, and old newspaper articles. Readers join in on urgent calls with sheriﬀs, FBI agents, and district attorneys as she details the struggle to obtain usable crime scene DNA samples, until, ﬁnally, a critical piece of the puzzle clicks into place.
I Know Who You Are captures both the exhilaration of these discoveries and the deep-rooted emotions that linger around cold cases. It is a story of relentless curiosity and reinvention, and of human beings striving to answer the most elemental questions about themselves: What deﬁnes identity? Where do we belong? And are we truly who we think we are?