Long before the book came out, I couldn't wait to read Barbara Rae-Venter's story of how she cracked the Golden State Killer case. Once it was finally released almost seven weeks ago, true to form, despite the desire to get my hands on the book, I couldn't carve out the time to read the thing. Now is finally my chance to learn the story from her point of view.
While Barbara Rae-Venter is certainly not the only genetic genealogist to resurrect cold cases with a hot new technology, hers was a technique deservedly gaining the spotlight as one of the first of its kind. Even her book's title, I Know Who You Are, introduces a bone-chilling aspect to the thought that what could never before have been deduced can now be laid out so clearly, thanks to the application of science. That science has forever swept away such secrets as those never before dreamed to be discovered.
While the book centers on the story of how she unmasked the anonymous so-called Golden State Killer, it also contains accounts of her involvement in solving other forensic puzzles through the use of DNA in genetic genealogy. I have heard her present on one of those other cases, a truly compelling story, and look forward to this recounting of her role in the Golden State Killer case.
Although the book's subtitle—"How an amateur DNA sleuth unmasked the Golden State Killer and changed crime fighting forever"—makes Rae-Venter's efforts seem no different than the routines any of us would practice while determining the place of our DNA cousins in our family tree, the author came at this challenge with ample qualifications. A retired patent attorney, Barbara Rae-Venter possesses a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego and a J.D. from University of Texas at Austin.
For her efforts, Barbara Rae-Venter has received well-deserved recognition, including a place on the 2019 Time 100 list of most influential people, and made the "Ten People Who Matter" list in 2018 for the science journal Nature. With this year's release of I Know Who You Are, she has the chance to put the story in her own words.