Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fascinating New Book May Shed New Light on Serial Murderers

A few years ago I picked up and read an amazing book.  Titled, Black Dahlia Avenger, it was the story of a retired Los Angeles homicide cop and his work on the biggest cold case in LA.  In the 1940’s a string of murders which were at that time linked by law enforcement to a single killer began with the murder of Elizabeth Short.  Her murder was shocking in many ways, but the biggest surprise of the book was not concerning the victim or even the crime itself, but rather, it was with the solution and unveiling of the murderer as Dr. George Hodel.  Why was that surprising?  Well, in part because he had not been a public suspect before the book was published, but more than that, because he was the father of Steve Hodel, the retired detective himself. 

This wasn’t just another book, and it didn’t just claim to have solved the Black Dahlia murder, as Ms. Short’s killing came to be known.  Hodel was able to uncover new evidence, and ultimately convince the head deputy DA for LA County so completely  that he issued a letter outlining why he would not hesitate to bring charges against Dr. Hodel if he were still alive. 

Steve Hodel apparently gave a lot of thought to a troubling feeling he had after finishing that first book.  He knew, as a detective, how unlikely it was that his father would have committed just these murders and then stopped killing forever, or that these were his first murders (coming 15-20 years after the phase at which most serial killers begin to kill).  That feeling led him to investigate the places and times his father lived elsewhere and what he uncovered is the basis for this follow-up book, titled Most Evil.  Links to both books and to Steve’s website are below.  I recommend both books wholeheartedly if you have an interest in true crime.  They are both amazing stories, and I admit I am convinced that Dr. Hodel was in fact the Black Dahlia killer. 


Most Evil

Black Dahlia Avenger

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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