Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Review: Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel

Elizabeth Short AKA
The Black Dahlia
Hi all,

I read a lot of true crime/murder novels and I am especially fascinated by ones from past decades, like the Black Dahlia. I've heard of this crime for years, but never knew much about it, and hadn't gotten around to reading up on it. When a movie came on HBO one night about the Black Dahlia, I just had to watch it. Unbeknownst to me, it was a mixture of fiction with fact. So this led me to learn more about the true crime. Steve Hodel's book looked interesting. Since he was a retired LAPD Homicide Detective, and he felt he was connected by his past to this crime, I thought he might lay out an interesting view of this true crime. I was not disappointed. This book is both well-written (except for many typos) and shares as much information as you'd ever want to know about this murder as well as many similar murders from this time period. Below, you can read my five star review of Black Dahlia Avenger.

Before I get to the book description and review, I just want to explain a little about why true crime/murder stories intrigue me. I think that interest in murder is in my blood - or should I say genes! Back in the 50s & 60s, my great uncle worked as a forensic lab specialist for Los Angeles County - today he would be called a crime scene investigator (CSI). He worked at both the actual murder crime scenes and in the lab looking for clues to catch the killer. He testified in many high-profile L.A. murder cases and was well-respected among his peers. When I was about three years old, he took me and my brothers on a tour of his crime lab, fingerprinted us (I still have that sheet today), and took us through the drug room. He was an interesting and intelligent man, as well as a lovely person, and I think he passed down his interest in crime and murder to me. It's actually surprising that I don't write murder mysteries instead of romance novels, but I guess that's just how it goes. :-) Now, back to the Black Dahlia Avenger.  

Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder
Steve Hodel

Book Description:

In 1947, California's infamous Black Dahlia murder inspired the largest manhunt in Los Angeles history. Despite an unprecedented allocation of money and manpower, police investigators failed to identify the psychopath responsible for the sadistic murder and mutilation of beautiful twenty-two-year-old Elizabeth Short. Decades later, former LAPD homicide detective-turned-private investigator Steve Hodel launched his own investigation into the grisly unsolved crime -- and it led him to a shockingly unexpected perpetrator: Hodel's own father.

A spellbinding tour de force of true-crime writing, this newly revised edition includes never-before-published forensic evidence, photos, and previously unreleased documents, definitively closing the case that has often been called "the most notorious unsolved murder of the twentieth century."

Buy Black Dahlia Avenger on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback

My Five Star Review:

After his father passes away, retired LAPD Homicide Detective Steve Hodel finds two photos among his father's possessions that look oddly similar to the murdered woman Elizabeth Short known forever in history as the Black Dahlia. These photos lead Hodel on a search to find out how his father is connected to this woman and if he is, in fact, the person who murdered the Black Dahlia.

In reading other reviews of this book, I am surprised at how many people see no connection between Hodel's father and the murder. I think Hodel makes a compelling case and has interesting evidence that shows his father could have murdered the Black Dahlia as well as many other women who were found murdered in that time period. Hodel lays out the information in an interesting way and keeps the reader interested and intrigued. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the Black Dahlia murder whether or not you believe Hodel's father is the murderer. 

If you are a true crime buff like me, I'm sure you will enjoy this book.

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