The 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short led to an exhaustive and fruitless manhunt in Southern California, and the Black Dahlia case still stands as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history. Retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel, however, has uncovered evidence that may reveal the mysterious killer's identity: his father George.
Kevin Pierce gives a striking edge to Black Dahlia Avenger, evoking the no-nonsense style of classic LA noirs like Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. But Hodel's work is all too real, even as the gory and byzantine details of this riveting case seem like a Hollywood tall tale.
For 56 years, the Black Dahlia murder case remained one of the most notorious and high-profile unsolved crimes of the 20th century. Now, Steve Hodel, a 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, believes he has finally solved the case. On January 15, 1947, 22-year-old Elizabeth Short - "The Black Dahlia" - was found dead in a vacant lot in Los Angeles, her body horribly mutilated, bisected at the waist, and posed in a bizarre manner. The horrific crime shocked the country and commanded headlines for months as the killer taunted the police with notes and phone calls. Despite the massive manhunt, the murderer was never found.
Hodel began working on the case after he retired from the LAPD when he chanced upon an intriguing piece of evidence that led him on a trail that he had no choice but to follow - since it pertained directly to him. As he dug deeper, he came to believe that the killer was also responsible for over a dozen other unsolved murders in the Los Angeles area around the same time. He also found copious evidence of corruption at the LAPD, leading him to accuse the department top brass of covering up the Black Dahlia murder in order to conceal a deeper conspiracy involving crooked politicians and gangsters.
Despite a lack of physical evidence (which had been destroyed), Hodel is able to connect numerous dots and make a plausible case, complete with lurid tales of wild orgies that were attended by celebrities such as the artist Man Ray, the director John Huston, and a host of other Hollywood elites. He also discloses his killer’s obsession with the Marquis de Sade and Jack the Ripper and how he modeled his own crimes on their behavior. In particular, there is a disturbing connection between the work of Man Ray and the horrific circumstances of Short’s murder. It is doubtful that this will be the final word on the Black Dahlia murder - too much myth surrounds it and much of his evidence is circumstantial - but Hodel’s labyrinthine tale adds much to this intriguing case.
©2003, 2011 Steve Hodel (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
One can only hope that Hodel did a better job as a murder investigator when he worked for the LAPD than he is doing in his retirement. The entire basis on his case comes down to his interpretation of photographs and hand writing analysis of scanned documents--all of which could have been told in half the time, and none of which works as an audiobook without visuals.
His connections are tenuous at best and in some cases, outright ridiculous. His comparison of the crime as his father's homage to Man Ray's Minotaur lacks any reference to what is probably the most notable feature of the work--the absence of the model's head. Would someone who had gone through all the effort to recreate the effect of the photograph (in what Hodel claims to be in intimate detail) and who had already brutally bisected and mutilated a body, then hesitate to decapitate the victim to achieve the full effect?
In addition to the frustrating and gaping holes in the story overall, the first half of the narration is done in such a deadpan and awkward cadence that the listener is often more focused on the reading than on what is being read.
Save your time. After 18 hours invested, I don't feel like I know anything more of any substance in relation to this crime.
The author/detective interjected too much of his own opinion and conclusions, which he tries to back up with weakly linked evidence.
The only actual evidence presented is the writing analysis, which is suspect.
I really was excited to listen to this initially. The author is a reputable detective with an impressive record...how and why he ever came to these conclusions and assumptions are simply baffling.
The story, there are times when it seems to drag on and I found myself wondering why he was telling us this but in the end it all ties together.
I did shed a tear for Elizabeth when he talks about what her killers put her through
I believe Steve Hodel, with all the evidence presented I think his dad did kill her
The first part yes, the rest is just repetitious. Couldn't finish.
Not if its like this one.
He's just easy to listen to. Not the best, but not too bad.
Asked and answered.
This is a very interesting case it just could have been told in half the time.
Evidence for any of his statements. This is a classic example of a cop who picks a favorite suspect and twists everything to fit his idea. This is literally thought police. And I'm sorry but that isn't enough for me.
Good performance with bad material.
Disappointment. This man knows his father was evil and without any hard evidence he can't prove it, so he'll tell anyone who will listen that his father is responsible for every notable crime of the last 70+ years. Yes, you read the correctly.
PLEASE SAVE YOU'RE MONEY. DON'T PICK THIS BOOK.
If the author's facts are verifiable and unimpeachable ... case closed. This book stopped me in my tracks. Out of all of the other suspects and theories put forward by different authors and detectives in the past years about who may have killed the Black Dahlia, Steve Hodel's suspect rings the most true. I shudder to think...
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