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Black Dahlia Avenger Audiobook
Black Dahlia Avenger
Written by: 
Steve Hodel
Narrated by: 
Kevin Pierce
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Black Dahlia Avenger Audiobook

Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story

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Audible Editor Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (65 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (14)
3 star
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Overall
4.0 (61 )
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (61 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 01-18-15
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 01-18-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    128
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    159
    156
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too long, tedious and repetitive!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The first part yes, the rest is just repetitious. Couldn't finish.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Steve Hodel? Why or why not?

    Not if its like this one.


    What about Kevin Pierce’s performance did you like?

    He's just easy to listen to. Not the best, but not too bad.


    Was Black Dahlia Avenger worth the listening time?

    Asked and answered.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very interesting case it just could have been told in half the time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica 05-05-13
    Jessica 05-05-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    11
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Believer"
    What made the experience of listening to Black Dahlia Avenger the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The story


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did shed a tear for Elizabeth when he talks about what her killers put her through


    Any additional comments?

    I believe Steve Hodel, with all the evidence presented I think his dad did kill her

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Ciotti YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, US 05-27-14
    James Ciotti YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, US 05-27-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    2
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    0
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    Performance
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    "Wow that's 20 hours I will never get back"
    What would have made Black Dahlia Avenger better?

    The author/detective interjected too much of his own opinion and conclusions, which he tries to back up with weakly linked evidence.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Black Dahlia Avenger?

    The only actual evidence presented is the writing analysis, which is suspect.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean Dal Ponte 07-08-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    10
    1
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    "Doesn't work as an audiobook."

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Swinford United States 02-03-14
    K. Swinford United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2014

    Kissander

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Fantasy simply put..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steve Hodel again?

    No.


    What three words best describe Kevin Pierce’s performance?

    Good performance with bad material.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    PLEASE SAVE YOU'RE MONEY. DON'T PICK THIS BOOK.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristina 10-13-13
    Kristina 10-13-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    0
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    "Compelling argument"
    Any additional comments?

    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...

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikki 11-21-15
    Nikki 11-21-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
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    12
    1
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    "Compelling Listen!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Dahlia Avenger to be better than the print version?

    This made me want to go out and purchase the print version. The photos and diagrams are adequately described, but it would be nice to check them out firsthand.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I admire the author's courage to come forward with his findings.


    What does Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I felt like I was being officially briefed on the case.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book reaffirmed my belief that the world has its own mechanisms to balance things out. (The son seeking justice for the sins of his father)
    There is true evil in this world. It hurt me immensely to hear what happened to these women. Being a woman in this world is a scary thing. It shouldn't be, but it is.


    Any additional comments?

    I feel that the various low reviews for this book are from "armchair detectives" who are upset that their pet theories aren't in the spotlight. This is a solid book. Steve Hodel spent years piecing this together. One or two coincidences could obviously be written off, but this book spins a complex tapestry of them. Considering how old this case is and how most of the physical evidence has since "disappeared", I feel like this is the closest we are going to get to a definitive answer as to who killed Elizabeth Short.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Metaltoe
    5/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Convincing but boring to listen to."
    Would you try another book written by Steve Hodel or narrated by Kevin Pierce?

    Not sure about Steve Hodel but definitely not Kevin Pierce!


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Edited a lot of it to make it more succinct. There was way too much boring detail about family members etc. I agree that it was all fairly convincing and I feel 85% sure that Hodel's father was the killer. He probably wanted to put every detail in to convince the reader. But the result was just boring except for certain parts. And I would DEFINITELY change the narrator. His reading was way too slow and ponderous and he paused in the wrong places in sentences a lot, which I found annoying.


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator! He was AWFUL! I fell asleep almost every time I listened to it and had to keep running it back. I put it onto 1.25 speed and that was a bit better.


    Could you see Black Dahlia Avenger being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    I think it has been already.


    Any additional comments?

    As I said, the evidence is actually convincing enough (if you can stick with it) and I feel sorry for Steve Hodel who was born into such a weird and horrible family. But a boring listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • JT
    UK
    6/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely compelling."
    Would you listen to Black Dahlia Avenger again? Why?

    Frequently listen to it. Because it is a great true crime book. Well researched and well read.


    What other book might you compare Black Dahlia Avenger to, and why?

    The other books in it's collection. Most Evil 1 & 2 and the direct follow up to this book.


    What about Kevin Pierce’s performance did you like?

    Kevin Pierce is always great.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It's not that sort of book.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a fantastic and compelling account of rather infamous murders in LA in the 1940's and 1950's. Extremely well researched and presented. Very recommended if you are into that glitzy time period in LA and true crime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Laura Simpson
    5/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's like listening to Siri reading a book"
    What did you like most about Black Dahlia Avenger?

    Very interesting book with compelling evidence.


    What other book might you compare Black Dahlia Avenger to, and why?

    Not sure as it is so unique.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Dreadful, disjointed reading and mispronouncing words.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would but not with the dreadful narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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