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Publisher's Summary

After Jack the Ripper and before Son of Sam there was only one name their equal in terror: the deadly, elusive, and mysterious Zodiac. Beginning in 1968 the hooded mass murderer terrified the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area with a string of brutal killings. A sexual sadist, his pleasure was torture and murder. His first victims were a teenage couple, stalked and shot dead in a lover's lane. After another slaying, he sent his first mocking note to authorities, promising he would kill again. The official tally of his victims was six. The real toll may have reached 50. He was never caught. Graysmith, who was on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the murders, gives this gripping account of Zodiac's reign of terror.
©1976 Robert Graysmith (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Provocative....Bizarre....Graysmith's taut narrative brings the horror back with jolt upon jolt." (San Francisco Chronicle) "Will fascinate true-crime readers." (Library Journal)

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  • Z
  • 05-19-06


I hadn't really heard of Zodiac, perhaps it's not living in the US, or perhaps being younger than 30, but when I think of well-known serial killers this isn't a name I think of. So in that sense, the details in this book were all new to me.

I thought this book was well written and well-read. I liked how the chapters alternated between chapters about victims, chapters about zodiac, and chapters about law enforcement. It made it very easy to follow the progression of the story.

The book is well narrated and easy to listen to. Although this audio version is new, I think the actual book is relatively old, however this doesn't really matter, since I don't think there would have been any new developments since it was published.

I can't speak for the accuracy of facts in this book, since I wouldn't know, but it seems plausible enough.

Overall enjoyable if you have an interest in true-crime stories. I didn't find it particularly graphic (it's certainly not for kids) so you probably won't have nightmares for weeks after listening. The murder scenarios were described in some detail, but it wasn't gratuitous. But your mileage may vary.

41 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Ok factual account but needs an update.

I thought this book was an updated version of the Zodiac but it was written in 1986 and some of the suspects hadn't died yet.

Besides that it was a factual well written book by a former political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He made some interesting suppositions about the Zodiac perhaps knowing at least one of the victims and maybe more.

It meandered a bit and went from one suspect to another and by the end of the book I couldn't remember who was who and which one he felt was the best choice.

It didn't take me long to finish it and I was interested in getting to the end to see if there was an updated chapter added. No such luck.

Good narration.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenji
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 06-27-07

Great read

The movie pales in comparison to this wonderfully written book. While I've read that some of the material in this book have been debunked, it reads well, fast, and makes you a believer of some of the astonishing possibilities to the identity of Zodiac.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • kiwimec
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 08-04-07

Gripping... and scary

I downloaded this after seeing the new Zodiac film with Jake Gyllenhaal. Unbelievably dense in detail and very well narrated, this is a chilling tale. 5 stars.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Spine Chilling

The story of the Zodiac makes your skin prickle and you thank the Heavens that you are living in 2007. The narrator is the perfect voice for this story, he sounds like what someone like the Zodiac would be imagined to sound like. You will easily get sucked into the narration and almost belive the Zodiac himself is reading this story to you (and snickering all the way, enjoying how much he confounded the best minds in America for decades). Very worth your time and money to have this book in your audio library.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Elmer
  • 01-07-13

Perfect narration voice as well as content!

Would you consider the audio edition of Zodiac to be better than the print version?

In some ways yes since the voice is perfect for this type of opus.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Zodiac?

The amount of information compiled just from the Darlene Ferrin murder. Almost as if solving her murder would have revealed the identity of the killer.

Which scene was your favorite?

The recounting of the Ferrin- Mageux attacks.

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

Just about. Or least to listen to it again and again.

Any additional comments?

It's too bad Graysmith is the only individual to take an interest in the topic. And he wasn't even an author. He was a cartoonist!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Philippa
  • Powder Springs, GA, United States
  • 08-24-11

Great Representation of Facts

If you are looking for some graphical representation of some fictional string of killings, this book is not the right one. If you have been obsessed with the facts of this real serial killer's case and want to learn more about the crimes events and evidence, then this book is the right one.
This book walks the reader through the mountains and mountains of events, evidence and facts of the Zodiac's crimes. The author manages to depict the crimes as horrible as they were without exaggeration while introducing the different characters as if they lived in your neighborhood.
Although, the book explains some of the problems that have influenced the difficulty of solving this case, I do not understand how this case could still not be solved (considering all the newest advancements in forensics) but that is not the author's fault.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I was only about 8 years old when the Zodiac killer started playing havoc in California. Although very graphic, this book was very educational, well written, and interesting. Not one dull moment!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise
  • Wallingford, CT, United States
  • 06-03-07


I remember the Zodiac killings but was a bit young to remember exactly the details. This book was very informative and chilled my spine. The reader was GREAT for this type of book, some nights I found I could not sleep thinking someone might be still out there, the Zodiac or someone just like him.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Eunice
  • Harrodsburg, KY, United States
  • 04-21-08


Fact is way more fascinating than fiction! This book was a great listen. It was a well written narrative, and very well read. After listening, I rented the movie, but was sorely disappointed. The book is so much much more opportunity to get to know the victims, detectives, and suspects. Just great!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • 11-23-09

Detailed & thrilling

One of the great unsolved crimes of the 20th century examined in startling detail by robert graysmith and read with the appropriate gravity by Stefan Rudnicki. I was gripped from beginning to end and since the facts in such a labyrinthine case case can escape you after just one listen you'll find yourself returning to this audiobook again & again. The best true crime book i've ever read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 05-31-11


I found this a really hard book to read but it was great as an audiobook and very accessible. Full of mystery, intrigue and really terrifying that the man was never caught. Great download.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry Jellye
  • 12-23-12

Stars align

Zodiac was a classic who done it without the answer it kept me riveted through out and gave me my own insight into who from the list of suspects suited my profile of one of the worlds most elusive killers

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • ico
  • 01-01-12

A review of two halves

I was really torn after listening to this between 3 or 4 stars.

It sets it's tone out from the start as it opens with dramatic creepy music at would comfortably suit a hollywood horror film. With this i felt divided, part of me found it a creepy prelude of the things to come but part of me felt like it was sensationalising criminal acts for entertainment. Which in a way I guess it was.

I downloaded this after watching the great david fincher film, and yes i do appreciate i'm probably being a little hypocritical here as that film was mass market entertainment. The book is in depth, a little too much i thought, to the point of padding out the length though i wasn't convinved by the narrator as felt he hammed it up a bit personally.

All in all a good listen but a little on the light side though a good accompaniement to the zodiac film. Interesting but feels a little light on content.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • wdw
  • 11-06-17


I really enjoyed this audiobook. The story is really interesting and the narration brilliantly delivered by Stefan Rudnicki.

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  • finbarb
  • 05-14-17

Robotic narration

The narrator's voice was a little non descript and robotic at times. Lacking in nuance.

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  • Simon Zohhadi
  • 02-28-17

Zodiac - Unsolved

Interesting and perhaps the most famous book about the Zodiac killings. "Starr" is Arthur Leigh Allen. Many including the chief Detective on the case - Detective Dave Toschi - believe Allen was the Zodiac killer. It is clear that he is one of the strongest suspects but he is one of several which suggests that the evidence against any of the suspects is far from watertight. Moreover, nobody has ever been charged with the crimes. There is even one brief suggestion that the Zodiac Killer could have been a British engineer ! This book is one of several good books about one of the most fascinating unsolved series of murders in criminal history. The same author has written an up to date version of his account.

My rating: 4/5. See also my review of another book on the Zodiac killings (on the 'Goodreads' website.

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  • Penny Moore
  • 02-17-17

Nearly 50 years have passed....

...since the terrible unsolved murders in and around San Francisco. Still a haunting case after all this time. The Zodiac taunted police. Robert Graysmith became obsessed with the case and the result is this detailed account of the times and the crimes.

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  • Steph H
  • 12-20-16

Murder Overload

This is a really fascinating listen, I've seen the movie and have heard about this serial killer over the years but this is the first in depth book I've read/listened too. I think it would have been hard going as a book to read, it's not an easy listen, however it is kind of unputdownable.

Although the narrator isn't that easy to listen to straight away, I did find myself pleased that it was read by someone fairly unemotional, only a small amount of emphasis put in. It's not monotonous, but is quite dry, just what you need for this kind of book.

I still find it incredible that there was never anyone found conclusively to be the Zodiac although there are plenty of suspects. A great insight into the investigation of a killer who comes across in such a bizarre way.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-16

loved it.

Have read a lot of serial killer books. This being the best so far. Well worth a read/listen.

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  • Matt
  • 12-22-15


This is an exceptionally bizarre story told through a unique viewpoint. Rather exceptionally, the author segmented the story into chapters in which the story focuses on an individual person. This story has really irked me, mostly as it remains unsolved. Baffling - though I believe that they found a very likely suspect in the end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful