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.
Cat lover heavy metal lady. Bolton, UK.
Not sure about Steve Hodel but definitely not Kevin Pierce!
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.
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.
I think it has been already.
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.
Frequently listen to it. Because it is a great true crime book. Well researched and well read.
The other books in it's collection. Most Evil 1 & 2 and the direct follow up to this book.
Kevin Pierce is always great.
It's not that sort of book.
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.
Very interesting book with compelling evidence.
Not sure as it is so unique.
Dreadful, disjointed reading and mispronouncing words.
I would but not with the dreadful narration.
"Too long, tedious and repetitive!"
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.
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
"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.
"Wow that's 20 hours I will never get back"
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.
"Fantasy simply put..."
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...
poor, mechanical narration. I couldn't even manage fifteen minutes of the book before removing it from my device. Rifle should not sound like Ruffle.
I enjoyed the book. I appreciate the time and effort of the research used to present the evidence. I look foward to the sequel.
"Pornography without substance- first 9 hours only"
To be completely fair, I only made it nine hours into the twenty hour story before quitting, but this story could definitely use actual evidence, or at least evidence given earlier in the story and with more substance than 'the body was posed like a famous Man Ray photo and George Hill Hodel worshipped Man Ray, so this is 'inescapable evidence' that George Hill Hodel committed the murder'.
The first half of the book is essentially a character assassination. Steve Hodel does do a fantastic job explaining what a sick bastard his father was, but a sick bastard does not mean G. Hodel was in fact the Black Dahlia Avenger. The incest trial, the forcing young Steve to smoke an entire cigar, G. Hodel's relationship history, the sex parties, sharing women with Fred Sexton is all very interesting, but after nine hours of that with VERY little evidence connecting him back to Elizabeth Short, I feel as though I've listened to a son only airing out his grievances about the man,
Kevin Pierce always gives a fantastic performance, but this was not one of his best. I found it halting and a little unsure, as though he were reading the book for the first time or simply had a tough time getting through it.
MUCH of the beginning. Or at least tie in G. Hodel's many issues with some evidence, so it doesn't feel like I'm listening to nothing but sex scandals when it's supposed to be a book about the murder of Elizabeth Short.
It's a shame I couldn't get through this, because based on the aftermath of the novel, a lot of people took this theory very seriously and found it solid, which leads me to assume that there must have been something worth hearing in the second half. But if I were a juror, just based on what I've listened to so far, I would have acquitted G. Hodel because it feels as though the 'prosecutor' is using emotional arguments in place of evidence.
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.
I admire the author's courage to come forward with his findings.
I felt like I was being officially briefed on the case.
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.
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.
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