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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)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • south shields, tyne & wear, United Kingdom
  • 23-11-09

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Crook, United Kingdom
  • 31-05-11

Terrifying!

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
    5 out of 5 stars

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
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • JT
  • 18-12-14

Excellent if you prefer a lot of fiction mixed in

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, I have actually listened to this book many times, over the years since 2007.

Has Zodiac put you off other books in this genre?

Not at all.

What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Excellent performance, no issues. His voice is commanding, clear and very easy to listen to.

Was Zodiac worth the listening time?

Yes because it got me properly interested in the case many years ago.

Any additional comments?

It must be stated that this book is almost a work of fiction. Don't get me wrong, a lot of work went into it by Graysmith, and it is compelling at times, but unfortunately there are many things in it, that he just makes up and are not in any way actual case facts, far too many to list here. Just be aware of this and don't go into it thinking this is the Zodiac killer case 101.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ico
  • West Sussex
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nice spooky music to kick off

And spooky music at the end. Story is good but forever frustrating because we are no closer to the truth by the end.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book, well worth a listen!

The zodiac has always interested me, and the way the case was handled by SFPD goes to show how far policing and technology has come since the 60's and 70's.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Robotic narration

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.





Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Z
  • 19-05-06

Interesting

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.

46 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kristi R.
  • 19-05-14

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Laphippa
  • 24-08-11

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kenji
  • 27-06-07

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
    4 out of 5 stars
  • kiwimec
  • 04-08-07

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Insectlady
  • 17-04-07

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.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David S. Mathew
  • 14-07-17

True Crime Classic

The Zodiac Killer is the spiritual successor to Jack the Ripper. Graysmith's history of Zodiac acknowledges the comparison, as he dives deep into the history of one of America's most notorious, uncaught, serial killers. Graysmith badly needed an editor as some parts of this a bit too detail heavy. However, considering that Greysmith himself starts to mentally unravel during his research, that potential flaw actually makes the book feel even more tense and paranoid. This is trip down a dark rabbit hole, unlike anything I have ever read.

As for the narration, Stefan Rudnicki is one of my favorites. His voice just drips with menace and foreboding, making him ideal for this sort of book. Highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elmer
  • 07-01-13

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Crusader
  • 28-06-09

Mesmerizing!

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • 03-06-07

Interesting........

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