Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story

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9780061139611: Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story

In 1947, California's infamous Black Dahlia murder inspired the largest manhunt in Los Angeles history. Despite an unprecedented allocation of money and manpower, police investigators failed to identify the psychopath responsible for the sadistic murder and mutilation of beautiful twenty-two-year-old Elizabeth Short. Decades later, former LAPD homicide detective-turned-private investigator Steve Hodel launched his own investigation into the grisly unsolved crime -- and it led him to a shockingly unexpected perpetrator: Hodel's own father.

A spellbinding tour de force of true-crime writing, this newly revised edition includes never-before-published forensic evidence, photos, and previously unreleased documents, definitively closing the case that has often been called "the most notorious unsolved murder of the twentieth century."

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Review:

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 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. --Shawn Carkonen

From the Author:

This HarperCollins edition [July, 2006] of Black Dahlia Avenger contains two updated chapters which were added by me after the original hardback publication in 2003. It contains a lot of important new investigative linkage. The most important being the discovery of hidden DA Files which independently confirm my findings and identification of the actual suspect.

My investigation is ongoing and I anticipate the publication of Black Dahlia Avenger II, in January, 2012. That will be the sequel to this book and will contain my ongoing seven-year follow-up investigation and a massive amount of new linkage including the presentation of "hard physical evidence" connecting my suspect to a private residence and the actual vacant lot where he posed the surgically bisected body of Elizabeth "Black Dahlia" Short. Stay tuned, lot more to come.

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