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Most Evil II is Steve Hodel's follow-up investigation (2009-2015) into his father's potential murders and introduces new evidence and additional linkage obtained by him over the past six years.
Included in that evidence, is the solving of the Zodiac’s forty-five year cryptic cipher, which gives us the answer to the question asked in Most Evil, Were Black Dahlia Avenger and Zodiac the same serial killer?”
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Open Letter to my Readers
September 15, 2015
Dear Friends and Readers:
Today I present the latest evidence of what has now become a sixteen-year investigation into the life and crimes of my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel.
Most Evil II is my fourth book. Four books, but one investigation and one suspect.
To date, I have examined and linked my father to twenty-five separate serial crimes spanning twenty-six years (1943-1969.)
As the LADA secret police files and the hard evidence and forensics continued to build over the years, most have become convinced, "beyond a reasonable doubt." Most recognize what law enforcement knew back then--that George Hodel was in truth the "Black Dahlia Avenger." That he was LA's 1940s "Lone Woman Murderer," and had sadistically slain a dozen women and taunted the police with his "catch me if you can" crime scene notes and mailings.
With the discovery of the LADA secret Hodel Black Dahlia Files, I was led into, darker deeper waters. As I continued to examine those original 1940s secret police files, I discovered that not only did they confirm, that Elizabeth Short, the "Black Dahlia," had known and been a girlfriend of George Hodel, but, more. They revealed that in 1946 (while George Hodel was temporarily doctoring for the United Nations in China) Elizabeth had traveled to Chicago. Why? Official reports suggest her reason had been to obtain information on the recently headlined, "Lipstick Murders"; three horrific, sadistic killings that had been committed in Chicago in the months immediately prior to George Hodel leaving the country.
As I followed the evidence, it led me first to Chicago, then, out of the U.S. to Asia, to Manila, Philippines where a copy-cat Black Dahlia murder occurred in 1967. A surgical/torture murder where the young woman's body was posed in a vacant lot, just one mile from my father's then residence. Information discovered in that crime directed me back stateside and pointed me north to the San Francisco Bay Area and to an examination of the serial crimes committed by a suspect calling himself, "Zodiac."
All of that linkage was presented in Most Evil: The Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel.(Dutton, 2009)
While I believe I had made a "compelling case" that George Hodel could very well have committed the San Francisco crimes and reinvented himself from "Avenger" in the 1940s to "Zodiac" in the 1960s, I also knew, unlike the LA serial killings, I had not "made my case." The known evidence while compelling still remained--circumstantial.
Unlike my BDA investigation, I could not make the claim, "Case Solved. In my closing chapter of Most Evil, I made a plea for law enforcement to obtain a confirmed sample of Zodiac's DNA (still not done) and to make a comparison to my father's DNA. (I am now in possession of his full DNA profile.)
I ended MOST EVIL by informing my readers that, "The Investigation Continues."
Now, six years later, I present that follow-up Investigation to that book, along with a new claim.
Based on my new findings as revealed in Most Evil II, supported by the evidence, M.O., and crime signatures found in my previous three books, I offer the following:
Speaking as a veteran homicide detective with forty-six years experience, it is now my considered professional opinion that Dr. George Hill Hodel was, in fact, the San Francisco serial killer known as ZODIAC. Further, the solving of the known 1970 Zodiac cipher, as presented here for the first time, is George Hodel's signed admission and confession to having committed those crimes.
Throughout these many years, you, my readers, have always remained the triers of fact--my jury. I ask that you once again to resume that role and dispassionately review the new evidence and judge for yourself.
Most Respectfully Yours,
Los Angeles, California
September 15, 2015
PRAISE FOR STEVE HODEL
"From this distance, there is no doubt that George Hodel committed/performed theatrical murders in several cities over several decades. That a mad doctor's son grew up to be a detective and solved a master criminal's surrealist crimes--and it was his father--is mind-blowing. But, there it is. My deepest and sincerest respect for [Steve's] fearless and brilliant investigation into a profound darkness that [he has] brought into a penetrating light.
T BONE BURNETT, Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Award-winning musician-songwriter; Music Director, True Detective
"Steve Hodel's hunt for the Black Dahlia murderer and the Zodiac killer is the grand cinemascope version of every unsolved serial murder case. Now, in his new nonfiction thriller, he delves into codes and ciphers, the world of the kinky avant-garde, and new and shocking secrets about the investigation of the Zodiac killer. Most Evil II is as compelling as his other books and adds to the body of work that is, without a doubt, both the strangest and the most compelling investigation of our day."
GERALD PETIEVICH, author of The Sentinel and To Live and Die in L.A.
"Los Angeles is the construct of its mythologies good and bad, fact and fiction. The legend of Elizabeth Short is one of the most enduring. Hodel's investigation is thoroughly and completely convincing. So too is this book. As far as I am concerned, this case is closed."
MICHAEL CONNELLY, New York Times bestselling author of Harry Bosch novels
"A whodunit masterpiece that solves one of the most infamous series of murders of the last century. Shockingly, but sans a shadow of doubt, former Hollywood homicide detective Steve Hodel fingers a man he well knew: his own father. For fans of true crime and police procedurals, Most Evil II is a must read."
BRUCE HENDERSON, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell
"Crime was rampant as musicals in Los Angeles in the postwar years--this is the age of Bugsy Siegel, the founding of Las Vegas, Mickey Cohen and gun battles on Sunset Boulevard...and it's the age of film noir...George Hodel, I think is fit company for some of noir's most civilized villains--like Waldo Lydecker in Laura, Harry Lime in The Third Man, or even Noah Cross in Chinatown."
DAVID THOMSON, New York Times Book Review
"[Hodel] gives us a fascinating family psychodrama; we watch his image of his father morph from flawed-but-lovable ladies' man to monster."
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