(Review) Zodiac by Robert Graysmith


Publisher and Publication Date: Berkley Books. 2007. Originally published 1986.
Genre: True crime.
Pages: 367.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: True crime readers.

Amazon link

An updated version and continuation of this book is Zodiac Unmasked.


I am very new to reading true crime books. This new interest began a month ago. So, I’m a green newby.

In the introduction, it is explained the Zodiac killings “were not simply killings.” The killings are considered sex crimes. The Zodiac is considered a sexual sadist.
The introduction to a book is important info for me. It is there I find out why the author wrote the book, how they feel about the subject, and what the reader should take away from the book. Other things can be written in an intro like problems the author had, what they felt was accomplished, and things to look for while reading. The introduction is the jumping off or sending off for the reader, a sort of bon voyage.
Robert Graysmith was there from the start. He was working at the San Francisco Chronicle when the Zodiac killer began his murders. Graysmith knew the police who investigated the case. He knew the reporters who covered the case. He lived in the area. These are all big positives for an author of this subject. Add to this, he read through the previous interviews from the survivors, and was able to later find and interview them again himself. He has seen the written letters from the Zodiac killer. He has spent many years studying the Zodiac killer. This book made an impact, because of the reasons stated. I feel Zodiac is a very good book, and a very good place to begin reading about the Zodiac killer.

Reasons why I loved this book:
•Lengthy, painstaking, devoted research for the book.
•Chronological events of the tracking, abduction, and murders.
•Included illustrations and texts of the Zodiac letters.
•The Appendices includes the lengthy list of those known to have been killed by the Zodiac and those thought to be. Also, the Zodiac writings and writing style. This section ends with a pysch profile. What I listed are examples but are not complete in detail.
•Gives complete info about the families of those murdered plus their friends.
•Graysmith shows the best suspect. He does not use the words without a doubt this is exactly the suspect.

One thing to mention: the book is not narrative nonfiction. Graysmith lets the subject matter carry the force of the book. Some reviewers have not liked this book, because they wanted a narrative story like reading. They’d seen the film and wanted entertainment like the film. I did not expect narrative and am cool with the book.


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