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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
Steve Hodel is solely responsible for proving that his father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, is the murderer of Elizabeth Short, (as well as dozens of other innocent people over a 30 year period.) His seminal "Black Dahlia Avenger" published in 2003 is the definitive investigation, and is irrefutable. 90% of all readers agree: George Hodel horrifically and sadistically murdered Elizabeth Short.

This book continues the investigation and fills in many interesting and worthwhile holes and sidebars. Though not the ground-breaking work of his first book, this latest compilation is a MUST HAVE for anyone truly interested in all the details, (though tragic in nature.)

I am a big admirer of Steve, not only for his excellent investigation and presentation, but also as to his character and commitment to continue getting at all the facts. When challenged, he supports his conclusions. When wrong, he openly declares it. When publicly defamed, he maturely endures it; keeping his emotions in check, and refusing to respond in kind.

He is planning on a fourth book, covering the early years of George Hodel, which, for me, will provide the needed details in his development and childhood that will give more understanding to his adult character. In many ways, George Hodel was a charming, likable man, who had many good qualities. But because of events and decisions early in his life, he willingly gave himself over to spiritual forces that wrought some of the most evil deeds ever committed in the 20th century. He is, without question, Most Evil.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2012
I was delighted to learn that another book had been published by this author. After purchasing and reading his original BLACK DAHLIA AVENGER and MOST EVIL, I knew this would be good and I was not disappointed. It is clear that Mr. Hodel has spent many hours uncovering the smallest details about this case. I will continue to purchase any new books that Mr. Hodel writes as I just can't get enough of this fascinating information.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
I have only read the first 50 pages and I am already glad I bought it. I read Hodel's first 2 books (actually read them both twice). If you are wondering if this is just a rehash of the old information the answer is emphatically NO! This is new stuff! When it comes out on Kindle I'll buy it again. Only one complaint--no index. With the Kindle version I can do a word search. Problem solved.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Steve Hodel has further buttressed his case for George Hodel -- his own father -- as the killer of Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, in America's most infamous unsolved crime. Using hundreds of letters, transcripts, photos, official documents, interviews, and primary news sources, retired LA homicide detective Hodel delivers even more evidence that his dad was responsible for the gruesome 1947 crime in Los Angeles -- as well as other California serial killings in the 1940s known as the Lone Woman Murders. He even makes his father's full DNA profile available to any law enforcement agency that is investigating relevant cold cases ... not something many true-crime books can claim.

Whether you subscribe to Hodel's theory or not, you cannot deny that he has built the strongest case for any single suspect in the Dahlia murder. Short of providing DNA evidence, a murder weapon or photos of the actual killing, he presents his case with the methodical and painstaking research you might expect from a murder investigator. With fascinating details and revelations that trace through the darkest side of Hollywood noir, Hodel exposes more than just the circumstantial evidence of a high-profile murder ... he exposes his own emotional foundations in this sequel to his original "Black Dahlia Avenger." No true-crime bookshelf should be without both of these books.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
The first book Black Dahlia AVENGER was wonderful and this one wraps it all up. One of the best reads I have hade in a while.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
An incredible book! As a former police officer the sensationalism of this horrific murder had long since past as had the act itself. What remains is the unfolding of the mountains of material the former homicide detective Hodel has painstakingly amassed, masterfully combed through, analyzed, organized, connected and presented. Having read BDA I, I was certain of Detective Hodel's conclusion that his father was the murderer of Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia. In BDA II even more fascinating material is unveiled linking George HIll Hodel as her killer as well linking him to other 1940s LONE WOMAN MURDERS. You will find it riveting. For a sequel to his New York Times Best Seller, BDA II does not disappoint. Amazingly, this sequel stands alone should you encounter this book first. But, if that is the case, do yourself a favor and order Black Dahlia Avenger so you can learn the foundational story. And "story" both books are, in the sense of the unfolding of background, newspaper reporting, first person accounts, photographs, police activity, Detective Hodel's independent investigation, suppositions and proofs... only these books are not fiction! And to me it is always shocking to remember that Steve Hodel, lived unknowingly with, grew up with, was the son of a heinous murderer, became a legendary LA Homicide Detective and then solved the cold case known as The Black Dahlia murder, naming and proving his father as the murderer who called himself The Black Dahlia Avenger. Read Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story & BDA II as well as Steve Hodel's revelations about the Zodiac killer in Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel. Read them all, you will not be disappointed. Robert J Sadler, author of Innocent And Guilty
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
Steve Hodel's first book, Black Dahlia Avenger, put forth the hypothesis that the author's father, George Hodel, a well-known and -respected doctor, was the killer of Elizabeth Short and probably several other women. I was left almost totally convinced after reading it. I only had few nit-picks, including the photograph he had discovered among his father's possessions, which started the whole investigation and which he thought was a photograph of Short. Luckily, this follow-up corrects that error (the picture was not Short, but may have been another victim) and adds a whole lot more support for his theory.

Black Dahlia Avenger II (***1/2) contains additional research into George Hodel's other murders, the original District Attorney surveillance transcripts (unknown to Hodel when he started his investigation, his father was actually the prime suspect in the case at the time, and his house had been bugged shortly before he fled the country), details of the possible cover-up, more handwriting analysis, the abortion ring Hodel was a part of at the time, and more on Hodel's deranged "murder as surrealist art" fantasy. It's not as refined or well written as the first one, and can be repetitive, but the research is worth it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2014
The ongoing saga of Dr. George Hodel is fascinating and horrific. The author makes the ins and outs of his years-long investigation easy to follow. He's very good at explaining the assorted forensic information.

I bought the print version of this book in 2012. For this updated edition I got the ebook. The entire thing has been edited and reformated. It's much more readable. The 2014 edition also has five new chapters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
First things first: I believe that the author's father, Dr. George Hodel, was the "Black Dahlia Avenger", aka the murderer of Elizabeth Short. The original Black Dahlia Avenger was first published in 2003 and has been updated a couple of times since -- first for the 2006 mass-market paperback edition and, it seems, the e-book available on the Kindle Store is updated even further. In reality, the Kindle version of the first book in this series is all you need. It unveils the facts as Steve Hodel discovered them. It's a compelling read, a real page-turner, and is convincing.

The story told in the original Black Dahlia Avenger is so convincing in fact that, at the time of the original 2003 publication, the theory that Dr. George Hodel was the killer was endorsed by both the Los Angeles district attorney at the time, AND James Ellroy (as strong an authority on LA crime as you'll ever find). Being a long-time enthusiast of Los Angeles, unsolved crime, and the Black Dahlia case in particular, I loved that book and agreed with the DA and Ellroy. Unfortunately, Steve Hodel couldn't stop there, and had to write a couple of more books that strain his credibility.

Despite this book being called Black Dahlia Avenger II, it is actually the third book in the series. The second book was called Most Evil, and finds Steve Hodel stretching his original, credible theory to new realms. Now we are supposed to believe his dad was not only the Black Dahlia Avenger, but the perpetrator of all the other so-called "Lone Woman" murders in 1940s LA, and the Jigsaw Murderer, and the Zodiac Killer. Unfortunately, Hodel comes up with more conjecture than facts in Most Evil, and Ellroy now won't comment on Hodel's theory. He hasn't rejected the Hodel theory outright, but it seems clear that Ellroy wants to put some distance between himself and Steve Hodel. I do too. I still believe George Hodel killed Elizabeth Short, but the rest is just a little too much to swallow.

While the original Black Dahlia Avenger was a taut, compelling read, this third book in the series is all over the place. I suppose its purpose is to update us all on new things he's learned since then. The best stuff comes early in the book, where he finds more people who lived in 1940s LA who can corroborate the findings of the first book. He has found more people who lived in LA at the time who knew George Hodel was the Black Dahlia killer, but kept it secret for various reasons. But from there, the book jumps around all over the place, a mish-mash of hard facts, long-winded musings, and repetitive comparisons between the "handiwork" of the serial killings he blames on his father and the Surrealist artists that George Hodel was friends with (Man Ray, Salvador Dali, et. al).

It's a big, unstructured mess. Clearly, Steve Hodel had a good editor for the first book, which was published by a major US book publisher. Apparently his latest book is more of a DIY effort, and his writing suffers without a quality editor. There's also all kinds of annoying grammatical errors, and just plain bizarre stylistic choices, like putting (almost literally) half the book in italics, apparently for emphasis. As I said, it's quite a mess.

If you haven't read any of Hodel's books and are interested in his Black Dahlia story, start at the beginning and get the latest e-book edition of the first Black Dahlia Avenger. As mentioned above, the e-book has been updated to include most of the important Dahlia-related information that Hodel has discovered since 2003. Most Evil can be read and enjoyed if you're willing to suspend your disbelief for a while. But Black Dahlia Avenger II is recommended only for the hardcore who can't get enough of Hodel's musings and theories about his dad. It's a poorly structured book, chock full of crimes against the English language, but could be enjoyed for those willing and able to overlook such problems.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 22, 2012
This is Steve Hodel's third book indicting his father for the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short in LA. For those who might have thought his first book presented a rather far-fetched series of suspicions of his father, this book contains material that has just recently been made available that adds weight to his argument that his father was in fact the Black Dahlia killer.

This new material largely consists of the results of a bug the police had placed in the elder Hodel's home back when the investigation was still fresh and when Dr. George Hodel was indeed a prime suspect. Steve claims that his father confesses to the murder on the secret tapes, and then Steve riffs into certitude from there. Well, I don't think there's a clear confession on the newly revealed transcripts of those tapes. But after reading all this additional material, it would be hard for any reader to casually dismiss Steve's theory.

However, there is still a lot of loose linkage here that tends to undermine Steve's credibility. He takes the reader on a wild ride of "Six Degrees of Separation" in the course of which the point sometimes tends to get lost. Let's see: Steve's father's secretary knew his father's mistress who had appeared in a film with actor Robert Cummings who had been at a party with Steve's biological mother... proving that Steve's mother was covering up acquaintanceship with the mistress. Or something like that. These tenuous chains of implication run throughout the book.

However, such chains are really stretched beyond the breaking point when Steve goes farther afield in his attempts to prove his father guilty of both the Zodiac murders and a series of murders that took place in Chicago in the mid-1940's. These latter murders included the abduction of 6-year-old Suzanne Degnan from her bedroom on Chicago's nrth side, and her subsequent murder and dismemberment.

Steve sees his father's hand in this atrocity based on similarities he imputes to scrawled messages connected with the different crimes. As far-fetched as these accusations seemed, they nevertheless inspired me to study the true crime analyses available on the Chicago murders. A teenager named William Heirens was convicted of those crimes and served in Illinois prisons for over 60 years before his recent death. I found one particular pair of books to be especially revealing as they took pro and con positions on Heirens' guilt. These books are:
William Heirens: His Day in Court/Did an Innocent Man Confess to Three Grisly Murders? and
Before I Kill More

The earlier book taking the position that Heirens was guilty of the crimes provides a full account of Heirens' confession. However improperly obtained that confession was when viewed in the light of modern approved police procedure - Heirens still admitted to entering the victims' apartments while in the grip of some excitement he found in the act of going through windows. Once inside, he said he would sometimes go into a transport of ecstasy/rage during which he would black out and lose track of whatever violent acts he might commit. He was seen in the apartment of one of the murder victims earlier on the day of her murder and he did at one point confess to entering the Degnan apartment window.

It defies all reason to think that Steve Hodel's father flew from LA to Chicago just at that time, and chose those same windows in that same neighborhood to enter in order to perpetrate his twisted acts. The fact that Steve Hodel thinks there could be such a coincidence undermines his credibility overall.

Nevertheless, the material in this book does strengthen Steve's case against his father as the Black Dahlia killer. What's more, the book provides an interesting picture of noir Los Angeles in the 1940's. It contains many interesting photographs that take the reader back to that time and place. The illustrations span a wide range of subjects - from the movie stars of the 40's to the baby strollers popular then.

There is a particularly interesting chapter toward the end of the book that paints a picture of the kind of decadence and misogyny that characterized George Hodel's circle. Steve quotes an excerpt from one of Henry Miller's lesser-known writings that will make your hair stand on end.

Author Steve Hodel says he's planning another book that will expose the kind of libertine psychology of his father and of his 40's celebrity coterie that could motivate grisly murder. That should be a disheartening, but very interesting book.
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