Having previously reviewed The Case of the Golden State Killer by the same authors, I enjoyed that enough to pick this one up for review as well. The Zodiac Killer is one of the most famous unsolved serial murder mysteries of all time, despite the low confirmed body count (only five victims are known for certain to be Zodiac victims, although he claimed many more in his infamous letters to police and the press).
I read the two books out of order, since this is a transcript of Season One of the Criminology podcast and Golden State was the subject of Season Two, but I didn’t find this book nearly as satisfying. It’s just a straight transcript of the podcast, whereas the Golden State book included a lot of extra interesting commentary and material, and much more victim impact.
Possibly that last is due to a combination of factors, not least of which is that it’s almost 50 years since the Zodiac killings occurred, and 45 since the last confirmed communication by the killer. So many of the police and journalists involved in the original case have passed on. In addition, only one victim survived to tell of what happened to him and his girlfriend. Perhaps because of these factors, this reads so much more like a dry recitation of facts and speculations than the Golden State book did, despite the obvious passion the authors have for the subject.
With old DNA samples currently being worked on and compared to many databases including ancestral genealogy ones, it’s possible this case could be solved soon once and for all. To be honest, I’d probably wait until after that happens and all the dots are finally connected to pick up any Zodiac Killer book to read, including this one. Three stars for an okay read that just didn’t really grab my attention, but does a decent job of laying out everything known about the case so far.
The Case of the Zodiac Killer is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.