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Zodiac Unmasked: The I...
Robert Graysmith
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Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
After painstaking investigation, and more than 30 years of research, Robert Graysmith finally exposes infamous Zodiac killer’s true identity. With overwhelming evidence he reveals the twisted private life that led to the crimes, and provides startling theories as to why they stopped. America’s greatest unsolved mystery has finally been solved. Includes photos and a complet ...more
Published by Turtleback Books (first published April 2nd 2002)
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Steve Parcell Chuck the Unmasked in the bin as well. This is as bad as the first one is superb and the film starring Robert Downey Jnr as Paul Avery is one of my…moreChuck the Unmasked in the bin as well. This is as bad as the first one is superb and the film starring Robert Downey Jnr as Paul Avery is one of my favourites of this century so far.(less)
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Thank whatever gods may be that this is finally over. The weeks I spent slugging through this I couldn't stop thinking that I could be reading something else! To begin with, let's give the devil his due...Robert Graysmith knows a LOT about the Zodiac killer. Probably more than anyone. He has poured years of his life into interviews with witnesses and investigators: in effect, conducting his own investigation. This was probably a good thing, because the police agencies seemed to be totally inept ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The other reviews are correct... this book could have been a LOT shorter. The same information was repeated again and again. We GET it, Robert Graysmith.

Truth is, everybody wanted Arthur Leigh Allen to be the Zodiac, including Allen himself. But he probably wasn't. Sure, there were a lot of coincidences that make Allen look like a good match for the killer, but the DNA didn't match.

Ugh. Long and repetitive. Obsessive. Don't read this. Read Graysmith's other Zodiac book. That one is excellent.
Aug 03, 2008 Jorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to get into at first.

Graysmith jumps back and forth in the chronology of this decades-long murder case. The number of players involved (suspects, police, witnesses, Zodiac's victims and possibile victims, journalists, relatives and friends of all of the above) also made this book hard to follow at first.

Maybe Graysmith assumes the reader has read his earlier book on this subject — I hadn't. But, Graysmith is an excellent descriptive writer and his obsession with the case becomes as intere
♥ Marlene♥
This is Robert Graysmith's second book about The Zodiac killer.

Author Robert Graysmith was on the staff of the San francisco Chronicle when the hooded killer's first letter arived.After 8 years of research Graymsith revealed 100 of facts never before released.. and his own theory of the Zodiac's true identity but they did not caught him.

Now 19 years after Zodiac was published it seems they have finally caught him.
Zodiac Unmasked!!
(I have just read Zodiac and can't wait to read this one.

Jul 02, 2012 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book for detailed descriptions of the crimes and the police procedure. However, the case for the suspect is circumstantial. What the book details is the systematic hounding by the author of his number one suspect, leading to serious invasions of his private life plus quite intrusive action taken by the police, using Graysmith's thesis as justification. The main suspect was hounded to his grave and cleared recently when his DNA did not match DNA know to belong to The Zodiac. Two st ...more
Feb 05, 2009 Therese rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard for me to review this book because it is very long (like 450 pages) and almost entirely redundant of the first zodiac book. it has like 10 pages of new information spliced throughout & a bunch of painstaking minutiae in between. Had I not read the first Zodiac book, perhaps I would've liked this one. The only reason I did read it-- the first book did not conclusively "unmask" the killer -- so i had to read on and find out. right? wrong! just skip to the last page and save yourself ...more
Ron Felt
Jan 14, 2010 Ron Felt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In contrast to the first Zodiac book by the same author, I found this to be poorly written. It was confusing and the author jumped back and forth in time so much it was hard to keep track of what was happening when. Information was repeated and hard to keep straight. I think the author got a little too close to the subject and tried too hard to give every possible detail and in the process lost track of the best way to lay it out.
Devin McKinney
I'm a big fan of Graysmith's first Zodiac book, and of David Fincher's film; I read this sequel in a spirit of sympathy. But in addition to being poorly written, indifferently organized, and sloppily proofread, Zodiac Unmasked has an ultimate effect precisely opposite of Graysmith's intention--that effect being to leave an objective reader pretty much convinced that Arthur Leigh Allen probably wasn't the Zodiac, only a pathetic child molester with a lot of unfulfilled talents who loved the idea ...more
Apr 08, 2014 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Unusual in that a) the book's thesis is likely correct, and Graysmith was the first person to put in the work to connect the dots, and yet b) the book is terribly written and contains volumes of extraneous nonsense on top of valid reporting.

Graysmith's primary problem is that he wants it both ways - he wants to establish that his primary suspect was the Zodiac, but he also wants to throw in every other titillating fact, detail or theory at his disposal in order to keep the reader turning the pa
Chris Jaffe
I'm not sure whether to give the book three stars or four stars. Early on, I thought the book was really bad and considered stopping (something I rarely do w/ book). Later on, I got engrossed.

This book dives in with some assumed knowledge on the reader's part. Graysmith refers to some of Zodiac's crimes a lot before he really gets into them. It's very confusing. (Thank God for the internet - it helps look up stuff until the book caught up with itself). At the very least, this book needed an ope
Tom Gase
This book abot the Zodiac killer is okay. Very well researched but not written well. At the start the author jumps all over the place with dates and it seems as if I'm just reading somebody's notes. It got better and easier to read about halfway through the book as far as order went, but the book went dull as it was the part of the case where nothing was really happening. Near the end of the book there is a lot of stuff not in the original Zodiac book by author Robert Graysmith, but stuff that w ...more
Andrea Hickman Walker
This is a very interesting book. However, it's badly written, in need of serious editing, and very repetitive. Still a worthwhile read, if you have the brain power to keep everything straight (seriously, there was no need for so much jumping around the timelines), though the repetition will help with that. If it's the sort of thing that interests you, I'd certainly recommend it.
Feb 26, 2008 Beth marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I am having a really hard time getting through this - the author's writing is horrible. He jumps around throughout the book, throwing in awkward and random sentences that at times don't even really have much to do with what he had been talking about.

This is going in the DNF pile for now. Maybe I'll pick up when I don't have 20 other books on my shelf to read.
I'd give this about 3.5 stars. Certainly an interesting and compelling read, but a reader should have some understanding of the Zodiac case before reading this, be it from Graysmith's previous book or the David Fincher film based off of it. The downsides of this book are what lowered my review. I first heard about this case as a child and found it both terrifying and fascinating. Having said that and considering his first book was a massive hit, Unmasked proves to be a bit of a chore at times. T ...more
May 09, 2014 Luke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another book to tie in with Fincher's film. Fair enough, it is where a lot of the structure for the movie comes from - but it's an unsatisfying read.

Compared to his first Zodiac book, this work is pretty weak. There's a retelling - of sorts - of the Zodiac story, but with significant theories from the first work redacted. (The supposed use of the overhead projector to write the letters is nowhere to be seen in this work, for example.)

The story is told in an arse-backwards manner, which leads t
David Wuensche
"Zodiac", as Graysmith originally wrote it, used the pseudonym Robert Hall Starr as the primary suspect for the killer associated with five of the most notorious murders in California history. Even so, everyone who read the original book and knew "Robert Hall Starr" also knew his real name and knew he was the sort of man who was capable of those murders.

In "Unmasked", Graysmith sets aside all caution and names his suspect (who has long since died), but also goes into several key copycats. Ted Bu
The evidence is pretty overwhelming, though circumstantial, but the writing style is somewhat erratic. I found it difficult to follow the author back and forth through the timeline. The fact the author changed how he referred to the primary suspect part way through the book (at first calling him Robert Starr and then switching to his real name, Arthur Leigh Allen) I also found troublesome and found it momentarily confusing. I do appreciate the evidence this book presented, though, and am convinc ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written. Confusing, non-sequential, and repetitive. Maybe Zodiac is better.
Steve Parcell
Mar 25, 2015 Steve Parcell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ameobi on Saturn
Shelves: serial-killers
Oh dear oh dear oh dear Mr Graysmith.

The first book was fascinating, enthralling, intelligent and innovative. It touched the soul as it describes the author and colleague Paul Avery and Det Toschi's borderline obsession with catching the Zodiac. By the end of the book we think he has succeeded and it appears pretty cut and dry.

Then I saw the second book out and thought wow how exciting. New evidence and new suspects.

What absolute drivel. It was written like a pack of playing cards had been throw
Robert Hernandez
Interesting read, but when you find out a lot of Graysmith's information is suspicious at best, you feel a bit cheated. Also, Arthur Leigh Allen is NOT the Zodiac, as Graysmith insists, based on circumstantial evidence, hearsay, and various other twaddle.
This was a good follow-up to the first book, but I feel like it could have been a lot shorter. I'm not sure if Graysmith was trying to recreate the feeling of confusion that the detectives must have felt as they followed various leads, never knowing that their counterparts in other jurisdictions held separate pieces of the puzzle; but his habit of dropping bits of conversations into the book multiple times started to irritate me. Overall the book is well written and gripping. The author also nee ...more
Raditya Perdana
I read this book after watching the 2007 movie Zodiac. I find this book is less interesting than the movie, maybe it's because this book is factual and only covers the real events, whereas the film is more loosely based on real events. But this book surely gave more depth in the Zodiac case for me.
May 02, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little overwhelming but it picks up after the film left off. I'm interested in going back to the first book and see if their is more facts in it or if this book is basically a rehash of facts with more info.
This book along with Graysmith's earlier book, "Zodiac" were the defining history of the Zodiac killer case of the late 60's and early 70's. Unfortunately, Graysmith's theories and observations were later proved false and misguided via DNA, fingerprints and other important physical evidence. However, the author continues to lead the investigation astray and has even devised a remarkably stupid theory to circumvent the lack of a DNA match by stating perhaps someone other than the Zodiac licked th ...more
Spoiler Alert: They never catch him. This ladies and gentleman, is how your circumstantial case sausage is made. While Graysmith does an amazing job establishing a timeline and cross referencing a ton of different information, at time this book reads like a manifesto. His myopic focus on one suspect leads to parts of this book reading like I am looking at a wall that a schizophrenic would thumb tack up, complete with yarn strings and newspaper clippings. 550 pages and at the end of the day, rega ...more
Daniel Zeak
May 02, 2015 Daniel Zeak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The police should have known that handwriting was used to fuck with them otherwise a type-writer would have been used. Sherwood Morrill is a jackass
May 19, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A continuation to Robert Graysmith's first novel Zodiac, it dwells into a suspect from the first book that fits all the marks of the Zodiac. The suspect was Arthur Leigh Allen. He was seen at the scene of some of the crimes and was even in the are when most of them took place. Everything pointed to him, except the couldn't trace the handwriting of the letters to him as Zodiac. He died in 2000, leaving the case unsolved, but many in fact believed it was him. A very chilling read and in-depth on t ...more
Jun 21, 2007 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty interesting read because of the subject matter but Graysmith isn't much of a prose stylist. Many passages in this book are needlessly confusing because of his lack of clarity, and the bookwide organizational strategy is perplexing and kills the flow of the tale. Nonetheless, it's still worth reading because of the depth of information on Zodiac -- though many other Zodiac sleuths question Graysmith's accuracy on some points. It's worth supplementing the book with some online re ...more
George Anderson
Jun 07, 2016 George Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who missed this real life saga - a great catchup.
Sep 28, 2014 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting more new information on the case.
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Robert Graysmith was born in Pensacola, Florida as Robert Gray Smith. He changed his name to Graysmith in 1976.

Graysmith is a true-crime author of the books Zodiac; Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer; Unabomber: A Desire to Kill; The Sleeping Lady: The Trailside Murders Above the Golden Gate; The Murder of Bob Crane: Who Killed the Star of Hogan's Heroes; The Bel
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