The Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story
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The Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,542 ratings  ·  151 reviews
More than fifty years after what has been called the most notorious unsolved murder of the 20th century, the case has finally been solved. On January 15, 1947, the body of beautiful 22-year-old Elizabeth Short--dubbed the Black Dahlia because of her black clothing and the dahlia she wore in her hair was discovered on a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles, her body surgicall...more
Hardcover, 481 pages
Published April 11th 2003 by Arcade Publishing (first published April 10th 2003)
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Adam
Former LAPD detective Steve Hodel is convinced that his late father, Dr. George Hodel, killed the Black Dahlia.

After reading his book, I am not.

Many strong cases are built on a preponderance of circumstantial evidence. The problem with this book is that most of the "evidence" Hodel presents isn't circumstantial. It's supposition and conjecture.

Circumstantial evidence is when an item belonging to a suspect is found at a crime scene, or an eyewitness can place a suspect in the vicinity of a crime...more
Steve Duffy
Oh dear. What to say? Well, Steve Hodel is a man on a mission; this mission being, so far as can be ascertained, to link his father to every series of unsolved murders you can shake a stick at. Since Dr George Hodel was in fact a DA's office suspect in the original investigation of the Black Dahlia murder case, he's on reasonably safe ground here, in "Black Dahlia Avenger", the first of his two books. He amasses a range of more or less significant circumstantial evidence, some admittedly suggest...more
Licha
Who is not fascinated by the story of the Black Dahlia? As old as this story is, it still captures my interest. So here's this guy who worked for LAPD, who claims that his dad killed the Black Dahlia. Great hook. I will give it to the author that this was an interesting book to read. He has a lot of detail in the book that will send you on a quest to search for more answers about other people mentioned in the book. There is a lot of great pictures included in the book as well. As for how valid H...more
Jackie
Until this book was recommended by a friend, I purposefully avoided knowing much about this crime because I knew (a) that it would never be solved, and (b) that I would start obsessing about solving it (e.g., JonBenet Ramsey). I realized that I should have followed my gut when at 1 a.m. last night I found myself googling "Black Dahlia" and perusing the black dahlia foia documents on the Net. The book is much better than I expected -- I couldn't put it down -- but it really does raise more questi...more
Alicia
Steve Hodel has entirely convinced himself of two things: his father's guilt in a number of murders, the most prominent being that of the infamous Black Dahlia; and the LAPD's complicit cover-up of him being considered as a suspect, which continues to this day, according to his book. I can appreciate the zeal with which he presents his case, both as a former investigator and as the offspring of an "evil" man, but the circularity and uncertainty of the evidence he uses to argue his point frustrat...more
Shy Di
this book is pretty gruesome. I read it a few years back and it was a bit of an eye opener for me, a bit of a rude awaking if you will. Corruption of the government, the circle of people who paid the the law to protect them against, rape, abortions (which weren't legal then), murders, etc...

It's interesting because this book is published as a fiction, yet this man, the aurthor goes the lengths to name his father as the murderer. Provides facts and dates of his attempt to bring Elizabeth Short's...more
J.M.
It takes a lot of courage to follow the clues and admit to the world that, based upon your investigations, one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th Century was committed by your own father. It must take even more courage to admit this after having served as a police officer in the very jurisdiction where the crime took place fifty years earlier.

This is a fascinating book that takes an investigative approach to the Black Dahlia slaying. What appealed to me most was the way the author returned...more
Kelsey Stewart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
OK, I'm a sucker for 40's L.A. noir and this promised to dredge up facts and files of the most infamous unsolved murder case of the era.
Sure, there has been a lot of speculation throughout the years, and plenty of potential perpetrators have been fingered by serious crime writers, amateur sleuths, and more than a few crackpots.

How does this one stand out? Well, aside from the fact that Hodel is a respected former LAPD detective (sure, this could go both ways, we can imagine a former cop who come...more
Jeff
As a huge true-crime fan, this book was a great disappointment to me. First, the crime-scene photos in the book are very cheaply printed and not glossy, so the quality is poor. Second, the author starts with a very contentious proposition; that photos found in his fathers album are of the Black Dahlia. From this "fact", the author constructs a "house of cards" plot, every fact dependent on the previous one. The problem is, that the initial "fact" is just speculation, and everything offered after...more
Anna
Jan 16, 2008 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like true crime, but focus on the "crime" part
This book purports to be a solution to the notorious Black Dahlia murder you're probably familiar with. I haven't read any other books making the same claim, so I can't compare whether this case is any more solid than any of those, but some of the "evidence" the author suggests is flimsy at best. Handwriting analysis plays a large part, and when you start to throw around words like "obvious" when it comes to handwriting analysis, you're grasping at straws. The other weird part of this book in pa...more
Sherrie
This book has been on my shelf for awhile. I've always wanted to read about the Black Dahlia murder. But it always got pushed to the back of the pile. I love reading murder mysteries and this one did not disappoint me. It's also a true story which also is something I like to read about. This starts out as a way for Mr. Hodel to trace some of his family history. But soon leads him on the track for the elusive murderer of Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia. Keep in mind this murder took place Janua...more
Nina
I had seen this book several times at Half Price books and honestly I was too scared to even open it. I knew it was going to be a gruesome tale. My morbid curiosity got the best of me and I decided to read it. Wow! I was hooked! The author is actually the son of Hodel, who the author is claiming was actually the murderer of the Black Dahlia. He is a credible and reputable former LAPD detective. His research is backed up and he puts his case together with exhibits just like I was at a trial watch...more
Meaghan Clark
A good book about the possibility that Elizabeth Short's killer was the author's psychopathic physician father. While the pictures that led to Steve Hodel questioning his father's role in her death were ultimately proven to NOT be pictures of Beth, the author, a former LAPD homicide investigator, does a lot of deep research on his father, and on Elizabeth, and finds that his father WAS a suspect in her death. It is the most compelling, and believable of all the books I've read about Beth's murde...more
Niki
I've read every single book on the market about the Black Dahlia Murder to date and Steve Hodel's theory is the only theory that makes any sense. I think most people who are skeptical haven't done the amount of research that I have done and I'll admit, if you have only read one book on the subject, it's quite easy to be skeptical. But if you're really and truly interested in the Black Dahlia Murder, go out and read every other book out there about it. Then re-read Steve's book(s). For me, Steve...more
Jessica Powell
I read this in the Kindle version over the weekend and went into it, based on what I had heard, expecting it to be poorly researched and essentially a crusade against an absent father. My assumptions were quickly blown out of the water.

Steve Hodel was a highly capable LAPD detective, and it shows. Though I might not always agree with the conclusions he draws from the evidence, the legwork itself is very impressive. I've read most of the Dahlia related books out there, and it didn't feel as thoug...more
Amanda Sailors
Black Dahlia Avenger is the story of retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel's journey towards uncovering the past of the father he never knew. And along this journey, he discovers an awful truth; that rather than just being an emotionally distant egomaniac, his father was actually a sadistic serial killer, responsible for perpetrating one of the most heinous unsolved murders in American history; that of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia.

Maybe. Although Hodel believes that he has delivered a solid c...more
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 20, 2013 ♥ Marlene♥ marked it as couldn-t-finish
I forgot about this book but I was alredy wondering if I had missed a book cause I was missing 2 days of reading.
Alas I remember now. I spend 2 days reading this at night but after a while I gave up. The writing is not bad but it just did not interest me as much. I decided I could just as well read online why Mister Hodel thinks his dad was the dahlia killer.
Mavis
How the writer could say his father was the murderer is just baffling.
Not one shred of "evidence" points to the father in any way.
Photographs shown as proof the father knew the victim are so obviously not her.
If you are just interested in the black Dahlia story, it might be ok.
If you are looking for a factual account, don't bother with this book.
Stefanie
This book is certainly interesting, and the author presents his evidence and the context in which the infamous Black Dahlia murder occurred well. I ended the book uneasy that this was THE solution (although wouldn't it be good to have a definitive answer!).
Terri
A case that will always have too many unanswered questions.
Camilla Frank
Hodel's investigation, evidence and overall case leaves you thoroughly convinced of his father's guilt. This book is a fascinating view into his fathers brilliant and disturbed mind - the first few chapters of his father's childhood, early life along with the childhood of the author himself keeps your eyes glued to the paper.
My only problem is Hodel's tendency to present theories, discuss them and thereafter speak of them as solved, closed cases, which bothered me quite a lot. Otherwise - count...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
The author of this book has a lot of courage in coming forward with his claim of who the Black Dahlia murderer was. Although all of the evidence he presents in this book is circumstancial, I do believe that George Hodel (the author's father) along with Fred Sexton were responsible for not only Elizabeth Shorts murder, but for the many other murders of women that occured around that timeframe.

George Hodel did live a double life and he was a very peculiar man. It is very sad that this case will n...more
Ruth Charchian
I heard Steve on the radio late one night talking about someone named "George." I tuned in 20 minutes late for a two hour live interview. He was riveting!!! Steve is a highly recognized retired LAPD detective. He has investigated and solved many murders in his career. Everyone on the force knew about the Black Dahlia murder of 1947. It had remained unsolved even though one detective after another had the case and every detective had discussed the various aspects of the case. While going through...more
Tanya
Claiming to have finally solved the U.S.’s most famous unsolved murder, retired LA homicide detective George Hodel contributes to the Black Dahlia industry with Black Dahlia Avenger. Hodel provides the reader with a true crime Hollywood noir police procedural far grimmer, visceral, and psychologically disturbing than any fiction conjured up on Patricia Cornwell’s morgue slab.

Serving for decades on the LAPD, coupled with a Hollywood pedigree, garnered Hodel access to records, photographs, and int...more
Sarah
To paraphrase James Ellroy, I think George Hodel, the prime suspect in the Dahlia case, probably killed Elizabeth Short - but in this book, Steve Hodel figures his father as a serial killer and much of it feels exaggerated. Hodel spends SO much time connecting Short's murder to the unsolved murders of other women in LA, SF & Chicago. He paints his father as such an evil genius, you begin to wonder whether this whole book boils down to daddy issues. Glad I read it nonetheless because I have t...more
Yoake
(Cómo me ha gustado la textura de este libro: suave, manejable, con las puntas dobladas por el uso…)

El primer capítulo de Black Dahlia Avenger es una reconstrucción del tiempo que pasó Elizabeth Short en el hotel Biltmore de Los Ángeles la tarde del 9 de enero de 1947. Según la versión oficial, nadie volvió a verla con vida. El segundo comienza seis días después, cuando el cuerpo de Elizabeth Short apareció en un solar cortado por la mitad, drenado y “colocado”. El tercero es desconcertante porq...more
Zack Olson
What I should first point out is that this book does not—as Steve Hodel claims—prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his father, George Hill Hodel, was the Black Dahlia Killer or the Red Lipstick killer. I will say that his theories and the conjecture that he bases them upon are somewhat fascinating. Were this book a fictionalized account like Ellroy’s ‘The Black Dahlia,’ I think I may have loved it. From what evidence Hodel can present, his father certainly seems like he was capable of such ter...more
Karen Hansen
This was a get well present from my best friend. She kind of has a sick sense of humor. She figured since I got sliced open for surgery, that this would be an appropriate present!!!


The book started out strong, but my interest began to wane mid way through. The author, Steven Hodel, wrote the book to prove that his father was the Black Dahlia murderer. He also lists several other women that he believes were also killed by his father and his father's best friend. The book really was interesting,...more
Tracy
so, i picked up this book fairly closed off to the idea that mr. steve hodel here had ACTUALLY solved the black dahlia case... mostly, i was just in the mood for some true crime, and the half price bookstore had this one on display, and i've always been fascinated by this particular case.

well, by the time i finished reading the bonus features added after the first publishing, i'm about 98% on board. because a) hodel seems to know what he's doing, i mean, this was his career and all, and he seeme...more
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Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel Black Dahlia Avenger II: Presenting the Follow-Up Investigation and Further Evidence Linking Dr. George Hill Hodel to Los Angeles's Black Dahlia and Other 1940s Lone Woman Murders Black Dahlia Avenger II: Presenting the Follow-Up Investigation and Further Evidence Linking Dr. George Hill Hodel to Los Angeles' s Black Dahlia and other 1940s LONE WOMAN MURDERS Hodel-Black Dahlia Case File No. 30-1268 Black Dahlia Avenger II

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