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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  16,715 ratings  ·  652 reviews
Who was Zodiac? A serial killer who claimed 37 dead. A sexual sadist who taunted police with anonymous notes. A madman who was never apprehended. This is the first, complete account of Zodiac's reign of terror. Is he still out there?
Paperback, 337 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1986)
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Cj Carpenter Well I most likely read this book when it first hit the stands in 87'? Then I just saw the Movie about 2 hours ago . BUT I can say with complete…moreWell I most likely read this book when it first hit the stands in 87'? Then I just saw the Movie about 2 hours ago . BUT I can say with complete honesty the Movie is good but it leaves out Sooo much but then how could it not? The question you ask would be similar to asking " I just saw the movie "Titanic" is that all there is to the Story or is there more to it? " Well obviously there's much more about the sinking of the Titanic then is in the movie and there is a Huge amount of information missing from the Zodiac Movie as in all Books that are turned in to Movies you can't fit 600 pages into 1 1/2 hours you just get a little bit of the facts and absolutely no Background information or Any other Info that the Producers didn't feel was needed for the Movie which would be roughly 75% of the Book, In my opinion it's on the same level ( well not quite) as "Helter Skelter" only I think" Zodiac" is longer if I recall . For the True Crime Fan it's a must read, It's one of the Classic's I'm surprised someone had to ask. (less)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,715 ratings  ·  652 reviews

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Reading Corner
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
2.75-3 stars

I decided to pick this book up after watching Zodiac which was completely enthralling, however this was not the case for this book.The book was definitely well researched as it contains information from various sources,witnesses and reports.The book goes into extreme detail which was interesting at times but most of the time, it was just too much.

It feels as if Robert Graysmith just dumped all of his findings into the book without editing anything.Some of the details feel completely
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
Let's say you're a serial killer. Now let's say what gets you off more than anything except your killings, is to taunt the cops with letters that mock their inability to catch you. You, of course, do not want to be caught, but there is always the possibility.

Now let's say you just happen to work at a famous newspaper, one of the papers to which you like to send your letters. How lucky for you, or how wonderfully designed, because as a member at the paper you are insinuated into the investigatio
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's sad to say that I dnf'd this with 40 pages left. 40 pages left and I couldn't be bothered to finish. I think the reason why is because there isn't an ending. We all know the Zodiac was never caught so why am I intruiged to know how it ends.

I mean... it had a promising start. It was gripping, detailed, talked about victims and the letters. But like halfway through it started to get dull. No suspects had been announced. Most letters were being credited as hoaxes. There were no more victims.
Would you believe that I was unfamiliar with the Zodiac killer until last week? I mean... I knew that there was a serial killer who went by the name, but I didn't know anything at all about the details of the murders or the killer himself. I had never even seen the movie.

I think that this ignorance kind of benefited me. I skimmed some of the other reviews for this book, and I see a lot of complaints about the fact that Graysmith included every single detail. But I didn't even notice this. My no
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it

Things to keep in mind before you read this.

1) Have you seen the movie? Because going by reviews here, if you see the movie first, you won't like the book. I suspect because people can't grasp the idea that the movie can get away with more in the name of entertainment than something sitting on the True Crime shelves can. This is "true crime," not "fiction based on a real event." Also, the movie covers things in the author's real life, which the book isn't about to do. They're just different. St
God! That was a slog.

I didn't like this one. Zodiac isn't a bad book its just incredibly dry. I like a little story with my facts but Robert Graysmith is all facts. This happened on this date to this person and here are some Zodiac letters. I stopped caring about this book about 30 pages in but I continued because I thought that it might get better. It never did.

I'm giving Zodiac 2 Stars instead of 1 Star because I don't think its a terrible book its just mind numbingly boring.
Ana O
Jun 07, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
To read or not to read Zodiac, that is the question. Regardless of what some say, no one knows who the Zodiac was. No it's not Ted Cruz, sit down internet conspiracy theorists.

I feel like this is bait. Ain't nobody got time for that.
The facts of the Zodiac case are like the worst urban legends sprung to life. As any true crime fanatic knows, real life is where the real nightmares come from and boy, did Zodiac make many nightmares reality.

He was the hooded executioner who tied up and pretended to rob a young couple, then came back to stab them over and over in front of each other, throwing their money and car keys back at them before leaving. He rigged single women's cars so that their batteries would run down or their tire
Paul E. Morph
I picked this up because I enjoyed the movie version and thought I'd investigate the truth behind the Hollywoodization (that is SO a word).

I found this book very interesting, despite its somewhat uneven tone. It's quite dry in places but, hey, it's journalism not fiction, so I'm not expecting it to be Dickens.

Ultimately, though, due to the fact that the Zodiac killer was never caught, it kind of peters out at the end, leaving one feeling rather unsatisfied. Still, I'm glad I read it.
Marianna Neal
The writing style is a bit too dry for my taste, but the subject is so fascinating! Enjoyed this book very much, loved how detailed and informative it was.
Ashley Daviau
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was a little hesitant to read this book because I tried watching the film when it first came out and it bored me so much that it put me to sleep! I’m glad to say that the book is the total opposite and I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to absorb all the absolutely fascinating and yet terrifying information about this case. It’s incredibly interesting to see all the facts laid out and the story is even more chilling and disturbing because nothing was ever solved and he could still be o ...more
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Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
A very thorough recounting of the Zodiac killings and the long investigation, told by a newspaper cartoonist who became obsessed with the case and involved with the major players. Graysmith lays out the known facts, reproduces the full text of the Zodiac letters for the first time, and conducts his own investigations of the major suspects.

Man. I’d forgotten, but this is a hell of a story. It reminds me not to be too hard on a lot of thrillers and cop shows, because in fact you cannot make this s
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I will admit, I picked up this book after seeing David Fincher's Zodiac. I found the case both horrifying and intriguing and I knew I wanted to know more. The Zodiac murders happened long before I was born, but Robert Graysmith did a great job at laying out all the facts from the case in an easy to read format. However, it was quite obvious that Graysmith was not a writer (he was a cartoonist) by the unpolished way that he writes at times. I gave Zodiac four stars instead of five because the mat ...more
Ted Leon
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Be careful if you read this book. It has a very high potential to get you addicted to the case and try to figure out who the Zode is.
Ryan Taylor
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I only want to say that despite the cynicism I've gotten from friends, or the criticisms I read of this one, it is a great book that is uniquely interesting and thrilling and sparked great conversation around the board.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Apr 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: truthiness, usa
I'm sure this was riveting and very convincing in the court of public opinion back when it came out, which must've suuuuuucked for the accused. I'll admit I have the benefit of things like hindsight and DNA testing and whatnot, but Graysmith just seemed so stuck on his Arthur Leigh Allen theory that it was almost like he wasn't willing to entertain any suspects or scenarios outside of it, at least at the time. Circumstantial evidence is so dangerous, and that is essentially all this is. Maybe A. ...more
Feb 22, 2018 added it
A fascinating account of a real-life murders. You seem to know something and then it turns out that the mystery continues.
Chris Gordon
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Zodiac killings of the late '60s and '70s were some of the most notorious unsolved murders in the history of crime, comparable only to the Jack the Ripper murders before it. Not only were the murders gruesome in their own right, but behind these slaughters was a psychotic genius who managed to evade capture by the police up until this very day. His taunting and braggadocious letters to the police and newspapers of California are legendary, having been dissected and studied by investigators f ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Movie, Director's cut was great......I saw it first....but the book goes into a lot more details about the cryptic messages...and the process of decoding...shows them all.....POE would have been proud......and goes into a lot more details of the thinking of the criminal mind,and the thinking of the investigator......I thought it was interesting that Armistead Maupin got involved, being a columnist for the Chronicle......I don't remember that detail in the film, or maybe I missed it......

Anyway t
I don't think you can watch the film adaptation and remain unmoved by Graysmith's story and his obsessive quest to uncover the identity of the Zodiac killer. There was no question that I had to read his book. Graysmith was a cartoonist by occupation, not a journalist, and it shows. He makes the number one blunder of any amateur writer of either fiction or non-fiction -- he tries to include every last detail. Graysmith's obsession with the Zodiac killer means every minutiae of the case is deemed ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The crimes themselves are fascinating. I cannot say the same for this book. Perhaps it’s because I read it on the heels of an exquisitely written true-crime story.
Brad H
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
What i really like about this book was how it was told and how it was layed out.
Mr. Graysmith was a Newspaper cartoonist who later became involved in the Zodiac case. Not by his volition but, by the Zodiacs.

He lays out the facts. Gives you the time line and how things were investigated. How things happened. Precise and to the point.

He includes reprints of the letters that the Zodiac sent to the police and newspaper. Some of which to this day are unsolved and undecoded.

what is good about this boo
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zodiac completeists only
[2.5 stars, rounded to 3 for hometown bias.]

The merciless Goodreads statistics might show that I started this book in 2011, but while yes, I am a slow reader, I’m not that slow. I wasn’t on the page-a-day diet, rather I threw this book aside numerous times for months on end out of sheer frustration, but always determined to come back to it. It. Was. A. Slog. The thing with true crime, sometimes you get lucky and Truman Capote writes one, but that’s not the rule. I have genuine admiration for wha
Jason Schneeberger
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Fantastic true crime story!
Bert Zee
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“This is the Zodiac speaking”

Seriously one of the greatest true-crime books ever written. It’s up there with the likes of ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ in my opinion. I’ve read Zodiac countless times now and I’m always so impressed with just what a fantastic book it is.

True-crime authors already have a strike against them when they’re writing about a crime that’s unsolved, trying to tell a story that’s cohesive and interesting when said story is still unfinished would be a major task, on
Amanda Alexandre
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A few months ago, there was a guy who used to jump over my walls and spy on me. He even masturbated at my porch, sometimes, as he was seeing me study late at night, through my window shutters. Sometimes, he knocked on my windows and whispered things that he would like to do with me. I had curtains put on my windows and contracted a home surveillance service. I have an old bitch at home, but she never alarmed me of his presence. We tried to catch him a few times, but he always ran before we had t ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have read this book years ago.
Trying to add some books on Shelfari I discovered I had never registered this book on BC.

From Library Journal
From 1968 to the early 1970s, the self-styled "Zodiac" killer made headlines in the San Francisco Bay Area. In random attacks, he is known to have murdered six persons; in a series of letters to newspapers, which sometimes included cryptograms, he boasted of many more. To this day, the infamous case remains unsolved and surprisingly little has been written
Jack Saxon
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book so badly. I'm fascinated by everything Zodiac, and the book is a major source (if not THE source) for almost everything. It's the seed that grew into the massive Oak. However, I just don't like how it's written. I can appreciate the research, but the style is just not for me. Thank you Mr. Graysmith for doing the legwork.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Første halvparten av boka er veldig bra og spennende, og Graysmiths ganske frie diktning påvirker ikke historien noe særlig. Man må kunne ta seg visse friheter når man skal gjenfortelle hendelser som ikke har noen vitner, og Graysmith klarer å fortelle gode versjoner av Zodiac-angrepene.
Men så sporer ting litt av. Siste halvdel av boka er for det meste full av Graysmiths ganske utsvevende teorier, mye møl om månefaser og astrologi. Og så er det ganske skuffende å vite at han visstnok vridde og
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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
“Just because yu can't prove it doesn't mean it isn't true” 4 likes
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