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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father...and Finding the Zodiac Killer

For Christmas my sister gave me a gift certificate to Oyster, the online rent-the-runway type service for books. I will review it when my trial is up. This was the first book I picked up (true crime, shocker huh?): Gary L. Stewart's The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father...and Finding the Zodiac Killer.

For several decades in the 20th century, the Zodiac killer haunted California residents. No one knew who would be next, or why. Then one day, the killer just disappears. He stops his rampage. Meanwhile, Gary Stewart is contacted in adulthood by his birth mother after having been adopted as an infant. They forge a relationship, but Gary also wants to know about his father. His birth mother isn't terribly forthcoming, so Gary must dig on his own. However, the further he digs, the more he discovers about his father's violent and frightening past. Putting two and two together, Gary slowly comes to the conclusion that his father may well be the most feared man in California.

Me and my true crime, y'all. Me loves it. I enjoyed the sleuthing in this novel, and I was impressed at Stewart's painstaking attention to detail in making the connections between the information he discovered about his father and how it is connected back to the Zodiac. This was clearly years of research, and it was incredibly interesting to watch it all be put together like a jigsaw puzzle. When combined with Stewart's own search for meaning in his past, it made for a pretty compelling story. I can't even imagine what it must be like to figure out such an important secret.

Now, it's important to point out that Stewart's father was never tried for these crimes, but the author does lead us to believe that he was under suspicion for them by law enforcement. As far as memoirs and true crime go, this book was interesting and certainly compelling enough for me to come back to it. It was also clearly a personal story, which was the crux of the book, but I have to say that the most interesting parts were the footprints of Van, Stewart's birth father, and the timeline of the murders. That is just the lover of crime in me, I guess. 

For purchase below.

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