Robert Graysmith's New York Times bestselling account of the desperate hunt for a The major motion pictures Zodiac and Auto Focus are based on his books. Isn't that what books should be about?” — Robert Graysmith. History will forever link the name of Robert Graysmith to the notorious Zodiac murders. This, of. Robert Graysmith reveals the true identity of Zodiac—America's most elusive serial killer. The Laughing Gorilla · Zodiac. See all books by Robert Graysmith .
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Zodiac is a non-fiction book written by Robert Graysmith about the unsolved serial murders committed by the "Zodiac Killer" in San Francisco in the late s . Robert Graysmith is an American true crime author and former cartoonist. He is best known for his works on the Zodiac Killer case. Graysmith wrote two books about the case, eventually giving up his career as a cartoonist to write five more. Zodiac book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Who was Zodiac? A serial killer who claimed 37 dead. A sexual sadist who ta.
Though many books about the Zodiac Killer have been released, the identity of the killer remains unknown. The only true answer out there is: Throughout the span of his killing spree, which lasted from approximately December to October , the Zodiac Killer claimed to have personally murdered 37 victims. Although law enforcement, to-date, has only officially confirmed that seven of the 37 suspected victims two of whom survived were attacked by the Zodiac Killer, the killer and his cases still remain open. And while using true crime as entertainment presents a moral dilemma for tons of readers these were real victims, after all there is something in particular about unsolved cases that leads to an insatiable desire to fill in the blanks. Perhaps the numbered films and books about the Zodiac Killer are less a source of entertainment, and more a desperate, human desire to understand that which cannot be explained, and to answer the un-answerable. Well, one thing is for certain:
In fact, the production values are so high, that it looks more like the period than the movies made during that time do. I just saw The Laughing Policeman  and while it has the grit of reality down it also has that cheesy 70s feel that never lets you forget it's just a movie.
The casting in the film is also superb.
Jake Gyllenhaal is appropriately squirrely as Robert Graysmith. Robert Downey Jr's initially cocky Paul Avery descends into cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Brian Cox--coincidentally the original Hannibal Lecter on-screen --has a nice star turn as Belli. Anthony Edwards is an earnest and often frustrated Inspector William Armstrong.
And Mark Ruffalo is a Toschi magnetic enough that you can understand him being the model for two movie archetypes, Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry being the second, the first of that series heavily based on the Zodiac case.
Finally, John Carroll Lynch is just unfamiliar enough and just frightening enough to make Arthur Leigh Allen a plausible candidate for the Zodiac.
Smaller parts are filled ably by the likes of Elias Koteas, Sgt. While the movie opens with grueling re-enactments of the July 4th shooting, the Lake Berryessa stabbings, the taxi cab shooting, and an incident where a woman and her baby were abducted, perhaps by the Zodiac, but escaped, things soon settle down into the investigation phase and there are only a couple more scary scenes until the end.
The tension in the film comes less from the physical danger presented by the killer than by the psychological and emotional danger that accompanied tracking him. If two things seem particularly ill-suited to the medium of the movies, they are the task of writing and the drudgery of a real-life investigation.
David Fincher turns both into compelling drama. One of the real curiosities attending the film are reviews that praise him for the unique glimpse that the movie provides of both, but then complain that he follows the case down the dead-ends that reporters and cops did.
It is because the viewer feels so deflated after the various leads end up not panning out that we get some sense of the toll the unsolved mystery exacted. He came down Moments after Don Fouke passed the man, the dispatcher corrected her description of the suspect to say that it was a white male.
In a letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle approximately one month later on November 9, , the Zodiac murderer confirmed that Officer Fouke had spotted him, "Hey pig! Doesn't it rile you up to have your nose rubbed in your booboos? Three days after the murder of the taxi cab driver on October 13, in Presidio Heights, the Zodiac killer mailed a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. Included in the envelope was a piece of the taxi driver's shirttail.
I am the murderer of the taxi driver To prove this here is a bloodstained piece of his shirt. The police believe that this is when the killer took the pieces of the driver's jersey.
He sent two more pieces of the taxi cab driver's shirt to other newspapers. Did the Zodiac killer really threaten to kill school children? I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning. Just shoot out the front tire and then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out. As a 7-year-old boy, Fincher can remember police escorting his school bus.
This same scenario of a serial killer preying on school children was brought to life in the Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry. In the film, a serial killer named Scorpio kidnaps a bus-load of school children and demands a ransom. Yes, but not exactly how the film portrays it. At the end of the movie Zodiac, Robert Graysmith Jake Gyllenhaal comes face-to-face with his prime suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, inside of a hardware store where Allen works.
Graysmith described the real encounter during an interview with RopeofSilicon, " I'm following [Allen] around in an orange VW Rabbit and I park outside of Ace Hardware and obviously he's seen me from the big window and so I'm parked and he pulls alongside me so I can't get my door open and he gives me this look like you wouldn't believe. Allen worked at the Ace Hardware in Vallejo for over a decade until complications from diabetes forced him to quit prior to his death in How can the case ever be solved if Arthur Leigh Allen died in ?
In , the health of Robert Graysmith's prime suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, had begun to deteriorate. Allen quit his job at the hardware store. To earn money, he began renting the upper section of his home to a young woman, while he continued to reside in the basement. Diabetes had caused his kidneys to fail, and he had to undergo renal dialysis on a regular basis. Diabetes complications had also left Allen legally blind and with a large abscess on his foot. This made it hard for Allen to work or to leave his home.
On August 26, , Allen's kidneys succumbed to his disease. Brain tissue was preserved from Allen's autopsy, and it remains available for DNA testing. While working in a San Francisco crime lab in , Dr. Cydne Holt discovered a fingerprint on a stamp affixed to one of the Zodiac's letters.
This result did not convince Robert Graysmith, who believes that the letters may have been tainted by investigators who handled them over the years. Graysmith also believes that the Zodiac letters were not accurately preserved for DNA testing, given that they endured degree summers in plastic envelopes for a duration of approximately 30 years. What is the current status of the Zodiac case? Three Zodiac letters that were lost for 20 years surfaced in during research conducted by ABC for its Primetime news program.
The letters are going to be tested for DNA, and if a DNA profile can be built, it will be compared with millions of other profiles in national databases. As the movie Zodiac emphasized, there were 2, suspects in all. Lunby at Stanford said that whoever the killer is he will have offered to catch himself. When Graysmith called investigator Dave Toschi, he asked Toschi if he had ever received that type of letter.
David Fincher's movie, which is based on Robert Graysmith's Zodiac books, concludes itself with Graysmith's belief that Arthur Leigh Allen is the man responsible.
It should be noted here that other high profile Zodiac suspects have existed since Some of these suspects are briefly focused on in David Fincher's Zodiac movie. They include former San Francisco movie projectionist Rick Marshall and others. In the movie, Robert Graysmith is alerted to handwriting similarities between Rick Marshall's movie poster's that he drew and the handwriting in the Zodiac letters.
You can view one of Marshall's movie posters here.
Marshall's association to classic films old movies were played weekly at the Avenue Theater where he worked could also link him to the Zodiac, whose costume at Lake Berryessa was similar to the costume worn by Dr. Zodiac in the film Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.
In the movie, the killer sends messages to local police and news media. Like the real-life killer, the character also wears the symbols of the Zodiac around his neck. In addition to this classic film, the Zodiac signed one of his letters as "the Red Phantom," which was also the title of a silent film that Rick Marshall had at one time invited guests at his apartment to watch.
Did Robert Graysmith really visit the home of a man who had been friends with Zodiac suspect Rick Marshall? He goes there in search of film canisters that may contain Zodiac murder footage.
When Graysmith is in the man's home, he asks him about the movie posters that Rick Marshall drew. The man tells Graysmith that it wasn't Marshall who drew the movie posters, it was him. He then takes Graysmith into the basement where Graysmith hears footsteps above him, even though the man had told him they were alone. By far the most interesting aspect of this case are the letters Zodiac sends to newspapers. I was mostly on audiobook, so I don't know if the book proper has photos, but if not, or you are also on audiobook, be sure to check out the photos of the letters.
The book is pretty heavy-handed with minor details that aren't important, but I chalked that up to being forced to tell a story when the author doesn't have most of it. And he's not a writer.
I still enjoyed it all a lot, but it isn't always a super smooth read. Again, not an author. He only has half a story, if that.
And it's in True Crime, so he can't just make up mess to fill in the gaps.
Though I will admit to a couple of "what? That's too coincidental" before reminding myself that this all actually happened. Life is insane. The largest problem I have with the book, which I enjoyed and recommend, is the last 20ish percent. I mentioned biases previously. Our author has some extremely strong biases against a particular suspect that he goes full ham on in the last portion of the book.