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Zodiac

The Shocking True Story of the Nation's Most Bizarre Mass Murderer
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After Jack the Ripper and before Son of Sam there was only one name their equal in terror: the deadly, elusive, and mysterious Zodiac. Beginning in 1968 the hooded mass murderer terrified the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area with a string of brutal killings. A sexual sadist, his pleasure was torture and murder. His first victims were a teenage couple, stalked and shot dead in a lover's lane. After another slaying, he sent his first mocking note to authorities, promising he would kill again. The official tally of his victims was six. The real toll may have reached 50. He was never caught. Graysmith, who was on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the murders, gives this gripping account of Zodiac's reign of terror.
©1976 Robert Graysmith (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Provocative....Bizarre....Graysmith's taut narrative brings the horror back with jolt upon jolt." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Will fascinate true-crime readers." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Different

It was interesting but I found the narrators voice very one toned which may have been the intend for the book. Most true crime novels I have read you get to know the criminal so it is a different way of hearing about true crimes. Struggled to finish but glad I did as I found the end more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bizarre

This is an exceptionally bizarre story told through a unique viewpoint. Rather exceptionally, the author segmented the story into chapters in which the story focuses on an individual person. This story has really irked me, mostly as it remains unsolved. Baffling - though I believe that they found a very likely suspect in the end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Brilliant. Well read and more than captivating. the choice of narrator was clever. Well done to all

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrifying, fabulously written & well performed

Ever since listening to the Zodiac, I've been trying to get hold of other true crime stories that measure up. This reader is one of the best I've heard, the writing is well-paced and clear, the narrative is organised really well. Brilliant stuff!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thorough and chronological

Reads a bit like a thesis- starts out very detail oriented, and kinda laborious to follow, but very thorough. You can see the obsession Graysmith struggled with- the frustration and desperation to present every single fact. Presents some great theories and plot twists quite objectively. Got a little strained toward the end when the clues ran out, but that can't be helped. Will have to listen again to keep up with all the Darlene Ferrin conspiracies, but am happy to do so. Great book. Movie is a nice accompaniment too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Z
  • 19-05-2006

Interesting

I hadn't really heard of Zodiac, perhaps it's not living in the US, or perhaps being younger than 30, but when I think of well-known serial killers this isn't a name I think of. So in that sense, the details in this book were all new to me.

I thought this book was well written and well-read. I liked how the chapters alternated between chapters about victims, chapters about zodiac, and chapters about law enforcement. It made it very easy to follow the progression of the story.

The book is well narrated and easy to listen to. Although this audio version is new, I think the actual book is relatively old, however this doesn't really matter, since I don't think there would have been any new developments since it was published.

I can't speak for the accuracy of facts in this book, since I wouldn't know, but it seems plausible enough.

Overall enjoyable if you have an interest in true-crime stories. I didn't find it particularly graphic (it's certainly not for kids) so you probably won't have nightmares for weeks after listening. The murder scenarios were described in some detail, but it wasn't gratuitous. But your mileage may vary.

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenji
  • 27-06-2007

Great read

The movie pales in comparison to this wonderfully written book. While I've read that some of the material in this book have been debunked, it reads well, fast, and makes you a believer of some of the astonishing possibilities to the identity of Zodiac.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristi R.
  • 19-05-2014

Ok factual account but needs an update.

I thought this book was an updated version of the Zodiac but it was written in 1986 and some of the suspects hadn't died yet.

Besides that it was a factual well written book by a former political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He made some interesting suppositions about the Zodiac perhaps knowing at least one of the victims and maybe more.

It meandered a bit and went from one suspect to another and by the end of the book I couldn't remember who was who and which one he felt was the best choice.

It didn't take me long to finish it and I was interested in getting to the end to see if there was an updated chapter added. No such luck.

Good narration.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kiwimec
  • 04-08-2007

Gripping... and scary

I downloaded this after seeing the new Zodiac film with Jake Gyllenhaal. Unbelievably dense in detail and very well narrated, this is a chilling tale. 5 stars.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Insectlady
  • 17-04-2007

Spine Chilling

The story of the Zodiac makes your skin prickle and you thank the Heavens that you are living in 2007. The narrator is the perfect voice for this story, he sounds like what someone like the Zodiac would be imagined to sound like. You will easily get sucked into the narration and almost belive the Zodiac himself is reading this story to you (and snickering all the way, enjoying how much he confounded the best minds in America for decades). Very worth your time and money to have this book in your audio library.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David S. Mathew
  • 14-07-2017

True Crime Classic

The Zodiac Killer is the spiritual successor to Jack the Ripper. Graysmith's history of Zodiac acknowledges the comparison, as he dives deep into the history of one of America's most notorious, uncaught, serial killers. Graysmith badly needed an editor as some parts of this a bit too detail heavy. However, considering that Greysmith himself starts to mentally unravel during his research, that potential flaw actually makes the book feel even more tense and paranoid. This is trip down a dark rabbit hole, unlike anything I have ever read.

As for the narration, Stefan Rudnicki is one of my favorites. His voice just drips with menace and foreboding, making him ideal for this sort of book. Highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elmer
  • 07-01-2013

Perfect narration voice as well as content!

Would you consider the audio edition of Zodiac to be better than the print version?

In some ways yes since the voice is perfect for this type of opus.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Zodiac?

The amount of information compiled just from the Darlene Ferrin murder. Almost as if solving her murder would have revealed the identity of the killer.

Which scene was your favorite?

The recounting of the Ferrin- Mageux attacks.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Just about. Or least to listen to it again and again.

Any additional comments?

It's too bad Graysmith is the only individual to take an interest in the topic. And he wasn't even an author. He was a cartoonist!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lindsey
  • 09-11-2009

Great

"Zodiac" is compelling and kept me on the edge of my car seat. I found myself grabbing my ipod and listening while I was doing housework, exercising, and anytime I had the opportunity. I was dissapointed to reach the end. If you are a true crime buff like me, this is a necessary listen. The story is thorough and dripping with detail. The narrator's voice is perfect for the content of this book. In between listening I couldnt help but do my own research on the Zodiac killer because my curiousty was so stricken. I recommend the (unabridged) version only because all the details that are in that version are necessary to understand the nature of this serial killer.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas
  • 10-10-2009

Eight Years Of Painstaking Research...

delivers a chilling account of one of the creepiest uncaught criminals in the annals of American serial killers. This is as hypnotic as Stewart's MANHUNT: THE TWELVE DAY SEARCH FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER, as captivating as Capote's IN COLD BLOOD and as creepy as Nabokov's LOLITA. Riviting detail with a nonetheless bare-bones style of narrative. Read it with the lights on.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Crusader
  • 28-06-2009

Mesmerizing!

I was only about 8 years old when the Zodiac killer started playing havoc in California. Although very graphic, this book was very educational, well written, and interesting. Not one dull moment!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 23-11-2009

Detailed & thrilling

One of the great unsolved crimes of the 20th century examined in startling detail by robert graysmith and read with the appropriate gravity by Stefan Rudnicki. I was gripped from beginning to end and since the facts in such a labyrinthine case case can escape you after just one listen you'll find yourself returning to this audiobook again & again. The best true crime book i've ever read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 31-05-2011

Terrifying!

I found this a really hard book to read but it was great as an audiobook and very accessible. Full of mystery, intrigue and really terrifying that the man was never caught. Great download.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JT
  • 18-12-2014

Excellent if you prefer a lot of fiction mixed in

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, I have actually listened to this book many times, over the years since 2007.

Has Zodiac put you off other books in this genre?

Not at all.

What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Excellent performance, no issues. His voice is commanding, clear and very easy to listen to.

Was Zodiac worth the listening time?

Yes because it got me properly interested in the case many years ago.

Any additional comments?

It must be stated that this book is almost a work of fiction. Don't get me wrong, a lot of work went into it by Graysmith, and it is compelling at times, but unfortunately there are many things in it, that he just makes up and are not in any way actual case facts, far too many to list here. Just be aware of this and don't go into it thinking this is the Zodiac killer case 101.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barry Jellye
  • 23-12-2012

Stars align

Zodiac was a classic who done it without the answer it kept me riveted through out and gave me my own insight into who from the list of suspects suited my profile of one of the worlds most elusive killers

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ico
  • 01-01-2012

A review of two halves

I was really torn after listening to this between 3 or 4 stars.

It sets it's tone out from the start as it opens with dramatic creepy music at would comfortably suit a hollywood horror film. With this i felt divided, part of me found it a creepy prelude of the things to come but part of me felt like it was sensationalising criminal acts for entertainment. Which in a way I guess it was.

I downloaded this after watching the great david fincher film, and yes i do appreciate i'm probably being a little hypocritical here as that film was mass market entertainment. The book is in depth, a little too much i thought, to the point of padding out the length though i wasn't convinved by the narrator as felt he hammed it up a bit personally.

All in all a good listen but a little on the light side though a good accompaniement to the zodiac film. Interesting but feels a little light on content.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • G. Clifton
  • 23-07-2019

Still intriguing

Having read so many books, seen so many films, the Zodiac case still has a fascinating draw. Graysmith covers all aspects and evidences his thoughts the entire way through. Good narration. Clear and a good pace.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Squeaky Joe
  • 06-07-2019

Chilling and thought-provoking

1968 – a hooded mass murderer terrifies the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area with a series of apparently random and vicious killings. From his first teenage victims, shot dead in a lover’s lane, he goes on to kill at least six people, though the real figure could be as high as fifty. Working on the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the murders, Robert Graysmith tells the story of the Zodiac’s reign of terror.

If the tale sounds familiar, it may be due to the influence it had on movies like Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty Harry’, made while the real killer was still active, as well as more recent productions, such as David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Graysmith. The book, with its subtitle, ‘The Shocking True Story of the Nation’s Most Bizarre Mass Murderer’ tells the story of a destroyer of lives who has never been caught. During his study of the case, the author identified many potential suspects and although when the book was originally published in 1986 he had changed the names of those he suspected, it was later revealed that Arthur Leigh Allen and Don Cheyney were the main focus of his attention.

The book is a chilling and thought-provoking account that goes into great detail, revealing much information that at the time of the murders had not been released to the public.

At the time of writing (2019), the Zodiac remains unidentified.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Frank Cummins
  • 11-06-2019

WOW!

We still do not know for certain who he was or whether he is still alive. Many tried to decipher the Zodiac's messages, some with a degree of success. The writer gives a very detailed account of the crimes and the hunt for one of the most intriguing killers in US History. Very well narrated and a very well written book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • wpm
  • 07-05-2019

Ultimately unsatisfying mystery

The narration is, for the most part, excellent. I’ve seen the David Fincher film and liked it very much, so I was interested to hear this book. It’s interesting throughout and held my attention, but some elements of the story were very unclear and I felt Graysmith was sometimes cagey or attempting to smooth over things. It made the tone uneven. However, the best-written parts were absolutely gripping, and I would recommend it overall.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mattnez
  • 23-01-2019

Listen if you haven’t seen the movie

Good book but doesn’t shine any more light than what was covered in the movie. Worth a listen if you haven’t seen the film.