A Review of Mike Rodelli’s ‘Hunt…’

 

 

Amazon wouldn’t print my review. I can’t tell if it’s because I’ve mentioned too many names, or because there are too many spoilers or because I’m not a member of their subscription service. So anyway, here it is: for your edification and delight (or not).

The Hunt for Zodiac: The Inconceivable Double Life of a Notorious Serial Killer ★★★   from CJ Karas 
 
Brave Attempt
 
Reviewed as a book rated against any other book I’ve got to give it 3 stars. I would like to give it 4 but just cannot for that reason. The first quarter is written like a high school term paper. It feels like the author is forcing himself to present the descriptions of the murders. And it seems there was no editing at all in these chapters. We all know what happened by now- there’s nothing new here. There is a masterpiece of a film we can watch, Zodiac. Why not condense this material to a few pages? The last quarter of the book could be similarly condensed. The author is simply repeating himself and his best evidence in a lame attempt to twist the reader’s arm into accepting his suspect.There is a real book here in the middle half, a very good book, though it still suffers from poor editing. With the story of Officer Pelisetti and suspect Qvale we get some real investigation going on, and this chunk- I have to say, really is indispensable for any Zodiac researcher. It’d be quite a thrilling read even for those not so familiar with the case I’d bet. But at the end of it I have to ask the following questions.1: Why didn’t Mr Rodelli check Mr Qvale’s ALIBI for the Stine murder? If he says he was out of the country it would likely be easy enough to find out by going to England- this will be KEY to a revised edition of the book.2: Why weren’t more comparisons made to other suspects, particularly Larry Kane, a suspect even the History Channel thought was one of the most intriguing?

3: Information about Xenophon Anthony could have been addressed. I believe it was available before this book was published. He was identified at the scene of the Stine murder by a child witness. He was a Jackson St. neighbor and a peer of Qvale’s. He was cleared by fingerprint evidence but Mr Rodelli himself makes a good case for that evidence being in doubt.

4: It seems obvious nowadays that celebrities can be stalked and harassed and possibly as a result mightily harmed- so why not consider that one of Qvale’s peers might try to cut this 60’s 007-like California celeb down to size by implicating him in the murders, out of spite and as a way of confusing investigators? One surefire way to do that would be to bring a murder right to Qvale’s doorstep. Think- variations on Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’!Concluding with a few random notes here. Most would agree the ‘Exorcist’ letter is genuine. It doesn’t take a handwriting expert if you’ve read all the letters that came before. The ‘car’ theorizing is one of the best things- really makes one think- even if you have another suspect in mind. The ‘profiling’ information is interesting and quite well presented, but there is another possibility and it’s the reason Zodiac was never caught: there was no profile- he was not an actual serial killer at all but a ‘Frankenstein-like creation, an attempt by suspect/s unknown to make it look like he was. References in the letters to the Ripper, The Lipstick Killer, The Moonlight Murders in Arkansas and others bear this out. Someone was studying the history of serial killers because they needed the Zodiac murders to appear to be the work of a lovers’ lane type killer- to take the heat off of someone else- and I suspect that ‘someone else’ was the murderer of Cheri Jo Bates in ’66. When the first confirmed Zodiac letters appeared they appear to be a somewhat flakey attempt to deflect from what was decidedly a crime of passion. The DNA discussion in the book is also very well presented. It seems doubtful that it will ever provide us with a suspect, but who can tell now, with the recent GSK breakthrough. I wish more information had been presented though explaining why certain suspects were so clearly eliminated, including Allen, in the early 00’s. Then there’s the disconnect between graphic material lumped together in the last few pages and the analysis of it stuck way back in the text. Even so I don’t buy much of Mr Rodelli’s map analysis or his ideas about Qvales use of symbols, speaking as a visually-oriented person (I’m an architect). I’m not convinced by his descriptions of runes, Qvale’s factory facade symbol in Italy, the target symbol being Viking, the bus bomb map and others. Clues that seem to point to Qvale: 6 volt foreign car batteries, the ‘Dragon’ card, even the provenance of the Carmen Ghia- could just as easily be part of a frame job. I’m also disappointed to see very little discussion of the cryptograms which to me and many other researchers are the most fascinating piece of the puzzle. If the DNA is in doubt as Mr Rodelli states, we may only be able to solve this strange and fascinating case when the unsolved cryptograms are broken.

As I write it’s been 50 years since the date of the Lake Herman Road murders. May the victims, all the victims, and their families soon find peace- with the case closed.

 

3 thoughts on “A Review of Mike Rodelli’s ‘Hunt…’

  1. Thanks for pointing out the editing. That was the job of my agent, not me. I’m meeting with her this week and plan to show her many of the errors I found and corrected in my manuscript since the book was published.

    As for my treatment of the crime scenes, maybe you missed the fact that in the LHR chapter I totally recreated the crime scene in a way that nobody else ever has before. So it is simply not true when you say there is “nothing new.” Likewise in the PH chapter, where I present interview material from the kids. The only reason that is not “new” to you in 2019 is that I was generous in 2003 and shared much if it on my now defunct website at that time. Now it is probably repeated ad nauseum by others without any idea nor care as to who learned the material first hand, so it does get credited to me and does not look like original research anymore. Had I held it back like a good author should, it would be brand new. I wrote the initial eight chapters chapters for those who are not familiar with the crimes more so than long time followers of the case because I felt that I could not present my reasoning to use Z’s letter writing behavior to identify KQ, nor would people be able to understand my evidence, unless I did so. Nobody would understand my reasoning if they did not have some background on the case. Plus I introduce some Norse elements along the way as foreshadowing.

    Unlike my suspect, I am not made of money and can’t just fly around the world checking out his alibi. I don’t know what I would check in England to verify it, anyway. Maybe you can suggest a way for me to figure out which hotel he stayed at in the UK and where to find the records from 1969. Besides, Pelissetti already confirmed that KQ was not being truthful about that. He should know, right?

    As for his being framed, I certainly thought of that and asked him at our 2006 meeting if he had any idea as to whom might want to frame him and he had no ideas to offer me. So who might have done it? Without some serious leads by way of him telling me whom he had crossed over the years that would also be hard to prove. It is easy to suggest what I should have done but doping it is a lot more difficult.

    As for the repetition, I learned from a man very successful in sales in the 1980s that people don’t necessarily retain what you tell them in Chapter 1 by the time they get to Chapter 20. The old saying is, “You tell them what you tell them, then you tell them what you told them.” That is what I went by. Reinforcement.

    This was my first book so sorry if it was not up to your standards. My overall reviews have been positive.

    Mike

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    1. Thanks so much for your response! I’m honored, Mr Rodelli. And great to hear from a fellow New Yorker- we take criticism well. As you’re working on improvements I’m sure you’ll end up with a great book. It will truly be the best book on the case. As for the UK research I understand but think it’s still worth following up. Cheers and thanks for visiting my modest weblog. I only wish I had the energy to write a book with such promise. And thanks for your many advances in the research.

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  2. After reading both your writings I’m intimidated to try. But I must, because not only do I think it’s a monumental book, but I agree with the fact that editing could help.
    The research is phenomenal and the details make the entire story so much clearer. The book needs all the background to make it a stand alone classic
    I grew up in Pleasanton and one night in 1971, driving home alone from Oakland, a car followed me on the freeway from Hayward to Hopyard, blinking their lights for me to pull over. As I got off the driver dimmed their lights completely. I knew it was the Zodiac, even though my sisters and I were sure our father was a good Zodiackiller candidate also
    Cheers
    Sari

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