Review: The Most Dangerous Animal of All

mostdangerousanimalThe Most Dangerous Animal of All by Gary L. Stewart and Susan Mustafa
Catalog record  |  Goodreads reviews

For decades, the Zodiac Killer has captivated America’s imagination. His ability to evade capture while taunting authorities made him infamous. The vicious specificity of his crimes terrified Californians before the Manson murders and after, and shocked a culture enamored with the ideals of the dawning Age of Aquarius. To this day, his ciphers have baffled detectives and amateur sleuths, and his identity remains one of the twentieth century’s great unsolved mysteries.

If you’re interested in reading a book about a man grappling with his identity as he searches for his birth parents, this one’s not bad. If you’re interested in finally learning who the Zodiac Killer was, decades after the murders that terrorized the Bay Area, skip this book.

The problem with this book has nothing to do with its readability. Stewart provides a compelling account of the troubling relationship between his biological parents, supporting it with documents and photos, and the first part flows well, although later parts suffer from somewhat stilted dialogue. However, Stewart’s push to once-and-for-all reveal the identity of the Zodiac killer falls flat. Discrepancies abound, particularly when it comes to the reliability of the handwriting analysis and the lack of DNA results. The idea of a coverup by police is always intriguing, but in this case is doubtful.

Was Earl Van Best, Jr. a despicable person? I think it’s safe to say yes. But was he the Zodiac? We will probably never know for sure.

– Review by Marleah

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