Zodiac. Just the mention of it to true crime fans elicits reaction, be it because of the books or the motion picture, the History Channel series, or the rumors and innuendo about the case. Like many people, I got sucked in by Robert Graysmith’s big yellow covered book on Zodiac years ago. I even listed it on my compilation of best true crime books. Blaine’s List of True Crime Books It isn’t perfect, as a true crime author I understand that. Let’s face it, that book was a gateway drug for all of us into this case.
Zodiac, as a killer, compels us…taunts us. He was one of those rare serial killers that communicated to the public and toyed with the investigators. He dared the police to catch him, and thus far, they have failed. The new DNA sampling techniques and use of hereditary DNA sites may yet net this murderer…but until then, he remains elusive.
One of my publishers (full disclosure here) recently published a book on Zodiac, The Case of the Zodiac Killer – The Complete Transcript and With Additional Commentary, Photographs, and Documents.
I wasn’t sure if I would even like the book because it is the transcripts of a very popular podcast, Criminology. Would transcripts of a podcast make for a readable book? I went in with a healthy dose of skepticism. Some podcasts out there would not be able to pull this off, the back and forth banter would make it a train wreck in print. Not so with Criminology. The flow of the book is conversational, entertaining, and enough to keep you drawn in. In fact, this is one of my favorite books on Zodiac in a while (though I have another two on my Amazon wish list.)
Why did I enjoy it? Quite simply, there are new tid bits and details that the podcasters/authors explored. I love getting this stuff. I also liked the fact that the publisher/authors included other audio transcripts to augment this material. You may think that having a 1960’s reporter’s interview transcribed in a book is meaningless, but in some cases it puts you right there with the investigators at the scenes. Moreover, this is new data. In a case as frigid as Zodiac, any new insights or perspectives are appreciated.
The book is not your typical true crime fare. This is a transcription of a podcast. It is done well, and Wild Blue Press has broken new ground doing this – creating a new sub-genre or true crime. I really came to appreciate and enjoy the podcaster’s logic, inquisitiveness, and attention to detail. It made me want to go back and listen to their podcasts. Morford and Ferguson have upped the bar for the dozens of other podcasters out there with their depth of research. This book is innovative and different, with a lot of variation.
Some people are not going to enjoy the conversational format, and that is okay. Not every true crime book is for the masses. This book does fill a niche and is well deserving of space on your true crime bookshelf. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you are hooked on the Zodiac case, this is worth picking up.