The Most Dangerous Animal of All

Searching for My Father ... and Finding the Zodiac Killer

Stewart, Gary L

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Most Dangerous Animal of All
"An explosive and historic book of true crime and an emotionally powerful and revelatory memoir of a man whose ten-year search for his biological father leads to a chilling discovery: His father is one of the most notorious--and still at large--serial killers in America. Soon after his birth mother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. It was a quest that would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world. Written with award-winning author and journalist Susan D. Mustafa, The Most Dangerous Animal of All tells the story of Stewart's decade-long search for his father following a complex trail of startling twists and connections. Combing through government records and news reports and through conversations with his father's relatives and friends, Stewart turns up a host of clues, including forensic evidence, identifying his father as one of the most infamous and still-wanted serial killers in American history"--Publisher description

Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 0062313169
Branch Call Number: 362.8298 STEWA STEWA
Characteristics: x, 367 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Mustafa, Susan D


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Nov 21, 2014

Fascinating story and well written. I sayed up till 4am to finish it.

Sep 14, 2014

I recommend this book to people who want to understand the dark side of human nature. This portrait of Earl Van Best Jr, a man who abandoned his child from the perspective of the child who was abandoned, made me despair a little. And it made me think a little about the dangers of becoming taken over by the Zodiac case.

However, it failed to convince me that Earl Van Best Jr was the Zodiac killer. To be sure, his mug shot does resemble the wanted poster, but not so exactly as the author seems to feel. The handwriting analysis struck me as being based on too few samples to be definitive. The conclusions drawn from an examination of the Zodiac ciphers is unconvincing. It works backwards from the answer to prove that the ciphers support the answer. The same reasoning will support other answers as well. I don't feel the claim that other names could not be found in the cipher will bear examination.

The author's claim that all of Zodiac's female victims resembled his mother is simply baffling. To begin with, I cannot see that Betty Lou Jensen particularly resembled any other victim. But more damaging, the author spends time showing how the Zodiac killed out of hatred of one woman... and skates over any motive for the killing of cab driver Paul Stine.

This book has a gripping theory that it fails to support.

Aug 19, 2014
  • tocch101 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A fascinating read that seems to fit pieces together quite well. I appreciate the use of extensive forensics and the very real exposition on the struggles the author faced.

Jun 23, 2014
  • d2013 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Truly a book you can't put down. Well written!

Jun 06, 2014
  • seaworld rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Reads like a page-turning novel but is a true story. five stars.

May 19, 2014

I haven't read this book, but-- I have read the two by Robert Graysmith ZODIAC and the sequel ZODIAC UNMASKED wherein he named the killer. I usually steer well clear of True Crime but these books are terrific and the basis of the Hollywood movie. Officially, the Zodiac Killer has never been identified. This new book presents another point of veiw...

May 19, 2014
  • pfcpat2 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very well written and researched. May be considered by some a controversial theory as to the identity of the Zodiac killer. Narrative seems like it could be believable. The book also was very interesting because it was about the search of an adopted son for his biological mother and father. I enjoyed reading it.


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