Image of Shadow Lawn, the actual house, circa 1960.

Photo of author Steve Hodel.

🌳 Steve Hodel 🌳

Steve Hodel is a New York Times and international bestselling author. His book Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America as a “Best Fact” true-crime book.

Steve Hodel was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He served four years as a medic in the U.S. Navy and then joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1963. After six years in uniform patrol, he transferred to Hollywood Division Detectives where he worked all of the “tables”: Burglary, Robbery, Auto-Theft, Juvenile, Crimes against Persons and was then permanently assigned to the Homicide Detail.

During his career at Hollywood Homicide, Steve promoted to Detective II and in 1983 was the senior field homicide detective. During his years of service he received more than 75 commendations, handled over 300 separate murder investigations, and had one of the department’s highest solve rates. Steve was promoted to Detective III (the highest attainable rank in detectives) and retired from LAPD in 1986.

Hodel Investigations was established in 1986. Steve has been a licensed California Private Investigator, conducting mainly criminal-defense investigations, for the past 23 years. He worked over six years as lead investigator on a high-profile international murder case which resulted in an innocent man (Yoshikuni Okubo) being released from prison in Tokyo, Japan and reunited with his family, after five years of detention.

Steve’s first book, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder was published in 2003, with new updated investigative chapters added to the HarperCollins paperback edition in 2004 and 2006. Black Dahlia Avenger is a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Most Notable Book and was an Edgar Award nominee in the Mystery Writers of America’s Best Fact Crime category.

Steve’s sequel, Most Evil: The Further Serial Murders Of Dr. George Hill Hodel, was published By Dutton-Penguin Group on September 21, 2009. The book examines the possibility that George Hodel committed additional serial crimes in both the U.S. and in Manila, Philippines during the 1960s and establishes a circumstantial case that he may well have reinvented himself as the infamous “Zodiac” and committed a series of crimes in the San Francisco Bay area. Most Evil was a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

Black Dahlia Avenger II, published in 2012, is the author’s six-year follow-up investigation which establishes the Hodel residence as the original Black Dahlia crime scene and links physical evidence from that historic Sowden/Franklin House to evidence found in the vacant lot where the body was found. The book also includes the complete 146-pages of the DA’s 1950 Hodel/Black Dahlia taped transcripts.

A Genius For Murder: A Play in Three Actswas published in 2013 and is a Hollywood Noir dramatization based on the author’s books. The play focuses on events occurring during the five-year period in the life of Dr. George Hill Hodel just prior to his fleeing the country. (1945-1950)

Most Evil II (Rare Bird Books Sept 2015) is Steve’s follow-up investigation (2009-2015) into his father’s murders and introduces new evidence and additional linkage obtained by him over the past six years. Included in that evidence is the solving of the Zodiac’s forty-five year cryptic cipher, which gives us the answer to the question asked in Most Evil, “Were Black Dahlia Avenger and Zodiac the same serial killer?”

Steve resides in his hometown of Los Angeles.


Cover of Black Dahlia Avenger.
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