In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo

The Shocking True Identity of the Zodiac Killer

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Pub Date 25 May 2021 | Archive Date 30 Aug 2021

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Description

“a worthy, if not definitive, addition to the body of Zodiac knowledge.” — Kirkus

"It is no exaggeration to call the identity of the Zodiac Killer the most maddening unsolved crime in American history...But it is also no exaggeration to say that Mike Rodelli's case stands above them all" — Tom Zoellner, Author and Former Reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle 

In June 1999, Mike Rodelli had an idea that had never occurred to a generation of detectives in the San Francisco Bay Area. This led him to a new suspect in the Zodiac case and began a twenty-year odyssey to prove that this man was the Zodiac Killer. In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo: The Shocking True Identity of the Zodiac Killer is filled with original information about the mystery, including DNA and behavioral profiling that resulted directly from his twenty years of intensive research. Rodelli provides the reader with an objectively researched, fully documented book that is meticulously footnoted, and which shows that, against all odds, he has solved a case many said would never yield its dark secrets.
“a worthy, if not definitive, addition to the body of Zodiac knowledge.” — Kirkus

"It is no exaggeration to call the identity of the Zodiac Killer the most maddening unsolved crime in American...

Advance Praise

"It is no exaggeration to call the identity of the Zodiac Killer the most maddening unsolved crime in American history. Tens of millions of words have been spilled on various theories. But it is also no exaggeration to say that Mike Rodelli's case stands above them all for the depth of his research, the ingenuity of his insights, the lucid quality of his prose, the bulldoggedness of his dedication and his calmly methodical way of showing how the violence might have emanated from the highest levels of San Francisco society. Not everyone will agree with his startling conclusion to the case, but connoisseurs of true crime can certainly agree that Rodelli has made himself into a reluctant master of the genre: a detective's sensibility matched with a novelist's talent for storytelling. Had he been in Bay Area law enforcement when Zodiac was active, we might not have needed this book."

- Tom Zoellner, Author and Former Reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle 

"It is no exaggeration to call the identity of the Zodiac Killer the most maddening unsolved crime in American history. Tens of millions of words have been spilled on various theories. But it is also...


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Featured Reviews

I got this book and read it in a sitting. It’s really well written, striking the balance between the objective presentation of facts with the ability to tell the story in an engaging way. The Zodiac case is fascinating amd frustrating with a great deal already written about it. Rodelli brings new energy to the search for the killer and presents very compelling arguments as to his identity. There was a bit of “more on this later” throughout the book which I found distracting - just say it then or don’t reference it until the right time.

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Having read books about the Zodiac Killer, and watched various things on TV as well, I’ve wondered who this elusive killer is during the years. , So I was eager to dive into this newest, possibly revealing, book on Zodiac with a new suspect. I recently read how some of the Zodiac’s impossibly difficult codes from his letters had recently been cracked after all these years. So is it possible that his identity has been figured out as well? That is why I read the book. You will have to decide for yourself if you think Rodelli got it correct or not. Its certainly well-researched, with about 20 years spent chasing an answer. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Mike Rodelli, and the publisher.

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I don't know anyone who hasn't heard of the Zodiac Killer, me included. I was surprised to see a book about this subject mistakenly believing the case of solved decades ago and the killer brought to justice. Unfortunately the solution seems to have occurred but the justice part never will. The author painstakingly researched this case after a serendipitous discovery as to who the suspect might be. Twenty years later he presented his case with supporting data. I believe this is an updated version of his prior book published in 2017. I really enjoyed the author's forensic look into the personality of the killer via Richard Walter, a world renown forensic psychologist in crime scene analysis. Thank you to NetGalley and Indigo River Publishing for providing me with an advance copy to read.

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In The Shadow of Mount Diablo by Mike Rodelli is a True Crime book that reads like an intricately plotted thriller. For decades the identity of the notorious Zodiac Killer has been the source of much debate and his infamous coded letters regarded as potentially meaningless gibberish. Mike Rodelli shows that far from gibberish the letters show a massive intelligence at work and someone with such a big ego that his code ,if cracked,would reveal not only his name but where he could be found as well. Once he cracks the code his suspect is so unlikely and so well-connected that further decades of his life are spent just trying to get various police forces to do their job. Rodelli's suspect is a person of many talents,someone who excelled at everything he did in life,seeking more and thrills and challenges as he did so while challenging others to see what he'd given them. Being a narcissist he was supremely confident that even giving the police what was basically a coded confession they couldn't match his wit or intelligence. Having been a True Crime buff for a very long time and having read several different theories by many authors this is the one that for me MUST be Zodiac. As Rodelli says his evidence is circumstantial but from his investigations and forensic explanations you'd have to believe in coincidence after coincidence after coincidence for Rodelli's suspect to not be Zodiac. Rodelli does repeat himself quite a lot but he needs to do that as his evidence knits together and there's what amounts to a "summing up" at the end that puts the whole thing together. Far from the usual "real life" serial killer "Rodelli's" Zodiac is the kind of twisted genius beloved of Crime fiction authors and movie makers. A fascinating read.

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Zodiac is probably one of the most prolific serial killers in the United States. He tends to be one of my favorite to read about just because he has eluded capture and his indenting has remained a secret. Or has it? This is a great read, in depth and filled full of hard pressed, thorough detective work. A must read for true crime fanatics. A different perspective that may have cracked the unsolvable case of The Zodiac!

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I am one of reader whom hasn't heard of the Zodiac Killer. I saw my friend read a Japanese book about it, and I am curious. Mystery crime always my interest and the author give solid theory and very analytical. A recommendation for reader whom love mystery.

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As a child of the 70s, I recall seeing a list of amazing coincidences between the JFK and Lincoln assassinations such as ages they married, years they were each first elected to Senate and then White House, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth each had three part names, etc. The list was perhaps 15-20 items long. However, you can apparently also find similar amazing coincidences between Kennedy and former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón. So, is this something extraordinary, or is it "data dredging" which Wikipedia says is: "the misuse of data analysis to find patterns in data that can be presented as statistically significant, thus dramatically increasing and understating the risk of false positives." Reading Mike Rodelli's work also brought up the same sort of questions for me. Has he truly cracked the criminal case of the century, or is he just finding strands of vaguely similar coincidences and using that to weave together the supposed identity of the Zodiac Killer? Well ... in some instances I think Rodelli has brought up some startling evidence, such as his belief that the SFPD determined right away that the Zodiac was a loner, low-economic class psycho, rather than even entertaining the idea that he might have been wealthy, well-read, crazy smart and twisted. He also points out that the SFPD did not really question the two true eyewitnesses to the Paul Stine murder, nor follow up with other clues or evidence that clearly appeared to be new avenues of investigation. Their DNA handling is also very suspect. If you are at all interested in the Zodiac, I would definitely recommend you read this book and decide for yourself if Rodelli is correct. I'm still pretty much on the fence, but I appreciate his dedication and the level of his research. 3.5 stars.

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Rodelli is a very good writer and a very good sleuth. That makes the re-read of his Qvale theory easy to do. In this improved edition he has some new information and new ideas. Very good read if you are fascinated with the Zodiac case or crime in general.

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First I want to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read this advance release in exchange for a fair and honest review. Sometimes that means I have to make an author unhappy...and on one of my last reveiws I had the author attack me because I didn't like the book...sooooo... NOT THE CASE HERE! WOW....ok...slow down....deep breaths... I have been a fan of true crime for over twenty years...I still remember the first one I read and how it hit me...how could that person get away for so long killing right in front of others noses???? and I was hooked... When Zodiac was active...there was no internet...the only news was radio and television...and I was ten to fifteen years old...and had NO interest in the news....I don't remember the first time I heard about the Zodiac...but once I did I have always read pretty much everything on him/her...I have to say most materials are just rehash...or not credible...but still I read....so when I saw this book available I anxiously requested it...and luckily was granted the permission to read it...as I said ...WOW! I honestly could write on this for hours....but of course...I don't want to...and you definitely don't want me to... The preview promised a new suspect...that's what I was so anxious about...but as the author says ...1000 suspects have been looked....and many are still being touted by individuals even if they have been eliminated...everyone has a suspect...so hearing this is a new suspect...I was very anxious....but while anxious....and with caution...have heard this before... The author starts the book with the murders and the details...when noting the suspect he does not name him/her as he wants to submit the background...it was frustrating but very well done...it is great to have the facts again refreshed before he starts to detail the items which lead to his conclusion... And I will not name that person here...the author waits...builds...examines and explains...and then the reveal...and for that reason I will not spoil the thunder...read the book! The book is very detailed along with all of the explanations of the thoughts and how they led Mr. Rodelli to the Zodiac suspect...and the author admits ...this evidence is entirely circumstantial....and if there was three ...maybe five...items named....it would still be in doubt...but there are DOZENS of details...there are interviews with those who haven't ever given interviews...with those that have never revealed details before...there are many exhibits added to show the details he is talking about...one complaint there...lol...he does not include a copy of the ciphers as he notes they are many places on the net...I understand but as I'm reading I like to just go back and forth... The details are pretty amazing...and the exhibits...to see them as you read them...you again will go...ok...that's odd but hardly fast proof...but sooner or later you are going to come around...this subject...should be extensively reviewed by the police...but that's another issue... You will read the reasons that the police do not want to investigate this person...why they would lie on national TV in an effort to discredit this theory...and ...in today's climate...it won't be hard to believe that they did... A few things...you will read that there is a lack of DNA from the Zodiac and why....but there are many other items...the Zodiac cut the bloody shirt from Mr. Stine's body...I am sure they have the pieces of shirt that Zodiac mailed... touch DNA could possibly still come up with an answer...this isn't a dead issue. I have a few items I disagree with author on....The author theorizes that Zodiac understood about DNA without knowing it based on other experience...mainly because there is no discernible DNA from the stamps or envelopes...I am not convinced of that.....Back in the 70's and I am sure before...many people who had lots of correspondence did NOT want to constantly be licking stamps nor envelopes...for that reason they had a bowl with a sponge...they would run the envelope or the stamp over the sponge...thus wetting it ...this was very common and I would be interested to know if the suspect had this...but next to impossible to know... One other thing that surprised me...the author had a chance to interview the suspect and answered questions...which after the interview were found to be lies...and the author was very upset he was lied to....he mentioned this several times...but all I kept thinking...uhhhh...murderer? liar? uhhh..yep.... I would have been amazed if he had told the truth on anything... The author did review things several times...and sometimes I was ...ok..yes I know...but I can understand...he was building a case...and he did it well.... I was not far into the book when I was totally on board...if this isn't the Zodiac...then I don't feel it will ever be solved...this is just an amazing book with amazing stories of how the author first fell into this suspect...pretty much just a shot in the dark...and BANG! Did I say the book was amazing? let me repeat ...This book is amazing!...for any true crime fan ...it is a fantastic book....for any Zodiac detective...it is the most important work to come out...possibly ever...the naysayers...well..there is a difference between wanting to solve the case and wanting the notoriety of solving the case...thankfully...this book...Mr. Rodelli....wants to solve the case...and I pray that enough pressure is put on San Fran Police to move on this...to get DNA to test...and find out...truthfully...no lie....is this the Zodiac.... Mr. Rodelli....fantastic job!

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Well-written, I devoured it in a couple of sittings. I love true crime books and this one was no exception. It's taken him 20 years but Mike Rodelli finally thinks he knows who the Zodiac Killer actually is... I won't give any spoilers in this review but it's a must read. Thank you to NetGalley and Indigo River Publishing for providing me with an advance copy to read.

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Wow. Can I say wow? I lived near SF during this time period and remember the fear. We wouldn't go to SF while this was going on and before we were there constantly. I've probably read every book on the Zodiac. (I also worked with one of the people Graysmith dedicated his book to.) But I've always put the book down at the end with doubt. Yes, even Graysmiths. But not this one. Not. This. One. Very well researched and investigated. All the pieces just fall into place. I do wish it was edited better so as not to be so repetitive but it's still a fascinating book. I'm so mad at myself for sitting on this book for a month.

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This book was such great true crime madness. Basically in how dna is changing the way officers think and approach crimes, especially cold and unsolved cases. Definitely worth the read if you are a true crime junky like me. I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.

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Uhm, wow! True crime fans, this is for us! The unraveling of the story of the zodiac killer is really fascinating and as a layman's person, I am in awe of all the work and the evidence that were pulled through in order to solve who the zodiac killer was. I couldn't put this one down!

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I quite enjoyed this book and I do want to get a physical copy of this book. The author have some really good points but to me there were points that were a little stretched. At those points the author did lose me some and made question his suspect. Then at other parts he would make me come back to his side. I will be reading more from Mike Rodelli and I will recommend this book to all my true crime loving friends. I want to think Netgalley, Indigo River Publishing and Mike Rodelli for letting read and review this book.

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I really enjoyed this book! Having read quite a few books, watched a few docs and films about the Zodiac case, I can certainly say that this book raised some interesting (and original) points. Of course, not all the evidence was flawless (some even felt a bit repetitive), but even so, I liked the effort of the author in trying to back up all his claims with research and investigation. I think it is impressive that more than 50 years after the murders, there are still people who attempt to actively contribute to the investigation of the zodiac case. This is something that every true crime lover, such as myself, can surely appreciate! Thank you to @netgalley, Indigo River Publishing and Mike Rodelli for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I’ve always been interested in this case. It’s the stuff of horror movies. A man torments the Bay Area for 6 years, commits multiple murders, threatens to bomb a school bus, then fades away into obscurity. How does a murderer in such a highly publicized case get away with it for over 50 years? How has no one come forward with information? The book is about one man’s obsessive desire to solve the case. Rodelli isn’t the first - and probably won’t be the last - citizen sleuth to become obsessed with the Zodiac. (Robert Graysmith is likely the most notorious example). Rodelli believes he has succeeded in unmasking the identity of the Zodiac. Is he right? You’ll have to read the book and draw your own conclusions. I won’t spoil the book by divulging the name of his suspect. Rodelli makes a compelling case. At one point, he even interviewed his suspect at the suspect’s request. I’m not sure I agree with some of his conclusions, but no one can fault his dedication to trying to solve this case. He tracked down witnesses, met and befriended the original investigators. Rodelli even employed a forensic psychologist (the Vidocq Society’s Richard Walter) to take advantage of techniques that weren’t available to detectives in the 60s and 70s. He lays out the clearest narrative I’ve read of the Zodiac’s crimes. Including details of the attack at Lake Berryessa that Graysmith got wrong. He also manages to bring home how seemingly minor, random decisions made by the victims were the difference between life and death - choosing to go to the library instead of the beach or simply staying out an hour past curfew. He methodically takes apart Graysmith’s case for making Arthur Lee Allen the prime suspect. Too tall. Too hefty. Too bald. Rodelli makes a compelling case for his suspect. Matching significant dates in this man’s life (one example: the suspect’s mother died on Dec 20, 1939. The Lake Herman murders were committed Dec 29, 1968) to the dates of the Zodiac’s crimes. Is this proof positive that his suspect is guilty? I wouldn’t say the case is closed, but Rodelli’s suspect is certainly far more viable than anyone else I’ve seen named. If I fault the author for anything, it’s his tendency to try to drop Easter eggs in the narrative. Repeatedly alluding to things he’s going to tell you later in the book. I realize he’s doing this to maintain interest, but it occasionally disrupts the flow of his narrative. On one point the author and I disagree. I still feel the DNA should be further analyzed (if possible). I wonder if detectives have tried entering the “problematic” (as Rodelli puts it) Zodiac DNA into the Gedmatch database? Even if the DNA on the envelopes isn’t his (as some have theorized), it belonged to someone close enough to lick those envelopes. Find that person and you’re one step closer to finding him. Even if he’s dead, the victims deserve to know who he was, and that he can never harm another person. Even if you disagree with Rotelli’s conclusions regarding the identity of the Zodiac, his correction of errors made by Graysmith (and other Zodiac chroniclers) makes this book worth reading.

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this was a really interesting book about the Zodiac killer, the author makes a good argument and shows evidence to back their claim.

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