The energy was palpable at the library Thursday night as library director Steve Fjeldsted introduced the incredible duo of Steve Hodel and Daniel Vasquez. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Hodel, he is a man who over the course of decades has made it his life’s pursuit to prove that his own father, George Hodel, is indeed the Black Dahlia murderer. He has, to date, released six books ( including the recently published Black Dahlia Avenger III ), all dedicated to his intense and immersive investigation into George.
Daniel Vasquez who, along with his wife Anne, began chronicling and writing about Steve’s journey down the rabbit hole and becoming enraptured and immersed in the intricate web of details and theories surrounding the Black Dahlia.
With each subsequent release, however, Hodel has offered more and more evidence and intriguing theories to support his claims. This most recent book may be the most interesting yet, with one revelatory artifact that has given even more credence to Hodel’s work: a letter. A letter which was penned by W. Glenn Martin, a former LAPD informant, addressed to his grand-daughters and kept a secret for many years. The letter references, quite possibly, George Hodel (or GH as referenced in said letter), and the fear of repercussions by exposing the true killer.
Hodel’s presentation was an outline of his latest publication, a plethora of both new and old information ranging from George’s youth as an artistic and intellectual prodigy, to connections within the Hollywood and Surrealist elite ( Man Ray, Jack Parsons ), and even speculation that George may have also been the infamous Zodiac killer.
Daniel and his wife Anne, told of their experiences working with Steve for the past several months and how this was the first project they had worked on as a team despite being together for about two decades. Their attention to detail and desire to give an honest depiction of Hodel and his story is evident by how passionately they spoke.
As for Steve Hodel, his piercing eyes and stern posture are the mark of a forthright yet sincere man. The manner in which he speaks is both that of a true detective – with Vasquez comparing his writing to the likes of a police report – and a man who everyday is seeking personal closure, not just for his sake but for the victims’ families as well. It’s evident that his dedication to the case stems more from a diligent duty rather than any kind of self-gain.
During the Q&A dozens of people had their questions, many of which were both thoughtful and quite personal. The enthusiasm that the audience showed was overwhelming, but Steve and Daniel were happy to oblige as though they could have gone on all night.
Perhaps some of the most chilling things discussed were the likelihood that George Hodel was the Zodiac Killer (Steve’s estimation is that it there is a 70/30 chance) and the personal impact this case has had on his mental health with Hodel expressing going through anger, depression, revelation.
The night wrapped up with a long line of admirers waiting to meet Hodel and to get a signed copy of his book, Black Dahlia Avenger III.
A special thanks to library director Steve Fjeldsted for hosting the event and being so involved with bringing this great author (and many others) to our town. You can visit the South Pasadena Public Library’s site here, for more events like this.
And of course a very special thanks to Steve Hodel, whose new book is for purchase here, Daniel and Anne Vasquez, whose exceptional article about Steve Hodel can be read here, and finally to all that came out to the event on Thursday evening!