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Zodiac Unmasked Mass Market Paperback – 2 January 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 543 ratings

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Product description

About the Author

Robert Graysmith is the New York Times bestselling author of several true crime novels including Zodiac, Zodiac Unmasked, Auto Focus, and Amerithrax. The major motion pictures Zodiac and Auto Focus are based on his books. A San Francisco Chronicle political cartoonist and artist for fifteen years, he lives in San Francisco.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley; Reprint edition (2 January 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 528 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0425212734
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0425212738
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 272 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 10.8 x 3.51 x 17.15 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 543 ratings

About the author

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Robert Graysmith, award winning political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle for twelve years and a New York Times bestselling author, illustrates his true crime books in pen and ink. His ten books have been translated into twelve languages. The major motion pictures, Zodiac and AutoFocus, were based on three of his books. He has read Zodiac Unmasked, AutoFocus, and Black Fire as unabridged audiobooks. He lives in San Francisco, where he collects original comic art and writes children’s books.






“Provocative...Bizarre...Graysmith's taunt narrative brings the horror back

with jolt upon jolt.”--San Francisco Chronicle

“A true-crime classic.”--Arizona Republic

“A chilling real-life detective story.”

--Savannah News-Press


“Chilling, carefully researched book on the parolee-turned-killer . . . with building tension, Graysmith takes us behind police lines.”--San Francisco Chronicle


“One of the more intriguing unsolved murders in show-biz history . . . will keep the reader turning the pages.”

--Detroit Free Press

“Graysmith retells every date and sexual activity the star engaged in...gruesomely sexy.”--Kirkus Reviews

“Poetic and powerful . . . “--Gannett Newspapers

“Intricate case study...”--Real Crime Book Digest

“Scrupulously researched . . .”--Arizona Republic

“A carefully done study . . . ”

--Publisher's Weekly


“An intensive portrait of the Unabomber”--Variety

“The work of a careful and conscientious investigative reporter . . . thought provoking . . .”--Bill Tafoya, Expert FBI Profiler, Crime and Justice International.


“Graysmith is a gifted writer whose rat-a-tat, driving style is ideal for a true crime narrative . . . an exciting, gripping thriller that will be appreciated by Ripper buffs and those who enjoy a fine nail-biter.”--BookList


“Graysmith provides never-before-published photos, a complete reproduction of all the Zodiac letters, and a scary and disturbing account of pure evil. Libraries with a readership interested in true-crime tales will definitely want to stock up on this probable bestseller . . . Now readers can learn all that he has learned in investigating the case further, including the chief suspect.”--Booklist


“I loved this book. You won’t want to miss it.”--Readaholic

“A sprawling tale of police corruption and a horrifying series of bizarre, gruesome murders . . . Compellingly wicked.”--Kirkus Reviews

“Graysmith’s strength is painting a picture of metropolitan life in the 1920s and ‘30s . . . Told through the eyes of San Francisco Chief of Detectives Charles Dullea, an honest cop braced against the crippling weight of his corrupt police force.”

--San Francisco Chronicle


“[An] unsettling true-crime story."

--Library Journal

“A bizzare real-life mystery... groundbreaking... truly unique."

--Crime Time

“An ambitious work."--Library Journal

“This book has all the makings of a great noir classic…fascinating, both as true crime, as film history, and as cultural history. It’s clear the author was present in the times and researched his topics thoroughly. He manages to convey a real sense of what it was like in America in the 1960s, both in the entertainment industries of Los Angeles and Las Vegas and in more average walks of life.”--CA Reviews

“This is both a fascinating concept and intriguing read…a bizarre real-life mystery. In this groundbreaking narrative, Graysmith calls Marli's sudden disappearance into question, asking whether her end echoes that of the girl in Alfred Hitchcock's shower or if she is still alive today? Graysmith has produced a truly unique book.”--Crime Time

“[Graysmith’s] back in the true crime game with another unusual murder case. It's a rich enough story that Graysmith's book might make an interesting film in its own right.”



“With Black Fire, Robert Graysmith introduces us to a Tom Sawyer we’ve never seen before, the real one. Thoroughly researched, written with verve and a storyteller’s eye for detail and character, Graysmith sets us right down at the card table, beer I hand, and lets us listen as one of America’s most important authors gets to know the incredible true story of the actual Tom Sawyer--firefighter, adventurer, hero. Black Fire is a rollicking tale, well-told: it’s safe to say that Mr. Samuel Clemens himself would have heartily approved.”--Mike Medavoy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Pictures

“A worthy first telling of an unknown but gripping story, Black Fire ignites the reader’s fascination from the first page onward. The story of the real Tom Sawyer is as riveting a tale as the classic novel he inspired.”--David Zucker, president of television at Scott Free Productions and executive producer of The Good Wife

“Few nonfiction writers can match Robert Graysmith for capturing a city on the edge. Like he did in Zodiac, Graysmith paints a picture of San Francisco held siege by a mysterious criminal. I couldn’t put it down.”--Larry Karaszewski, screenwriter of Ed Wood

“Tom Sawyer was real? Who knew? Robert Graysmith, that’s who! Graysmith mined gold rush San Francisco and came up with 18 carats--a card-playing buddy of Mark Twain who tracks a serial arsonist. You can feel the heat and taste the ash on every page.”--Michael Chernuchin, Executive Producer of Law & Order

“I was Robert Graysmith’s editor for Zodiac. Black Fire shows him with his reportorial and narrative skills intact. It’s good to meet the real Tom Sawyer. I’ll keep him in mind when I read Twain to my grandchildren.”--Richard Marek, Former President and Publisher, EP Dutton

“A sizzling tale . . . [Graysmith] uncovers Mark Twain’s friendship with the real-life Sawyer--a colorful figure in the city’s early firefighting culture--and paints a detailed portrait of San Francisco, circa 1849-1866. It’s jam-packed with notable residents whose long-ago importance lingers in the city’s street names (Broderick, Brannan)--plus mustachioed hooligans and ‘The Lightkeeper,’ as arsonist as mysterious as he was destructive.”--San Francisco Bay Guardian

“The journalist delved deep into archival material to find the connection between Mark Twain and a heroic San Francisco firefighter named Tom Sawyer, who became the model for one of Twain’s most beloved characters.”--Sacramento Bee

“Mark Twain fanatics and firefighter-history buffs alike will flock to the tale of the real-life Tom Sawyer’s adventures fighting fires in the Gold Rush-era city, depicted in remarkable detail by Graysmith . . . Black Fire captures the spirit of rugged adventure so beloved in Twain’s work and so characteristic of the undaunted city built--time and time again--on the hopes of fortune- hunters.”--Booklist

“Rich . . . Lively and chock-full of eye-opening tidbits.” --Kirkus Reviews

“Packing a whirlwind of events around dizzying details of boggy, impassable streets choked with decaying refuse, characters of all manner of disrepute, throughout a booming city haphazardly constructed of highly flammable material from the east, into one of the most tumultuous periods in San Francisco’s storied history . . . the book truly shines.’--Publishers Weekly



“A Mind-bending, Nonstop Mesmerizer of a Movie . . . “--Rolling Stone

“Fascinating and uncompromising. . . Zodiac holds you in its grip from start to finish.”--Newsweek

The first feature film in history filmed entirely as raw data without film, tape or video compression. On May 17, 2007 Zodiac was the official US entry at the 60th Cannes Film Festival for the Palm d Or and the first time David Fincher has been invited to appear in competition at Cannes. Zodiac received a five minute standing ovation.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
543 global ratings

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MH Darlington
3.0 out of 5 stars ignoring evidence that contradicts his favoured suspect and making pretty tenuous interpretations of other evidence that
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 28 March 2018
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J. Fothergill
4.0 out of 5 stars All about Allen
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helen carolan
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a page turner.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 31 January 2021
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, but book dragged on at times
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 24 May 2012
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Mech. Eng.
1.0 out of 5 stars Detailed record more that a structured story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 27 September 2020
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