Monday, May 4, 2015

The Black Dahlia, Possible Break + The Botanist Launch Party

Did you know...

That a retired LAPD detective believes his father may have been the man who murdered the Black Dahlia?

Detective Steve Hodel (Source)
It's true. Detective Steve Hodel has been claiming for years that his father may be responsible for as many as ten unsolved Hollywood murders, including that of Elizabeth Short.

Hodel's father, George Hodel, was a doctor of ill repute. Abortions were illegal in the '40s, and Dr. Hodel was one of only a few doctors in the Hollywood area willing to perform them at the time.

Jean Spangler, another famous actress at the time, disappeared around the same time the Black Dahlia's body turned up. Though Spangler's body was never found, it was rumored that she was thinking of having an abortion. She disappeared and was never seen again. Hodel's research also uncovered the fact that Spangler and his father had a mutual friend. 

Dr. George Hodel (Source)
At the time, the Hodel family lived in the Sowden house, a very distinctive Hollywood residence. Detective Hodel believes his father killed more than one woman in the basement. He has established that when the Black Dahlia murder occurred, he and his siblings were out of town with their mother, leaving his father alone at home for several days.

George Hodel, as it turns out, was a suspect in the Dahlia case, but he was only one of countless perps. The cops of the '40s actually installed a listening device at the Hollywood residence. Transcripts shows that they caught snatches of Hodel discussing the Dahlia case. At one point they heard something in the basement that might have been a woman screaming. 

Abruptly, George Hodel fled to Asia in the late '40s, abandoning his family.

The Sowder house, Hollywood foothills (Source)
Because the house is old, the basement still has a dirt floor. Detective Hodel had soil samples taken which established that there definitely are human remains present in the soil. Further analysis showed that the human markers in the soil are consistent with humans being buried in shallow graves 70 or 80 years ago.

Hodel wants to investigate further, but he hasn't been able to get permission to do more excavation of the hillside because it's privately owned. 

He first published his suspicions and findings in his 2003 book Black Dahlia Avenger. (I totally want to read that.) More details HERE.

Something I was thinking about with this: most great crime fiction is stand-alone and ends with the criminal (usually murderer or serial killer) being caught or killed. Mystery/crime is second only to romance in genre sales. That's because we're so intrigued by mystery, but we also love to see good win out in the end. 

And rightly so. Jane Austin once said she gave her characters happy endings because life could be so cruel, so fiction should end well. After reading stories like the above, I feel that way about crime fiction. It should always end well because heaven knows there are plenty of unsolved crimes in real life. And the people involved never get closure. 

So, what do you think? Do you think this detective's father could be the infamous Black Dahlia killer?

Launch Party

I had my launch party for The Botanist over the weekend. It went very well. Lots of people showed up and I sold more copies that I thought I would. Always a plus!  There are some pics below. Mot of them are my family members.

So yeah, The Botanist is officially out! Yea! :D

In the heat of the desert, Detective Cody Oliver inadvertently stumbles upon a strange garden adorned with exotic flowers. Upon closer inspection, he finds the garden is but a cover for the scores of bodies buried below. Soon, the small town of Mt. Dessicate plunges into chaos as journalists, reporters, and cameramen from across the nation descend upon the tiny, desert town to get a piece of the action.

Along with the media, a mysterious woman appears. She may be the only person who has come face to face with the killer, dubbed the Botanist, and lived to tell the tale. If Cody can't piece together a timeline of the land the crime scene is located on, decipher how the woman's mysterious past is connected to the killer, and bring the Botanist to justice, he may lose the people he values most.


  1. Congratulations! Looks like a great release party.
    It certainly sounds like George killed those women. Hopefully he can get permission to dig there and find evidence. Is the house still standing or is it gone? Because it is one wild looking house.

    1. Thanx Alex! Yeah the party was super fun. I believe the house is still standing. And yeah, it's definitely distinctive. I totally want to read his book and follow his progress. Maybe he has a blog. Hmmm...