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Author Gary L. Stewart and publisher HarperCollins have managed to keep his new book a secret until today, its release date. In The Most Dangerous Animal of All, Stewart claims that his father is the notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California but whose true identity was never found.
As late as Monday, the book had no cover and there was no press about it, until HarperCollins spoke with New York Magazine. HarperCollins publicist Tina Andreadis told the site that Stewart, the vice president of a cleaning company in Louisiana, researched for 12 years before he was ready to go public. After the publisher picked up the pitch for an undisclosed amount, Stewart was assigned to work with crime writer Susan Mustafa.
“Our lawyers felt it was legally sound,” Andreadis said, although she noted that they had not contacted the San Francisco Police Department. The book reveals that the department, which investigated the murders, “knew more than they’re willing to admit,” the publicist told New York Magazine.
Andreadis added that Stewart has a shocking resemblance to the sketches of the Zodiac Killer, but offered few other details. According to The LA Times, Stewart started his search for his father after his birth mother contacted him. He kept a journal of his investigation, which he used for the book.
The Zodiac Killer murdered at least five people between 1968 and 1969, according to authorities. Other books have claimed to know where or who the killer is, including 2012’s The Zodiac Killer Cover Up, which claimed he was alive and living in Northern California.
Of course, the killer has been a subject for popular culture and the investigation was chronicled in David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac with Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr.