Tit Willow

Tit Willow: The Story of the Zodiac Killer

Tit Willow - The Story of the Zodiac Killer

Author Judith Chapman
Publisher  No Publisher (June 2012)
Availability  Paperback and Ebook format at amazon.com

Synopsis: The author, who claims to have lived with the Zodiac killer for two decades, tells her personal story. Numerous photographs and other images add interest to the story.

Although I often receive evaluation copies of books (or proposed books), I don’t often write reviews. I am generally not comfortable with passing judgment on  the written work of others, unless there is something that especially grabs my attention. This book did just that, although not for the reasons that would seem obvious from the synopsis.

The author proposes that she married and lived with the Zodiac killer for over twenty years, and she outlines a good deal of information that may (or may not) point in that direction. She isn’t the first person to claim an intimate knowledge of the uncaught killer and she certainly will not be the last. In this sense, she is but one of many others. However, that is not what captured my attention and kept me reading. In fact, I finished her book in a few hours without the usual sleepiness that often besets men of a certain advanced age.

I suppose it’s best to begin with the preliminaries that all book reviews seem to mandate. I’ll make it as quick and painless as possible, just four sentences.

This is not a polished piece of work. It has many rough spots, lacks good editing, and drifts off more than once. In other words, it is not a technically pleasing read. However, what is lacks in polish it makes up for in heart.

I have never met the author, never spoken to her, and never had more than a single-line email exchange. Yet, after reading her book, I felt as though I came to know this woman and understand her struggles. In fact, I came to like her and care much more about her personal journey than the Zodiac theory she originally  set out to memorialize.

It’s a difficult thing to describe, but one knows when a writer is being open and honest. In fact, I think all readers develop this sense after enough time and words have passed. In my view, this author was sincere and open, even when it must have been very difficult to do so. After reading her book, I felt that the writer told me everything she knew, holding nothing back. It was all there; the pain, the frustrations, the failures, and the deep fear that she often felt. She made no attempt to hide her mistakes, soft-pedal the bad times, assign blame, or make excuses for herself or anyone else. This is something I rarely find among writers, who are often careful to distance themselves from the uglier parts of their stories. This author put it all out there, as far as I can tell, and that kept me turning the pages.

Did the author achieve her goal of putting forth a solid Zodiac theory? In the end, that will have to be decided by each reader. I felt that it fell short in a number of technical areas, such as timing, dates, that kind of thing. The theory is loose, much too loose for me. However, it’s certainly at least as good as many other theories floating around in Zodiac-land. She has worked with a variety of law enforcement agencies and provided all that was asked of her. Be her right or wrong, she is going about things in a way that seems to make sense and, from what I can tell, has been above-board, even when the story became obviously very hard to recount.

Can I recommend this book? Yes, but not for the obvious reasons, as I mentioned earlier. This is a personal journey and, in many cases, it’s a painful one. I wasn’t many pages into her book before I found myself far less interested in her Zodiac theory than I was in her personal journey. Another reader may come away disappointed that the author didn’t wrap-up the Zodiac case in a neat bundle. I, for one, am glad she took me along on her journey, all the roughness notwithstanding.

This is a relatively short book but it’s not an easy read, in the traditional sense. Don’t expect lots of polish here. However, if you have a heart, this writer may just get to you the way she got to me.

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