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Insp. (Ret.) Vince Repetto, a Homicide detective from SFPD who was in charge of the Zodiac investigation in the 1990s: "In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo: The Shocking True Identity of the Zodiac Killer," by author Mike Rodelli, is a book which builds a circumstantial case claiming the infamous serial killer know as the Zodiac, was actually a successful San Francisco businessman, who fit the psychological profile that a well respected psychologist and criminal profiler, Richard Walter, developed via his analysis of the Zodiac Murder crime scenes. 


Arguably the most famous unsolved series of murders in America, the Zodiac and his murders are well known and well chronicled. Many books, articles and movies have been made, many with their own particular theory of who the Zodiac might be. Mr. Rodelli's book builds a case, piece by meticulous piece, of circumstantial evidence, until he convinces the reader that Kjell Qvale, a noted and wealthy San Franciscan, now deceased, is the vicious Zodiac killer. No one like me, born in San Francisco, who grew up in the Bay Area, and worked as a San Francisco Police Inspector for nearly 42 years,(three of those years in the Homicide Detail and assigned to the Zodiac investigation) can erase the Zodiac's crimes from their memories. The indelible impression of the Zodiac murders is, and always will be, an integral part of San Francisco history. 


Mr. Rodelli lays out a concise retelling of the Zodiac's murders, and the evidence associated with the crime scenes and the victims. He lures the reader along, with one circumstantial link after another, eventually pointing to Kjell Qvale as the Zodiac murderer. Has Mike Rodelli solved the Zodiac murders? After reading his book many will believe he has. While I read "In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo",  it became clear to me that the book derived it's voice not from the Zodiac and his murders, nor from Mr. Rodelli's suspect, Kjell Qvale. The intrigue of the book is Mike Rodelli himself. His novel approach to investigating the murders, and his dogged determination in pursuing every lead, every bit of information or evidence, is interesting and astounding. Especially, considering Mr. Rodelli is an amateur investigator, and was unpaid for his determination and diligence. For over two decades Mr. Rodelli has stalked his prey, patiently drawing the circle closer and tighter. Mr. Rodelli becomes the protagonist of this inquiry of a murder mystery over fifty years old. He brings to life the killings of the Zodiac and the reasons Kjell Qvale and the Zodiac are different images of the same man. Ultimately, we may never definitively know who the Zodiac killer was. But, one thing is clear after reading "In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo". Mike Rodelli has put more effort, inspiration and old fashioned shoe leather into the Zodiac investigation than anyone I know of. His work, his theory, and his book, deserve reading and serious consideration.

Cmdr. (Ret.) Vernon Geberth, former NYPD Homicide Detective and author of many books and articles on police work, including a major textbook on how to investigate homicide cases, Practical Homicide Investigation:

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book by Mike Rodelli after I had assisted him with some research regarding a separate serial murder case.

Admittedly I was unfamiliar with his work on The Zodiac Killer. As a murder cop I was aware that this serial killer who called himself “Zodiac” through the newspapers.  I knew that he had terrorized people in the San Francisco Bay area from December 1968 to 1974 and had sent various communications to the newspapers threatening murder and mayhem, while ridiculing the authorities as he hinted his identity.

My only other knowledge of the Zodiac case was based on a book I had read by Robert Graysmith. In the book he had quoted selected investigators and various experts, which led him to his conclusion that a man named Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac Killer. However, I was not fully convinced based on the lack of evidence and didn’t pursue any additional sources.

As I started to read Mike Rodelli’s In the Shadow of Mt. Diablo: The Shocking True Identity of the Zodiac Killer I learned that the author had been researching the Zodiac case for over twenty years.   The author takes the reader through each of the crime scenes as if reading a documentary describing and visualizing the victims at the time of the occurrence. He then presents the police reports and introduces the letters from the Zodiac. He pointed out variances in the language (Norse and British) which could possibly lead to a possible suspect based on expressions and the words he used. The research and methodology of the author is absolutely stunning. Not only does he eliminate Arthur Leigh Allen as a suspect but he refutes Graysmith’s investigation by illustrating the errors and omissions in Graysmith’s conclusions. Instead Rodelli focused in on a completely different suspect named Kjell Qvale.

Rodelli employed behavioral profiling and analysis as well as controversial DNA to build an impressive case against this seemingly unusual suspect. Even if you don’t think that Qvale is the real Zodiac Killer you have to be impressed with the author’s meticulous and documented circumstantial evidence including two eye witness accounts from Presidio Heights, which explicitly point to Qvale as the actual Zodiac and not Arthur Leigh Allen.   

As the author of the nationally renowned textbook Practical Homicide Investigation and a Murdercop with over 56 years of experience I was unquestioningly impressed with the author’s investigative acumen and absolute perseverance. His assertion that Qvale is the most logical Zodiac suspect based on circumstance and coincidence is a reasonable conclusion.

Tom Zoellner author, Professor of English at Chapman University and former reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle:


It is no exaggeration to call the identity of the Zodiac Killer the most maddening unsolved crime in American history. Tens of millions of words have been spilled on various theories. But it is also no exaggeration to say that Mike Rodelli's case stands above them all for the depth of his research, the ingenuity of his insights, the lucid quality of his prose, the bulldoggedness of his dedication and his calmly methodical way of showing how the violence might have emanated from the highest levels of San Francisco society. Not everyone will agree with his startling conclusion to the case, but connoisseurs of true crime can certainly agree that Rodelli has made himself into a reluctant master of the genre: a detective's sensibility matched with a novelist's talent for storytelling. Had he been in Bay Area law enforcement when Zodiac was active, we might not have needed this book."



fabrizio morviducci <>

Apr 9, 2021, 11:16 AM

to me

Have you news from the reporter you were interviewed by? Does he publish something?


Fabrizio Morviducci

giornalista professionista

+39 328 4329925

Michael Rodelli <>

Apr 9, 2021, 11:24 AM

to fabrizio

Yes and no. I sent him basically the same long analysis of the monster case that I sent to Michele, who only use a very small portion of what I wrote. He wrote back to me said he's going to read it and speak to his editor and see if he wants to do a video interview with me and ask me more questions that he originally had. So he's still digesting what I wrote.


 In fact given the apparent success of the article that Michele wrote I was kind of surprised he didn't want to do a follow-up and cover some of the other points I made but that was up to him of course. What I'm talking about is my belief that the monster case is not a conspiracy and not a Satanist conspiracy and not the picnic friends and the Zodiac and the monster are not the same person based on profiling.



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