David Thomson, Author, Film Critic-Historian Extraordinaire Thank You for Your New York Times Book Review of Black Dahlia Avenger and an EarlyHappy Birthday!

February 6, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
I want to wish author and film critic/historian David Thomson an early (February 18) HAPPY BIRTHDAY. (Turns out we are the same age, and David  is just eight months my senior.)
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank and reprint his New York Times Book Review of Black Dahlia Avenger (Arcade 2003). David was my very first review of the hardback edition which remains one of my all-time favorite reviews.

David Thomson, recipient of the Mel Novikoff Award at the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 24 – May 8, 2014
Excerpt from below NYT Book Review (May 18, 2003):
...” George Hodel, I think, is fit company for some of noir’s most civilized villains–like Waldo Lydecket in “Laura,” Harry Lime in “The Third Man” or even Noah Cross in “Chinatown,” the man who (thanks to the screenwriter, Robert Towne) warned us, “Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and right place, they’re capable of anything.” And what had Cross done? Raped his daughter, and his city, and lived into old age.”

Below is a great radio interview with David and his amazing Wikipedia bio.

CBC Radio. June 19, 2015 David Thomson, film critic extraordinaire

David Thomson, Wikipedia



  1. Patricia ONeill on February 8, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    Steve: Interesting David Thomson interview….. learned some interesting things about 2 of my favorites: Archie Leach and Marlon Brando, may they RIP😇! As for Thomson’s review of “Black Dahlia Avenger” his two statements: ”Steve Hodel speaks of himself as a good solid cop, and that’s the way he writes. Don’t pick up this book for the jazzy rage of James Ellroy…….melancholy atmospherics of Raymond Chandler……you’ll be too busy clinging to the narrative etc…… say it all!
    And that talent got you an Edgar Award for True Crime! One can speculate on just what your relationship was with George Hodel but at this point that is rather futile. What counts is that you, Steve, were there to take the helm when Tamar’s revelation to you brought forth the much needed Steve Hodel we know today👍! As a closing thought I must add after reading “BLACK DAHLIA AVENGER, A Los Angeles Superior Court Trial by The Quick and the Dead” reveals (IMO) you have the talent to write fiction ala Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, Michael Connelly! Might open up a whole new world for you…..think about it😉! 😎🌵

    • Steve Hodel on February 8, 2024 at 5:15 pm

      Patricia O:
      Thanks as always for being a friend and supporter. Greatly appreciated.
      Yours is a novel idea. (Pun intended.) But, not sure I got it in me to start a new career at this stage.
      Beginning to find myself thinking, “I’ve been spending the last 24 years underground in them darn Rabbit Holes.” Maybe its time to keep my head above ground and do a little grazing in the pasture. Will see how this year unfolds. Stay safe and happy. Steve

  2. Fauna EH " dew" on February 11, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    The reference to China town. I must thank michelle phillips for sharing Tamar’s story which Michelle knew of,
    my Mother’s past ….sharing that story with the public in her book” “CALIFORNIA DREAMING” explains how the “CHINATOWN” Movie, was born.
    In CHINATOWN, she kept her father’s baby,. This was not true in reality. Both Movies INTO THE NIGHT & CHINATOWN are around forcimg Tamar Hodel to keep her child….no DNA to PROVE otherwise in 1974…Sadly.

  3. Kami on February 27, 2024 at 9:59 pm

    Damn. All of this is so crazy. How does one still manage to have the moral drive to spread the truth & stand by justice? And how does one remain having positive memories of the past? Isn’t it all very contradictory & conflicting at times??

    I think your life situation is a symbolic metaphor for Los Angeles, if not for America itself in general. Wealthy, educated, intelligent & artistic Californian/American family with an unconventional & dark past. It is utter-mostly a story of money, power, corruption, evil though also one about justice, hope, pain, loss, closure and forgiveness somewhere along the line. This is at least my observation, coming from my “European” thoughts & eyes. Your life, your family and all of your investigations are probably one of the most interesting American stories ever, and it’s not even fictional, which is the wildest fact. Not even HBO could write this stuff up (give them a couple of years, and they won’t be hesitating to write a biopic series about you though haha).

    To me all of this represents what Los Angeles (or America) truly is – An interesting place that builds itself with the grand, fascinating, fairy-tale-like narrative, a world filled with glamour & beauty, where instances of rot and evil try to corrupt it constantly. I believe that’s why the Black Dahlia, your father’s involvement and Fauna Hodel’s story are so interesting to people – it represents that exactly. If the Kennedys, the Kardashians and the Coppola’s belong somewhere, as metaphorical families for the “great American” narrative, I think you belong somewhere in that narrative too. Life truly works in strange ways.

    • Kami on February 27, 2024 at 10:08 pm

      By the way, I also just wanted to say that I am truly sorry about the trauma you or your family had to endure, having a life like yours, must not have been the easiest I assume.

      Thank you for your dedication and work Steve/Mr.. Hodel!

    • Steve hodel on February 28, 2024 at 12:09 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful responses. Much appreciated..
      Yes, no question that George Hill Hodel M.D. was one of the most remarkable men and monsters ever known to Los Angeles and “Hollywood.” The true story of: L.A. Confidential meets Hannibal Lecter in Chinatown. One super strong man of Pure Evil, ruling weak and corrupt politicians and policemen in Los Ciudad de Los Diablos. So tragic. So sad. Thanks again, Steve

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