An explosive and historic New York Times bestseller of true crime and an emotionally powerful and revelatory memoir of a man whose ten-year search for his biological father leads to a chilling discovery: His father is one of the most notorious-and still at large-serial killers in America—THE BASIS FOR A 4-PART FX DOCUMENTARY MINISERIES.
“I promise that you’ve never read anything like The Most Dangerous Animal of All. Mesmerizing from the first page, the story includes a shattering surprise that will sear itself in your memory. Be prepared to read non-stop; this really is a book you won’t be able to put down.” —Jeff Guinn, author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson
Soon after his birthmother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. It was a quest that would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world.
Written with award-winning author and journalist Susan D. Mustafa, The Most Dangerous Animal of All tells the story of Stewart’s decade-long hunt for his father following a complex trail of startling twists and connections. Combing through government records and news reports and through conversations with his father’s relatives and friends, Stewart turns up a host of clues, including forensic evidence, identifying his father as one of the most infamous and still-wanted serial killers in American history.
When an author purports to have uncovered the truth about a notorious unsolved series of murders, let alone that the killer was his own father, it's vital to establish credibility from the outset; unfortunately, Stewart's concession that the narrative "of father's early life" is fictionalized gets things started badly. The unreliability of those sections is a significant drawback that engenders skepticism long before Stewart presents any evidence to support his claim that his biological father, who abandoned him as an infant, was responsible for the murders that terrorized San Francisco in the 1960s. And that evidence is far less impressive than Stewart believes a resemblance between a wanted poster's image and a picture of his father, a tortured interpretation of a coded message, some ambiguous partial fingerprint, and handwriting evidence. The motive for the crimes-ostensibly the enactment of revenge fantasies on young women resembling Stewart's mother is also unconvincing, as the author fails to even address the killing of a cabbie that could not have been so motivated. The kicker is the decision to publish before DNA test results are available that could significantly strengthen or weaken the theory.