AWRW Way Back Wednesday: Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer, by Mike Newton & Janice Knowlton

Way Back Wednesday is a Book Meme created by A Well Read Woman with the aim to write mini book reviews on waybackwednesdaybooks read in the past, that left a lasting impression.

You know what kind of books I am talking about… The ones that you have read multiple times, and they still bring you nostalgia. Books like these are the reason you enjoy reading.

So grab that old-dusty-yet-loved-book off the shelf, glance it over, write a mini review, and join in with me on Wednesdays! EVERYONE is welcome to participate.

This week I am featuring the controversial true crime book, Daddy Was The Black Dahlia Killer, by Authors Mike Newton, and Janice Knowlton. With an average rating of 2.8/5 on Goodreads, you might wonder why this book left any impression at all on me.

Truth is, I’m inclined to believe Janice Knowlton… and if she is a liar, or is suffering from a false-memory disorder, that just makes this book all the more interesting to me.

Daddy Was The Black Dahlia Killer reminds me of Sybil, as far as how the victim worked with a therapist to uncover “memories” (in Janice’s case), that may have not ever existed, much like Sybil’s memories of abuse and multiple personalities, which were later discounted.

George Knowlton, the man accused, died in a car crash many years ago, and was never as much as suspected, never mind punished. Janice’s step-sister has gone on record to call this book “trash”, and she said that George was mean, but not a killer.

Was Janice Knowlton’s father the black dahlia killer? Perhaps we will never have an answer, but she sure does make a strong case for it!

Here are the book details:

It is one of the most enduringly fascinating crimes in American history. On January 15, 1947, passersby made a grisly discovery in a vacant lot in Los Angeles: the body of a naked young woman, cut in two, and savagely mutilated. The victim was identified as Elizabeth Short, a struggling Hollywood actress.

Nicknamed the Black Dahlia by a headline-hungry press, her lurid demise sparked a desperate manhunt. But the mystery of the Black Dahlia murder remained unsolved for nearly half a century — until now.

A victim of incest and brutality from infancy, Janice Knowlton was an old hand at repressing hideous memories by age ten, when she watched her father, George Frederick Knowlton, torture, kill, and dismember Elizabeth Short in the detached garage of their California home. It was not the first of Daddy’s murders Jon had witnessed, and it would not be the last — but she had been so traumatized that it took over four decades for fragments of her memory to resurface.

Aided by a family counselor specializing in child abuse, Jan experienced a nightmare flood of childhood memories — and realized that she had witnessed her father commit up to nine savage and sadistic murders, including that of her own infant son, a child of incest. Using census records, maps, family interviews, police reports, and clippings from a dozen newspapers to document her searing memories, Janice exposes her father’s thirty-year rampage of rape and murder in this astonishing survivor’s testament — and provides persuasive evidence that Los Angeles law enforcement authorities always knew the shocking truth…

Mena Suvari as Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia

Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Pocket Books
Purchase, Amazon (USA)
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4 thoughts on “AWRW Way Back Wednesday: Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer, by Mike Newton & Janice Knowlton

  1. Oh, wow, it’s the first time I heard about this book. I can understand it making an impression on you – whether it’s true or not. I had a look at the reviews on Amazon and is seems most of the one stars are given because people don’t believe the story is true – but if it isn’t true then Janice Knowlton is seriously disturbed and needs help. I see the book was reissued in 2014. Curious. However, it’s not available in the UK so I’ll pass on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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