by Carlos E. Castañeda

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The co-author of a new book to be published on Tuesday after months of being kept secret claims his father is the notorious Zodiac killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area decades ago.

The book, titled The Most Dangerous Animal of All, was co-written by Gary L. Stewart, an adoptee whose research into his biological father’s identity led him to conclude his father, Earl Van Best Jr., was the serial killer.

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The claim of the Zodiac killer’s identity being revealed is the latest of several, differing claims since 2007. None of the claims have ever been proven.

According to the book’s summary:

The Most Dangerous Animal of All tells the story of Stewart’s decade-long search 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.

Staffers at the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, have kept the book’s subject matter out of the press, according to New York magazine.

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The summary does not mention the Zodiac killer; however, New York magazine quoted publisher HarperCollins publicist Tina Andreadis who said Stewart alleges in the book his father was the Zodiac killer.

The report said HarperCollins lawyers vetted the 367-page book for accuracy. “Our lawyers felt it was legally sound,” Andreadis told New York magazine.

Stewart details Van Best’s criminal record and shows the strong resemblance between the police sketch of the Zodiac killer and his father’s police mugshot, while alleging the San Francisco Police Department “knew more than they’re willing to admit,” Andreadis told the magazine.

The Zodiac killer murdered at least five people and injured two others in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Lake Berryessa area in the late 60s and early 70s and is suspected in four other killings. The killer came up with the Zodiac name in a series of cryptic letters sent to newspapers and police.

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