In this fictionalized treatment of a real case, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, both LA cops obsessed with the Black Dahlia, journey through the seamy underside of Hollywood to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.
©1987 James Ellroy; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.
"Passionate, violent, frustrating...imaginative and bizarre." (Los Angeles Times)
"Ellroy's powerful rendering of the long-reaching effects of murder gives the case new meaning." (Library Journal)
"Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion, and deceit, with the perfect setting of booming, postwar Los Angeles." (Publishers Weekly)
The book was very good, one of the better Audible listens in the two plus years that I've been a member. The narator deserves special mention: Without a doubt, the best naration of all the books I've listened to since joining Audible.
I enjoyed this listen, but would strongly warn those easily offended by violence, racial slurs, bias, language, and the like to choose an alternative. That said, this novel takes some time getting started as a good deal of time is devoted to establishing main character back story, but upon the discovery of "The Dahlia," the plot snaps along without losing any momentum or quality. Sometimes depressing, sometimes outright funny, sometimes uplifting, this novel easily takes its rightful place within the Noir/Crime genre, and for those who enjoyed "L.A. Confidential," it is a sure bet. **Bonus author interview included wherein author identifies his thought processes and motivations associated with the writing of "The Black Dahlia."
Filled with spooky noir nuances, outrageous storylines and complex characters, this is a don't miss book. That's not to say that it doesn't have it's flaws. There are some plot points that make very little sense, and some of the story is downright gory. However, as a whole, it makes for great listening, full of old Hollywood lore and 40's detective lingo.
I purchased and downloaded this well before the film release, fully intending to have it listened to before I saw the movie. I'm actually glad that I didn't read the book before the movie, because while the movie stands on it's own as entertainment, it is nothing next to the book. It's lengthy and requires your full attention, but I think you will find it's worth it.
I woudn't recommend this book for anyone who cannot handle violence in their literature . . . that being said, the book was very compelling and didn't just cover the tragedy of the murder of a young woman; it also gave us a look at the darkness of the lives of our main characters. Being able to get a picture of what drove the characters to be portrayed in the manner they were helped the book flow better and gave insight to their actions. After reading this book I was driven to do internet searches and learn more about the true crime that occured - I had never heard of the Black Dahlia before. I did feel a little lost in the final chapters of the book as I felt they skipped around a lot; however I did walk away from the story feeling like justice was served in the story (and hopefully in real life). I have recommended this book to several of my friends.
Let me say I am a rabid fan of James Ellroy.
His genius is that he goes into his characters souls and he understands the human soul very well.
Be aware that his mother was murdered in much the same way The Dahlia was murdered. This should give you more insight into of his characters feelings for The Dahlia.
Ellroy immerses you in postwar L.A. His writing is as close as one can get to a time machine. And, yes, his writing is about the characters' reacting to the Dahlia murders: good fiction -- even good crime fiction -- is always about character.
If only L.A. Confidential and The Big Sleep were available in unabridged versions. Ellroy simply can't be abridged/
Ellroy's rendering of post-war LA and its cops and their culture enthralled me as much as anything in this very entertaining book. That, together with strong, full characters, a believable plot and well-pitched narration, make this one of my favorite selections so far.
After listening to this magnum opus, I for sure don't want to see the movie! It's maybe 6 hours into the tale before the Dahlia is even found. We drove all the way from Phoenix to San Diego and the Dahlia never came up. 6 hours of endless description of Bucky's suppressed affection for Kay and his mano a mano adoration for her husband. WAY too much time spent on things leading up to, during and after their boxing match. Pul-eeeze. I like character building as much as the next reader, but by the time this trio stumbled upon the Dahlia's body, you just couldn't stand them anymore. Also, WAY too many episodes of beating up innocent parties, general public and themselves.
What a waste of time.
The author and narrator do a great job at telling Elizabeth Short's sad story. A story of a horrific murder and sleazy goings-on. Apparently, very fact based, but with a hypothetical ending. Shocking, even through Ellroy's Epilogue!
I really enjoyed everything about this book, the writing, the narration. Big thumbs up... two bad the movie didn't even come close to the book. I was glad I "read" the book first...
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