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)
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."
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.
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.
loved it, captured my attention the way through. Any hard driven detective can relate, and this book showed me the noir history of Los Angeles, be that it's fictional it still maintained a truth of history.
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.
Being a big fan of the genre, voice and era James Ellroy's writing has come to define and having heard all the blasting the film version of this book took for not playing faithful to its source material, I came to The Black Dahlia with high hopes that were met with varying levels of satisfaction. Fans of the dark underbelly running beneath the sunny streets of Hollywood that Ellroy's words paint so well won't be disappointed, but those looking for much of a story to chew on might. I was a little surprised that the movie took so much heat for being unfocused and hokey, since the book could lose all of Kay Lake and the ridiculous boxer-lab technician turn and retain much of its grit, charm and coherence. But the winding, sometimes mundane tale has plenty of big moments that remind you the big fault with this version of the story is NOT the author. After listening to Craig Wasson's rendering of L.A. Confidential, I gave that version a lot of crap for the cliche impressions to which most of the characters were reduced. Well, I wish as much life was breathed into The Black Dahlia. Hoye is a good narrator - he'd be an excellent history or science genre voice - but he comes off too cultured and soft for most of the machine gun patter of Ellroy's prose. Overall if you like L.A. Confidential, Ellroy or have a passing interest in The Black Dahlia you'll probably read this book and not be too disappointed.
This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. Sometimes vulgar; sometimes explicit; sometimes downright gory. If you can stomach the vivid scenes depicted, it's a wonderful read. The narration is top notch. Hoye brings the story to life in ways most narrators tend to miss. The story itself is incredibly riveting, minus a couple "where did that even come from?" moments, it will keep you on your toes til the end.
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