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The Black Dahlia | [James Ellroy]

The Black Dahlia

On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.
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Publisher's Summary

On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (379 )
5 star
 (90)
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (139 )
5 star
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Story
4.0 (135 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Craig F. Noell Hidden Valley, CA 09-10-06
    Craig F. Noell Hidden Valley, CA 09-10-06 Member Since 2004

    Craig

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    "Great naration"

    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.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    krista New Orleans, LA, United States 09-12-06
    krista New Orleans, LA, United States 09-12-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
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    "Entertaining."

    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."

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Estevan, SK, Canada 09-23-06
    Jane Estevan, SK, Canada 09-23-06 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    14
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    "An oddly compelling story"

    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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Roseau, MN United States 03-21-11
    Amazon Customer Roseau, MN United States 03-21-11 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    8
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    "Black Dahlia"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    psykoace 04-23-08
    psykoace 04-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    19
    5
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    "GREAT BOOK"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ken Pittsburgh, PA, United States 03-14-07
    ken Pittsburgh, PA, United States 03-14-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    2
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    "Great Read"

    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/

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe 09-22-06
    Joe 09-22-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    0
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    "Enthralling"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Old Hippy PA 09-19-06
    Old Hippy PA 09-19-06 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    459
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    99
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    "What a bore!"

    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.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Lanning 06-15-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Probably not the best person to ask"
    Would you try another book from James Ellroy and/or Stephen Hoye?

    I very much dislike James Ellroy, but I'm interested in the Black Dahlia, so I thought I'd give it a chance. No. The reviews warned about strong language, and I will reiterate that warning. There is basically only one kind of language I have a problem with and that is racial slurs. I realize that this is a book set in a different time period, but it just seems so unnecessary. Ellroy's writing is so arrogant I just couldn't stomach it.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd lakewood, CO, USA 03-11-14
    Todd lakewood, CO, USA 03-11-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "The Black Dahlia will pull you in"
    What made the experience of listening to The Black Dahlia the most enjoyable?

    The Narrator voice matched the story


    What did you like best about this story?

    Based on fact


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    His voice added to the story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I dare you to watch Black Dahlia


    Any additional comments?

    As you read this book you will find yourself asking for more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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