Read The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy Online

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Los Angeles, 1th January 1947: a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in helf. The newspapers called her 'The Black Dahlia'. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.The firLos Angeles, 1th January 1947: a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in helf. The newspapers called her 'The Black Dahlia'. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.The first part of Ellroy's crime fiction masterwork, the LA Quartet, and based around a real murder case, The Black Dahlia pulses with violence, darkness and brutality. It is crime writing at its most powerful....

Title : The Black Dahlia
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099366515
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Black Dahlia Reviews

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2018-12-03 21:35

    I hated this damn book.My friend Hulk-boy told me to read this author. I may punch him in the face.It starts with the boxing fight of two young police officers Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard. They become known as Mr. Fire and Mr. Ice. The hotshot team that got the LA police dept a raise with their boxing match.They team together after the fight as partner's. Then a young woman's body is found. She has been cut in two and tossed out. Betty/Elizabeth Short's story will become ingrained into your memory after that point. Her history isn't pretty and the dept. tries to keep some of it out of the press because the public won't care about women they see as hooers.I kept putting this book down saying that I was going to dnf the bastard. Then a few minutes later I would pick it up and begin reading it again. That's the kind of fucker this book is. It's based loosely on a true story but in real life the Black Dahlia case is still open. Bless that poor girl's soul.Dirty cops, women seen as skirts, corruption and sometimes just pure stupidity threads throughout this book. I totally read it in my head with a Mickey Spillane voice too.

  • Dan Schwent
    2018-12-09 17:39

    Elizabeth Short is found murdered and LAPD detectives Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard catch the case. Can Bleichert and Blanchard bring in her killer before the case destroys them both?Some time around 2005, my local bookstore owner pushed this on me. At the time, the only detective books I'd read were The Maltese Falcon and a few Hard Case books. It took me a week to get through but it felt like spending a month in jail. The Black Dahlia was a game changer for me, a powerful book that made me see detective fiction in a different light. When it went on sale on the Kindle for $1.99 (and Kemper also started reading it), I figured it was time for a reread. As I've said many times before, the magic of getting older is that old books become completely new books. I'd forgotten most of what transpired in The Black Dahlia so it was like being tied up and dragged down a gravel road all over again.The Black Dahlia is the rise and fall of detective Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, and Elizabeth Short, the dead woman who ultimately did him and his partner, Lee Blanchard, in. Bleichert and Blanchard bond over boxing and wind up being partners in Warrants until Elizabeth Short is found dead and mutilated, cut in half on the sidewalk. Both men wind up entangled with Elizabeth Short for different reasons. Blanchard wants to avenge her to make up for the sister he once lost and Bucky takes up when Lee goes missing.This book is as noir as it comes, full of obsession, lies, death, sex, murder, pornography, and more lies and obsession. As with most books of this type, the mystery is eventually solved but not without costing everyone involved damn near everything in the process.In the decade since I last read this, I've become desensitized by reading hundreds of crime books and been made more cynical by life in general but this book still packs one hell of a wallop. Much like Bucky, I was pretty obsessed by Elizabeth Short's murder and couldn't put the book down, as cliche as that sounds. Just like the first time I read it, I felt like I'd spent a few nights in jail when I was done, wrung out and ready for a couple beers.Something else the passage of time has given me is how much Ellroy writes like a much darker Raymond Chandler. Ellroy's similes kick like an unlicensed .45 a cop carries just for emergencies and Dwight Bleichert is one of the most well-crafted characters in crime fiction. Lee Blanchard is not without his nuances, either. The relationship between Bucky, Kay, and Lee really lent itself to some crazy shit.Honestly, the only thing I can think of to complain about is that Blanchard and Bleichert's names are too similar. The Black Dahlia is a must-read for all serious crime fiction fans. Five out of five stars.

  • Kemper
    2018-11-17 19:53

    Ah, the post-war years. America’s golden age when things were so much better than they are today. When no injustice ever occurred, and no one was unfairly treated. Every pay check was a fortune, every meal a banquet, and the worst crime was the odd rapscallion stealing a pie off a window sill. Or maybe sometimes the bisected body of a woman who had been brutally tortured would be left in an empty lot which would put a wildly corrupt police force in a frenzied media spotlight as the cops fruitlessly tried to solve the murder.It really was a simpler time…This was the book where James Ellroy stepped his game up from promising mystery writer to a creator of epic historical fiction by mixing a famous unsolved murder with seedy LA history via flawed fictional characters. Our narrator is Dwight ‘Bucky’ Bleichart, a former boxer turned LAPD officer just after World War II. Bucky agrees to fight another cop named Lee Blanchard as part of a departmental publicity stunt. The boxing match makes them partners, but it’s Lee’s girlfriend Kay who unites all three of them into a family. It’s a dead woman that eventually starts to tear them all to pieces. In reality Elizabeth Short was just another young woman who came to LA with stars in her eyes, but her unsolved murder became one of those crimes that stuck in the public consciousness. Ellroy has talked and written a great deal about how he poured a lot of his unresolved feelings about his mother’s unsolved murder into the Dahlia case, and if there’s one thing you’re sure of by the time you’re done reading it’s that he knows what it’s like to be obsessed and haunted by dead women. Ellroy is also fascinated by the shady history of LA and its police department, and he uses that knowledge to craft a fantastically violent and corrupt world where the cops are often worse than the criminals they’re arresting. Almost everyone involved the investigation has their own agendas, and the methods used to get what they want are brutal. Nobody gets out clean when it comes to the Dahlia, least of all those who give the most while trying to learn who killed her.This is a great crime story with a hard boiled edge that was one of the books that made me a huge fan of James Ellroy.

  • Nikita T. Mitchell
    2018-11-20 23:28

    I'm not big on this whole "going green" trend, but today I thought about one thing all book lovers can do to contribute to society: use your library card more often. You probably thought I had something clever to say. Sorry to disappoint but let me explain. My Analysis of The Black Dahlia:-324 pages in the book-67 pages until the plot begins to unfold-300 pages before the book becomes unputdownable, as I like to call itWhat does that leave us with?...approximately 67 pages of wasted paper and 233 pages worth only borrowing from the library... only 7.4% (24/324) of the book worth purchasing Granted, I only paid about $5 for the book (thanks to half.com) technically I should've only spent like 40 cents. Plus think about how many trees that could've been saved if James Ellroy, the author, had simply gotten to the point. But who's counting...?The core of the plot is based on a 1940's Los Angeles murder mystery. The body of a young woman was found in a vacant lot mutilated, cut in half, and disemboweled. Two detectives, ex-boxers, take on the case and become overly obsessed with this young woman's life - and death - to the point where it literally destroys their own lives.What I really struggled with while reading this book was the inclusion of random storylines as well as the excessive - and mostly pointless - details that made the book way longer than it needed to be. For instance, the first 67 pages of the novel are spent developing the relationship between the two detectives and describing their boxing past. The author also over-used police jargon which only made it harder for me to connect with the characters. The book's only saving grace was the last 30(ish) pages where the twisted plot came into focus.In conclusion...What I liked: the twisted mystery plotWhat I disliked: Ellroy's inability to focus on what was important to me, the readerWhile this book may be worth reading for you mystery/suspense lovers out there, I would strongly suggest that you save our trees and borrow The Black Dahlia from your local library. Don't let another wasted page get printed.(Posted on Uptown Literatti: http://uptownliteratti.blogspot.com/2...)

  • kohey
    2018-12-07 00:29

    Well,it ALWAYS takes me some time to sort out and gather blown-away pieces of my sensitive heart Mr.Ellroy has masterfully done for me. It makes me feel sardonic,but I LOVE this process and of course,this GREAT work.One thing that I like about this novel is the massive impact it has on me.The story hooks me up at the start,grabs me by the collar and drags me around violently through the whole story,and finally dumps me into the gutter(let me confirm this;I’m not an open masochist!) On this priceless experience,I give easily five stars.The other thing is that everyone here is morally corrupt,to the point that I feel sorry and attached for them.There exists NO shallow person here,whether he or she is good or bad.I sometimes wonder if there is a clear-cut line between good and bad in the real world.Mr.Ellroy CAN write hopelessly bad,foolish,yet lovable characters that share at least some parts with you.I’m sure that’s the beauty of this gem.

  • Emma
    2018-11-17 20:52

    Well.As is true of many goodreads readers, I am a serial book hopper. NOT TODAY! I devoured this book like a starving woman!Today I discovered for myself- (not you guys! You probably discovered it many books ago!)a whole new genre and author- according to Wiki- neo crime noir. James Ellroy. Absolutely brilliant.This is based on a true and unsolved crime in the late 1940s in LA, in the time of the zoot suit troubles and disturbed young ex marines and soldiers home from the War. Every one wants to make a buck. You know...chain smoking, gun toting, gangsters and drug dealers, a police department riddled with corruption, pimps and ' hooers' (Ellroy's word)Ellroy's mother was also murdered and I believe in interviews the author admits that this novel has all the more intensity, passion and obsession you might expect, as a result.This was such a dark novel. I don't know why this was news to me when it comes from the 'noir' genre, but I really was genuinely surprised by its corrupt and sleazy undertones. The writing has a hard boiled feel to it that I loved.All the characters were compromised and flawed. In the story everyone's lives were touched or ruined by the victim of the crime, the Black Dahlia, whether she was known to them personally or not.Can't wait to read the next one and explore this whole new-to-me genre!

  • Maria Clara
    2018-12-05 21:38

    Ufff! Es como un directo a la mandíbula! Un golpe que no te esperas y que te atrapa en una voragine de locura y violencia, que hace que al final no sepas quienes son los buenos y quienes los malos; si es que los hay! Un mundo donde sus protagonistas no son perfectos, al contraio, juegan bajo una doble o triple moralidad, que les permite sobrevivir a sus propias decisiones y errores. Poco más puedo decir, salvo remarcar las palabras del genial Stephen King: “Si me preguntan quién es el mejor novelista vivo cuya literatura es feroz, valiente, divertida, escatológica, hermosa, enrevesada y paranoíca… la respuesta es fácil: James Ellroy.”

  • Mara
    2018-11-13 00:29

    In January of 1947 the body of a woman, later identified as Elizabeth Short, was found mutilated and abandoned in a vacant lot Los Angeles. In the papers (ever eager to run with a story of this ilk), she became known as "the Black Dahlia" after a film of the same name.In June of 1958 the assault and murder of another woman, Jean Hilliker (formerly Ellroy), hit the L.A. papers. Unfortunately, there were probably many other victims who came in between them, but these would be the two murders that most impacted the life of the young James Ellroy (still known then as Lee Earle Ellroy).As described in the afterword to this 2006 edition of his book (which accompanied the release of its movie adaptation), the fictionalized story is inspired by the lives and deaths of both women. In real life, both murders remain unsolved.James Ellroy's world is a dark, dark place, one that is corrupt in every sense of the word. The detective (and ersatz Ellroy), Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, though by no means naïve at the start, comes to see how the most gruesome elements can seep into and pervade every aspect of one's life. Innocence isn't lost, it was never there to begin with. The writing is frantic and maniacal at times – intentionally so. The characters' frustrations become your own. I found myself putting the book down and picking it back up in a huff, too haunted to just leave it alone. I certainly could not live on a literary diet of James Ellroy alone (though I imagine that doing so would result in actual weight loss), but he is an undeniably powerful writer whose words (like the Dahlia's smile) will never really leave you alone.

  • Algernon
    2018-11-26 22:28

    What this book is : an excellent thriller, a true page turner that keeps you rushing for the finish line, a character driven police procedural, a harsh, gritty, uncompromising expose of the darker side of police work in Los Angeles around 1946. What this book isn't :a true crime story, the solution to the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, anchored in facts and carefully considered evidence. It's highly speculative, concerned more with packing as many surprises and twists as possible in a high octane finale. It's a very cleverly constructed argument, but, by this very cleverness, it feels to me just a tad contrived, unrealistic. I believe there is a much simpler answer to the puzzle of the Black Dahlia than the one offered here.Having said that, my first James Ellroy experience was intensely captivating. The novel opens with a boxing match between two cops, soon to become partners, and from this explosive introduction, the story continues to step-dance, duck and punch hard at the facts, sending the reader reeling more than once, emotionally exhausted after the long rounds, but high on adrenaline and thirsty for a K.O.I have noticed with another book set in the 1940's ("From Here to Eternity") how popular boxing was in the Us, especially with the armed forces and the police. Los Angeles in 1946 is no exception, and a good showing in interdepartmental competitions can give an ambitious young officer a good opportunity for promotion. Our first person narrator, Bucky Bleichert, is just about to test the theory: Lee Blanchard, 43-4-2 as a heavyweight, formerly a regular attraction at the Hollywood Legion Stadium, and me: Bucky Bleichert, light-heavy, 36-0-0, once ranked tenth by 'Ring' magazine, probably because Nat Fleisher was amused by the way I taunted opponents with my big buck teeth. [...] Physically, we looked as antithetical as two big men could: Blanchard was blond and ruddy, six feet tall and huge in the chest and shoulders, with stunted bowlegs and the beginning of a hard, distended gut; I was pale and dark-haired, all lanky muscularity at 6 foot 3. Who would win? There are of course nuances to the motivations of the cops, with a good deal of machismo thrown in, like little boys trying to see who can piss the fartest. But the match was an early example for me of how good Ellroy can be at combining action with subtle characterization. The author will later prove that he is also very good at hiding red herrings and important clues in the early stages of the plot, time bombs that would explode in a very satisfactory manner latter on.I have read hundreds of crime novels in the past. What makes Ellroy special here? For me, it's the insider view of police work, showing the detectives acting most of the time little better than the criminals they are chasing : intimidating witnesses, falsifying evidence, lying under oath, brutal, arrogant, clannish, racist. Despite all the bad apples, some are honestly working for law and order, and are ready to 'buck' the system. The wordplay is intentional, since the true hero of the story may not be a knight in shiny armor (view spoiler)[ Bucky throws the boxing match in order to make some dirty money and withholds critical evidence about a suspect(hide spoiler)], but he has a conscience, determination and enough integrity to go against his brothers in blue, even when such actions will label him a snitch and a pariah.What I didn't like so much has little to do with the story itself, but with a little research I did afterwards into the true case of Elizabeth Short. No matter how often I tell myself that the Ellroy book is fiction, I keep thinking the author could have done a better job in his portrayal of the victim (view spoiler)[ there is no evidence that the Black Dahlia slept around with anybody in a uniform(hide spoiler)]. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I was moved more by the restrained, straightforward and even slightly boring style of Sjowall and Wahloo in their early Martin Beck novels than by the flashy, clever constructions of Ellroy.... but I still plan to continue with the L.A. Quartet, as these books are almost a historical chronicle of the period and the city in their richness of detail and in their intriguing characters.

  • William
    2018-12-12 19:50

    Wow. Brutal and brilliant, raw and alive, elegiac and painful. A masterpiece of crime-noir and personal desire with intense action, often obscene. The police characters introduced are only partly drawn before the horrifically mutilated body of a beautiful young woman is found in a vacant lot. An extraordinarily driven tale of partner-cops, the neophyte Bleichert and the old-pro Blanchard are captured by the mystery.Looking back, I know that the man possessed no gift of prophecy; he simply worked to assure his own future, while I skated uncertainly toward mine. It was his flat-voiced "Cherchez la femme" that still haunts me. Because our partnership was nothing but a bungling road to the Dahlia. And in the end, she was to own the two of us completely. Remember, the case of the Black Dahlia was real, and remains unsolved today. In the best crime-noir tradition, Ellroy provides us with a very good and dramatic solution, but this is not fact - read more here:Wikipedia: The Black Dahlia murder caseAlso know that Ellroy's own mother was murdered when he was only 10... CBS News interview with Ellroy (1998) “It’s as if Elizabeth Short became a stand-in for my mother. I wanted to feel the horror of my mother’s death and I used Elizabeth Short as a substitute.” - James Ellroy, Unsolved Mysteries TV series. Elizabeth Short with unidentified manElizabeth Short was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the suburb of Medford just outside of the city with four sisters. In 1930, following the stock market crash of 1929, Short's father left his car on a bridge and disappeared after losing all his money. After believing he was dead for years, she finally sent a letter to the family saying he moved to California. Short is pictured here with an unidentified man sometime in the 1940s.Warning, Adults only: There are many horrific and violent scenes here, and a truly macabre and depraved solution to the mystery. Naked racism and misogyny abound, but there is redemption here too, with a bright hope for our hero in the final pages.Wow. Starting the book, the meeting and growing bonds of partnership between Bucky and Lee are a rollercoaster of crime, brutality and love. They are very different, yet almost helplessly attracted to each other like the north and south poles of magnets. Ellroy then melds the enigmatic and damaged Kay between and around them in a powerfully erotic and emotional alliance.In the early teamwork of Lee and Bucky, we see the brutality and youthful certainty of their growing power and authority. The pressure is raised and Lee and Bucky are then presented with the horrifying death of the Dahlia. Lee's emotional damage and Bucky's love for his partner drag them into a catastrophe of an investigation. Everything they hold dear and every belief they share will be ripped apart and defiled by the end of the book.Ellroy viscerally presents the "Fire and Ice" boxing match between the two heroes, certainly the best boxing/fist fighting I have seen since the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker. This fight shows the core identity of each man, the style, the power and heart each will bring to the solution of the crime.The way Ellroy writes the beautiful Kay to bind them even more is pure genius. Their relationship is complex, troubled, erotically charged and yet full of intense love. The supporting police and other characters are rich and alive, but the air of a dark, brutal Los Angeles colours every moment. The police case unfolds, the politics and corruption just as we expect, but without cliché. Down we go into an ever darker crime, and the darkening souls of our heroes.Throughout the middle section of the book, we feel the frustration of Lee and Bucky, and the other police on the case. So many dead ends, false clues, false hopes. We live this case ourselves through Ellroy's fabulous prose.So many fall in love with the Dahlia in death, in her beauty and who she might have been. Each chapter amplifies her tragedy and her desperation. A truly extraordinary tale. I literally could not put it down, even at 2am last night, and was mercilessly dragged to the finish at 4am. Wow.Serious flaw in the plot:(view spoiler)[There's no way the fire Russ started in Georgie's cottage would have burned much of the body parts and specimen jars(hide spoiler)]There are so many extraordinary quotes and passages in this book, but my favourites all contain spoilers.I got in the car and headed home, wondering if I would ever tell Kay that I didn't have a woman because sex tasted like blood and resin and suture scrub to me.-The interior was even more churchlike: velvet wall hangings depicting Jesus and his adventures decorated the entrance hall; the benches filled with lounging brownshirts looked like pews. The front desk was a big block of dark wood, Jesus on the cross carved into it--most likely a retired altar. The fat Rurale standing sentry there licked his lips when he saw me coming--he reminded me of a child molester who would never retire. Note: a young Kay Lake appears in Ellroy's Perfida, set in 1941, seven years before Dahlia. New York Times review of PerfidaZoot Suit 19433.0% "... chaotic hard prose, tough-guy dialogue, a bit too much boxing subculture." 5.0% "... after a chaotic and uneven start, Ellroy has settled down and the prose is hard-boiled delicious!" 11.0% "... great fight scene" 14.0% "... what a thrill. Wooooohooooooo!" 32.0% "... a sense of lost momentum here, sadly" 59.0% "... there's an awful lot of brutality without direction here, without purpose. That's just boring.".["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Izzy
    2018-11-27 16:38

    The Black Dahlia is a thrillerEllroy’s masterpieceGritty, seamy, LA noirUGH. SHUT UP, me. Okay, so – what’s the most important singular event that has ever happened in your life? Think of something good. Bonus points if it was tragic. Extra lives if it sullied your early youth. Mortal Kombat Fatality (in an arcade, after school in the ‘90s) if it also involved sex and your mother. Even if this important singular event didn’t involve these specific elements, surely you must have something to contribute. A first love, a heartrending split. An abusive parent, crippling poverty – it doesn’t have to be bad, either: an early love of books fostered by the long forgotten sensation of your heavy lids slowly and rhythmically lulled to closing each night. A penchant for the macabre, or a sunny disposition. Nature played a hand, and certainly you were given your own personal reactionary template. (That penchant for the macabre, or sunny disposition – was it fostered by an innately rebellious soul? Or a genial, loyal one?) The intricacies are endless, and if we were to follow this line of thought to its very conclusion, it would lead us to some ageless mystery of life. In 1958, James Ellroy was a small boy, and his mother was murdered. He became fixated on an earlier wave of murders in the L.A. area, in particular the case of Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia.” It will never be clear if Ellroy, the boy, held that carbon deep, to be slowly polished diamond-bright with that resulting psychic mess, with drink, with obsession. Or did he start off as fresh and pink as the rest of us, and trauma did the rest?I think it’s a combination of both, but the result is that the Dahlia and his own experience entangled deeply and became one and the same.I’ll confess I’ve never read My Dark Places, Ellroy’s own examination of the very thing I’m clumsily trying to unravel. My concern lies more with this book of fiction. So, now think on how your own minor or major life events have shaped you. Those little scars on your psyche. Imagine what would have become of you as a 10 year old James Ellroy. Take everything you have ever gleaned from popular culture about: Freud, sex, children, men, writers, male writers, golden Los Angeles and rotten Hollywood. Spice it with what a healthy imagination will do to a few details of shadowy, grizzly female murder. More than you know about your own mother’s death. Mix them together and stir them in a pot – no a fucking cauldron. I am asking you to take your most intense, private emotions and amplify them by 1,000. Then, feel those feelings for decades. Then, wring yourself out and drip blood onto blank pages.Then get that shit published!

  • David Schaafsma
    2018-11-16 22:34

    So I think I am done for the moment with my little nasty obsessive foray into the world of Elizabeth (Bettie) Short and some of the (other) men who were obsessed with her. Short, at 23, was found murdered and mutilated in a vacant lot January 15, 1947, and it is still one of the most sensational murders in LA history, fueled by multiple accounts of the grisly details of her death, and speculation (which typically accompanies these kinds of stories) about the nature of Short’s sensationalized (sex) life. A naked woman dies and is found in a vacant lot, we have to ask questions for seventy years about her sex life, of course.I first read Rick Geary’s comics true crime account, which is short but dense, and carefully researched, and focuses on Bettie Short's life. Geary's research leads him to accept the media and publicly stated police view (that helped to fuel public interest in her case) that she was basically a “nice” girl, a virgin (almost) to the end who just wanted to have fun with men and maybe make it in the movies. Short kept a scrapbook of dozens of men she dated, most of whom insisted they never had sex with her (because this is one of the questions cops want to know, too, about a dead beautiful girl). This perspective on her as a “Madonna” somewhat strains credibility, however, as her father’s testimony denies it, and several of her roommates cast doubt on it, and one of her last “boyfriends” seems to have been a guy in an LA mob that was in charge of prostitution for his outfit.Ellroy, in both this novel and the graphic adaptation of it, takes the position that Bettie is, while sexually active—and who cares if she is? Apparently everyone, including me—a victim of circumstances. Like thousands of women (and men) who naively think they can break into the film world, Bettie left home without much money, with no promise of work, and tried to piece together a life in LA, getting involved with “the wrong crowd,” one of whom she clearly crossed. But the story in Ellroy’s Black Dahlia is less about Short and more about the obsession to know her and solve her crime. Those who get hooked on her are implicated in this crime, including we readers, and we all have our own histories and demons to bring to it. Ellroy’s story is about detective Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, and his partner, Lee Blanchard, who both are led to drugs and madness and criminal excess themselves in the process of investigating this crime. Bleichert and Blanchard are best friends, ex-boxers and partners in the case. As it turns out they both get involved in complicated ways with women that connect them to Short’s story. Blanchard lost his sister and wants to solve the murder to in part deal with his rage and guilt over her loss; Bucky eventually also gets similarly obsessed with the case, and in the process gets involved with a woman who looks like Short who had a short affair with her. Both Lee and Bucky are in love, too, with Kay, the woman Lee lives with. I know, whew, a lot of layers to work through here, but Ellroy is good at digging deep into this muck.Everyone in Ellroy’s story is morally compromised, including we as readers obsessed with this sad, ugly tale, as we, too, ask questionable questions about her sexual reputation and get fascinated with her wild life: How many men? Is she bi-sexual? Is she, in the end, a prostitute for the mob? And why should we care about her sensational case? Why can’t we just leave her alone in peace? Who are we to obsess about the men in her life? And why can’t we look away when we, too, find her body in that vacant lot? This is a particularly American story of lies and media obsession and madness, it seems to me. In the process of investigating the crime, the LAPD received over 2,000 confessions from literally all over the world, and probably still receive tips today, which we learn is typical of a case like this. What is up with that?! It certainly seems like a tale of collective cultural madness, saying something particularly about some men, maybe, but the story as a whole also implicates many women as willing partners in this crazy world, too.The Black Dahlia is brutal, crude, profane, filled with the lingo and tastes and smells and sounds of forties dark LA life. It’s not always easy to read, like you're wanting to look away from the car wreck on the side of the road but you're not able to. The year after publishing this fine noir, carefully researched crime novel (not a “true crime” novel, and more a cultural thriller than a straight murder mystery), Ellroy got even more sensational and published a memoir about how his obsession with Bettie Short was connected to the fact that his own mother was raped and killed. Like Blanchard, Ellroy was driven to actual madness, completely out of control, maybe even like Blanchard near death, obsessed with his mother’s case, which he fictionally conflates in many ways with Bettie Short’s story. So that is fascinating, right? Now, obsessed myself, having also just seen the Brian de Palma film version, I have to read Ellroy’s My Dark Places. Whew, when will it end? Help!

  • Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
    2018-11-14 17:33

    E is for EllroyRead a book based on a true story.4.5 starsI cannot believe that I have never read anything by this author before. The fangirl in me is stirring.I have never read a lot of noir, and I'm not really sure why. I love it in film. Sam Spade, the black and white, the beautiful women with smoke circles around their heads and their beautiful hairdos with scarcely a hair out of place sitting on an inspector's desk with legs for days and shorter than normal skirts. Cops with suspenders smoking cigars with the boys, talking about the "good ole days." The drawn out speak, talk of tinsel-town, tortured souls. I eat this shit up.I could almost hear Josh Hartnett's quiet and introspective voice narrating this tale of two cops and their obsession with the Black Dahlia murder. You see, this book isn't really about Elizabeth Short. It's about Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, two ex-boxer cops. Partners. Best friends. In love with the same woman. Obsessed with the same woman. Guided by their own demons. Demons that force their obsession with a dead girl. Demons that deal in death and destruction. Demons that cause catastrophe.Triggerman.Stooge.Bumfuck detective too blind to clear the case he was a homicide accessory to.The weak point in a fairy tale triangle.Best friend to a cop-bank robber, now the keeper of his secrets."And that girl. That poor girl. They way those men saw her. They gave her a story. They gave her life.This book is not for the faint-hearted. There is some graphic stuff here. The way this poor girl was murdered is absolutely atrocious. And Ellroy doesn't leave anything to the imagination. Usually I am a big fan of "show rather than tell" in my stories, but in this case, the opposite is true. Because Ellroy is a truly gifted writer, and his words gut you. They rip you apart. They make you angry and hurt and feel the pain of these characters. Their dialogue is raw and unfettered. Description is without nuance. But it all works. In her calmest schoolteacher voice, Kay Lake Bleichert said, 'I almost told you. But you started whoring again, collecting her pictures. I just wanted revenge on the woman who ruined the two men I loved.'This story also takes a while to unfold, but the end result is totally worth every single moment. I thought about this book and these characters for so long after I turned the last page. It even makes me want to watch the very lukewarm movie again. This book will make you angry and sad. It will cause you to think about things in your own life, your past. It will make you cringe. You may or may not like it. But regardless of your feelings or your reactions to this book, you will have to admit that there are some real emotions here, and only a talented writer can make them so real.This book is also very loosely based on the real Black Dahlia murder which was never solved. I like the approach that Ellroy took with it, and in his afterward, described why he took the approach that he did. Reading his own words about his why just served to solidify my reactions to everything. I ached for that poor girl and the other nameless victims of violence and abuse that haven't made the front page. This book is for them. It ultimately made me sad.

  • Tfitoby
    2018-11-17 17:35

    This sure is a bleak one and that's an understatement. Aside from the unnecessary opening section focussing on the evolution of the partnership and an interminable chapter giving a blow by blow account of a boxing match this is pretty much classic Ellroy.This is a true noir, not hard-boiled or pulpy but a story as black and self-destructive as they come. The memoir of a cop making bad choices, knowing that he is making them and unable to stop his own fate; leaving out the existential malaise that usually afflicts the protagonist in these stories and replacing it with a brutal and hard edged look at the underbelly of L.A. in the late 1940's.Ellroy takes the mood of something like Edward G. Ulmer's classic 1945 poverty row noir Detour and adds everything that they weren't allowed to show back then with this psychological character study. This is what makes him stand out from the crowd. On face value this could be taken as a police procedural novel but if you look beyond the stumbling detection plot you are invited in to a journey filled with depravity and weak willed men and the death of a beautiful yet impure girl used as a background or excuse for their behaviour.Aside from that opening section there are few things that I had a problem with which caused the low rating, primarily that of the behaviour of the protagonist Bucky. We are consistently told that he has an obsession with the murdered girl but at no point did I ever know why or feel as if it was a natural progression of his character. He is a cop, he wants to solve the murder, he wants to investigate other crimes, it's just another murder and then all of a sudden, with no warning and no explanation he is fantasising about the girl and obsessing over the case. In his later work I think Ellroy got much better at this aspect of explaining his protagonists behaviour but for this one, sadly it was lacking.I don't think I can let the review go by without mentioning the movie. It wasn't very good was it. I saw it first and knew it wasn't a very good adaptation. Initially whilst reading I thought it was because it was too faithful to the novel but as I came to the end I realised that I coudn't remember much of it from the film so that clearly wasn't it. The movie was bad but then I don't think this novel really lends itself to a good movie adaptation and in this age of any old hack (Suzanne Collins being the most recent example) writing a novel filled with cliches just so they can sell the movie rights that might not vibe but what's wrong with a book being written just to be an enjoyable book and nothing more? To ape the man: Vibe! I enjoyed this book. Buy! This book. Read! About filth, bent cops, dead girls, psychotic killers and gratuitous political glad-handing. Don't! Keep it hush-hush. Give! A copy to everyone.

  • Richard
    2018-11-28 20:37

    Most people are familiar with the case of the Black Dahlia, one of the most infamous unsolved murder cases in U.S. history, where a young, pretty Hollywood starlet named Elizabeth Short is found in a vacant lot, her body mutilated, disemboweled, and cut in half. But this isn't a true crime book. Just as in the fantastic The Big Nowhere, the first book I read by author James Ellroy, he mixes L.A. history and fascinating fictional characters and weaves an awesome tapestry of the seedy and depraved world of 1940's Los Angeles. The novel is told from the point of view of Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, who starts the book as a promising new LAPD warrants officer, until he gets embroiled in the case of the Black Dahlia, changing his life forever in more ways than one, as he is swept up in the obsessive circus that the investigation becomes. This fixation on the case is personal for the author, he also fell victim to the Dahlia's pull in real life in the late 50's after Ellroy's mother was brutally murdered. He became fascinated with historical violent crime and studying the murder of Elizabeth Short became a proxy for dealing with his mother's death. This personal attachment fills the book with real earnestness and passion that helped to make it a crime classic.Aside from the fact that Ellroy's usual knack for great wordplay is on display, one of the most interesting things about the novel is the way the obsession over the Dahlia is detailed, an obsession that jumps from person to person like a disease, eating away at everyone it touches. Although his partner jumps headfirst into the investigation, Bucky starts off fairly unfazed by the murder, annoyed at the media frenzy and eager to get back to working warrants; catching normal bad guys he can understand, not ones that cut Glasgow smiles into pretty girls' faces from ear to ear. But eventually he succumbs to the Dahlia's pull and falls deeper, the way Danny does in The Big Nowhere, so deep it becomes all he thinks about. The Black Dahlia is the story of that kind of obsession, the one that can eat away at the soul.

  • Steve
    2018-12-07 23:54

    On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia —and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history. Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia— driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches— into a region of total madness.This was an intense, wild ride of a novel. Hidden motives, questionable morals, crooked cops, double-crosses, and a spiderweb of links to crime after crime after crime make this one of the best noir books ever written, maybe even one of the best books of all genres. I wasn't intending on reading the next book in the series, The Big Nowhere, but James Ellroy is such a great writer, I'm rearranging my TBR list to accommodate the rest of the books in the LA Quartet.

  • Ben
    2018-11-19 21:56

    Ellroy, heard enough about him recently? Another GR craze. I’ve been putting off this review for two weeks now, and honestly, I still don’t want to write it. The thing is, while I only enjoyed this to an “OK” level, I really can understand the commotion surrounding the guy. He wrote this with great insight and intensity; it has a brilliantly complex storyline, and it is very well executed. The web of connections are aplenty, it has a ferocious acuteness to it, and there was a period of time during my reading when I was enthralled, flipping through the pages at a rapid-fire pace. For this short period of time I couldn’t put it down; it felt much like a thriller. But I couldn't keep my focus. Too many quick, concrete details. Not enough depth. Not for me. And of course Ellroy the man, the persona, is fascinating. I wish I had his balls, his level of testosterone, his blunt but articulate, poignant way with words. His passion and intensity. (There’s that word again, but you can’t avoid it with him: Ellroy = intensity.) And he is more than a genre writer-- one need only look to this novel’s boxing scene, or think about some of its overriding principles of chaos, corruption, and selfishness to see this. If you’re into crime, noir, detective, or mystery novels, you’re crazy not to try this. I couldn’t help but notice that most of my GR friends liked it, giving it four or five stars-- but most of them had it on a genre-related shelf. In other words, they were probably predisposed to liking it, probably having read and enjoyed other books that display similar themes. And yet, the average rating for this book from all of those on GR is 3.54: that’s pretty low compared to most books, and I think it says something about the chances of you liking this. And yet again!!!--- one need only read Montambo’s review of My Dark Places to see that you could still like Ellroy’s stuff without digging any of the genres he fits into (or transcends).So I can’t say that you won’t like The Black Dahlia if you’re not into any of those genres, but I’d also say that you’re more likely to, if you are. And it bears repeating that his writing does go beyond any simple, narrow, genre-related category.But, me? I’m done with Ellroy. For me he fits into a group of writers that I realize are great, but I just the same, happen to not enjoy. Updike, Morrison, some of McCarthy; there’s a number of them out there, and I’m adding Ellroy to the list.Cheers.

  • Paul Nelson
    2018-11-26 22:54

    The Black Dahlia is my first read from James Ellroy and the opening novel of the L.A quartet of which L.A Confidential is the third in the series, both taken to the big screen. Set in Los Angeles in the late 1940's, the story is told through the eyes of Bucky Bleichert an LAPD officer and former boxer. He unwittingly finds himself in the middle of some political manoeuvring when a boxing match is arranged between himself and warrant officer Lee Blanchard. They become friends and partners in the homicide division, an interesting relationship with Lee's partner Kay playing off both sides like a pinball. The murder of the black dahlia, Elizabeth Short is of course one of the most famous unsolved murders cases around. She disappeared and was found brutalized, drained of blood. Bucky and Lee happen to be in the area on another case when the body is discovered and the resulting media circus creates immediate pressure to solve the case. The vast majority of L.A's finest are drafted onto the case, including our two pugilistic warrior cops and it becomes a powerfully fascinating crime thriller. The atmosphere is perfect and indicative of the era, from the seedy bars to the less than honest actions of certain officers of the LAPD, in fact strike that, they’re all dodgy fuckers without an honest bone in their bodies. There is an overwhelming feeling of obsession, with a dark and moody backdrop. Both Lee and Bucky are totally consumed with the case, lost to it in different ways, as each spirals out of control and skeletons come creeping stealthily out of closets. The strength of the characters is compelling, defined and complex, as is their deterioration, alcohol, sex and inner torment all play there part. Bucky takes up with a sexy socialite who even looks like the Black Dahlia, another step in his obsession as the case twists and turns, tangled even, seemingly forever unresolved. Extremely well written, fractionally labouring at times but I think the audio narrated by the fantastic Tom Stechschulte more than made up for it. James Ellroy writes from the darker side of crime fiction which it just so happens is exactly what I'm looking for in a murder mystery. I enjoyed the boxing match between the two friends, one a big puncher the other a more skilled boxer and the actions of Bucky Bleichert around the fight set the tone for both their actions to come.Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

  • Brandon
    2018-11-14 21:57

    The body of Elizabeth Short is found mutilated and the LAPD are tasked with nabbing the culprit. Superstar partners Dwight Bleichert and Lee Blanchard try to piece together Short’s missing days but with the media in a frenzy surrounding the brutal murder, making headway proves difficult. If that’s not enough, wading through the political waters of their post-war LA precinct offer an unnecessary distraction. Can the two warrants cops - dubbed Fire & Ice - put the perpetrator behind bars or will the strain of the job destroy their personal lives before they close the book on The Black Dahlia?Despite the dark nature of the subject matter, this book was a lot of fun to read. Now, I know that sounds ridiculous - some of you may even begin to question my sanity - but I’m telling you, this was a blast. Ellroy fully immerses himself in the culture of post-war America and brings the reader along with him.The cool, slick slang of the 1940s is in full force here. Snappy dialogue whips by so quickly that you’ll find yourself devouring huge chunks of the story in each sitting and making it damn near impossible to put down. I’m a sucker for hard boiled story telling and Ellroy’s opening entry into his legendary LA Quartet is not to be missed.The Black Dahlia is the perfect example of what great noir fiction should be - interesting protagonists that we can root for but at the same time love to hate. Bucky is admirable in his quest to uncover the truth behind Elizabeth’s murder but he’s also a bit of a scumbag. He lets his temper get the better of him more often than not and seemingly carries a misplaced sense of self-righteousness at all times. He’s a multi-layered character and a great narrator for the story.While I enjoyed Ellroy’s novel, I will admit that I found the last twenty percent or so a little unnecessary. While the author doesn't leave the reader with many questions, I felt like it would've been better if he had left the mystery more open ended. With the story itself being based on an actual unsolved murder, the need to wrap things up with a bow felt strange. That being said, Ellroy’s own mother was murdered when he was young and the person responsible has never been brought to justice. With Ellroy dedicating the novel to his mother, it’s possible that fictionalizing an ending to a legitimate unsolved murder helped the author work through some of his own issues.

  • Maria Thomarey
    2018-12-11 17:36

    Πισω απο τα λαμπερά φώτα του Hollywood, πισω απο τις υπέροχες λεωφόρους και τον λαμπερό ήλιο του Λος Αντζελες, υπάρχει ενας κοσμος καθολου αγγελλικός ή λαμπρός. Ενας κοσμος σαπίλας, σήψής, διαστροφής Και διαπλοκής. Η μαφία, η αστυνομία, το FBI,ο κίτρινος σκανδαλοθηρικος τύπος, οι επειχηρματιες και τα συμφέροντά τους κυβερνούν αυτόν τον κοσμο. Και αυτόν ανατέμνει στην Μαύρη Ντάλια ο Ελρου. Ενα έγκλημα που δεν εξυχνιαστηκε ποτε-οπως και η δολοφονία της μητέρας του συγγραφέα-γινεται η αφορμή αυτής της ανατομιας. Με ρεπορταζιακό/κινηματογραφικό ύφος και ρυθμο μας καταβυθίζει σε ενα σκοτεινό σύμπαν δίνοντας μας το μίτο ενός μπερδεμένου και ματωμένου κουβαριού. Οταν επιτέλους βγαίνουμαι στην επιφάνεια και πέρνουμαι ανάσα, ειμαστε σοφότεροι: σε αυτόν τον κοσμο δεν υπαρχει κάθαρση.

  • Eirini Proikaki
    2018-12-05 16:49

    Η 23χρονη Ελίζαμπεθ Σορτ βρέθηκε δολοφονημένη και κατακρεουργημένη σε ένα οικόπεδο το 1947.11 χρόνια αργότερα,το 1958,βρίσκεται στραγγαλισμένη και βιασμένη η Τζενίβα "Τζιν" Χίλικερ,η μητερα του 10χρονου τότε Ελρόι.Ο μικρός Τζαίημς επηρεάστηκε πολύ απο το θάνατο της μητέρας του με την οποία είχε μια λίγο περίεργη σχέση και ταύτισε στο μυαλό του τις δυο γυναικες όταν διάβασε για την Ελίζαμπεθ σε ένα βιβλίο."Δεν μπορούσα να πενθήσω ανοιχτά για την Τζιν.Μπορούσα όμως για την Μπέτι.Μπορούσα να διοχετεύσω τη ντροπή της αιμομικτικής λαγνείας σ'ενα ασφαλές αντικείμενο πόθου",αναφέρει ο ίδιος στον επίλογο της Ντάλιας την οποία αφιερώνει στη μητέρα του.Με βάση το πραγματικό γεγονός της δολοφονίας της Σορτ,ο Ελρόι δημιουργεί μια συναρπαστική ιστορία.Το βιβλίο είναι σκληρό,πολύ μαύρο και μου άρεσε πάρα πολύ.Στην αρχή με ενθουσίασε όλη η ατμόσφαιρα του "σκοτεινού" Λος Άντζελες και ο τρόπος που ξετυλίγεται η σχέση μεταξύ των δυο αντρών,πρώην μποξέρ νυν αστυνομικών,το παρελθόν τους και το ερωτικό τρίγωνο με την Κέη.Κάποια στιγμή ,μετα τη μέση,κάνει μια μικρή κοιλιά αλλά μετά οι αποκαλύψεις και οι ανατροπές έρχονται καταιγιστικά και με άφησαν με ανοιχτό το στόμα.Είναι καταπληκτικός ο τρόπος που ο Ελρόι δένει στο τέλος όλα τα φαινομενικά άσχετα στοιχεία.Μου άρεσε που όλοι οι χαρακτήρες έχουν τα μελανά τους σημεία,κανείς δεν είναι απόλυτα αθώος σε αυτόν τον διεφθαρμένο κόσμο του Ελρόι.Η πρωτοπρόσωπη αφήγηση δίνει μια ζωντάνια στο βιβλίο και βοηθάει τον αναγνώστη να νιώσει καλύτερα την εμμονή και την μανία του ήρωα με την Ντάλια και την υπόθεση της.Αυτό που σκέφτηκα τελειώνοντας το βιβλίο ήταν ¨γιατί δεν είχα διαβάσει Ελρόι νωρίτερα" και θα φροντίσω να επανορθώσω διαβάζοντας κι άλλα βιβλία του.

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2018-11-27 16:54

    * The door to the bar swings open and in strides a down at heel gumshoe with a cigarette drooping from his bottom lip. He strides through the bar, his stained raincoat flapping behind him as he pushes aside vacant bar stools and squints through the thinning veil of cigarette smoke. He spots his target and heads to a booth lined with vinyl seats at the back of the room. Pausing he grinds his cigarette butt beneath his heel, hands over the manuscript, tips his hat and leaves.*And that is how this book came into my possession.Ok not really, it arrived in a brown paper envelope, wrapped and posted by another bookcrosser. But the first way was better, non?Anyway this was my first foray into the dark, stained and sullen world of the crime noir and it was quite an interesting journey. The Black Dahlia herself was an unknown quantity and the allure of this story was the voiceless woman who, silent in a deathly slumber could not speak up for herself or provide evidence of her own character. This is where the press and detective agencies stepped in and filled in the blanks, not necessarily in the most factually accurate way, but in a way which gave the case the correct air of mystery, coupled with a shabby glamorous depravity. That's my aimed for look by the way - glamorous depravity. The facts do not need a lot of embellishment to make the case dramatic and shockingly violent - Elizabeth Short was found severed in two at the waist drained of blood, naked and posed with a mutilated face. Even as a writer of crime noir or horror you would probably be hard pushed to come up with something worse and this once again shows that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction. Ellroy introduces two street savvy bare knuckle boxing detectives thrown together to solve the crime and get the girl(s) but embellishes the story with additional seedy Hollywood glamour a bit of laydee on laydee love and a few rogue starlets. It says a lot about humanity that we hairless apes will shoot cannon loads of glitter over a crime and then wrap it in news print in order to shiny it up and turn it into a sort of public entertainment with no consideration of the fact that it was an actual person who was carved in half, bled dry and then carved up to resemble Jack Nicholson's Joker. War was mans inhumanity to man. Now it might well be the media.

  • Josh
    2018-12-12 21:35

    The first book in the LA Quartet proves Ellroy is the epitome of noir. Not only does he exemplify the hallmarks of the genre but adds a realism and sense of desperation few can muster. Turning the pages of THE BLACK DAHLIA will infuse the reader with a keen sense of time and place via a perfect blend of heinous fact and deeply disturbed fiction. Making it all the more harrowing is the believability – not only of the details of the Black Dahlia case itself, but the actions of the officers and other characters alike.Everyone is tainted, judged by their inadequacies, hated by their conquests. The outlook remains bleak from the first bout to the bloody end. Cops Bleichert and Blanchard and the woman who both solidifies and threatens to break them are as well written and wholly consuming as any I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Story aside, the characters are what makes THE BLACK DAHLIA really come to life – not taking anything away from the case which looms over these characters till the very end. Ellroy crafts a masterfully intense and provocative crime noir which takes the reader deep into his own dark places and allows them to wallow in a perpetual state of hopelessness and longing. THE BLACK DAHLIA is confronting, disturbing, and demands multiple reads - one of my all time favourites and a classic of the genre.

  • Richard
    2018-11-25 18:58

    6/10Peaks and troughs throughout this novel; I loved the style of writing, the era, the intrigue of the murder. But overall it felt a little bloated and some of the points didn't have the same impact if it was a tighter novel. I liked the build up of the book. Others have said its slow and didn't add anything but I liked the background on the main characters and enjoyed Bucky's ascension through the ranks. I liked the trio too, Kay always coming across as a bit of an enigma. My attention just couldn't hold though and I lost some of the threads along the way. It just got a bit bloated in the middle for me and could have been a bit trimmed down. I read the audiobook and the narrator came across very much like you'd expect a noir narrator to sound like. He did voices really well and he grew on me. Then he did a Scottish accent and I lost a fair amount of respect for him. I visit Scotland a couple of times a year and I've yet to meet one which sounds like a pirate. Apparently this is how Scottish people sounded in the 40's, I think not. Other than that small gripe he was a decent choice but I'd be tempted to read any future ones rather than listen. Worth a punt and glad I finally got round to one of James Ellroy's books even if I wasn't totally blown away by it. I look forward to some more by the author.

  • Adam
    2018-12-06 17:43

    I've had plenty of bad things to say about James Ellroy over the years, but his work continues to compel me. I found the writing style of American Tabloid unreadable, and the novels of his that I have read have ranged from awful (Brown's Requiem) to pretty good (LA Confidential and White Jazz), but no matter how powerful I found them in stretches or how vivid the subject matter, I always had reservations about his novels.For whatever reason, however, I thought The Black Dahlia was really good, and the best novel by Ellroy I've read so far. Maybe it's the first-person narrator who is not always likable but always easy to relate to. Maybe it's the historical details, which I found believable and right in my wheelhouse. Maybe it was the real-life murder victim around whom Ellroy crafted his tale, and the vividness with which she allowed him to explore his complicated feelings about women.Well, whatever it was, I thought The Black Dahlia was a pretty great novel. It's all about Ellroy and his obsessions, but he keeps himself at enough of a distance from the narrative to make it compelling.

  • Jemidar
    2018-12-04 00:45

    So gripping that I read this virtually in one sitting, but definitely not for fainthearted. This is 1940s LA at it's gritty, sleazy best with lashings of testosterone, violence, sexism, racism, blackmail, corruption, bad cops, shoddy developers, family secrets and the odd necrophiliac. The characters are way past being flawed; they are totally f*cked up. And the details of the murder are grisly.Classic noir based on true crime, with the investigation being fictionalized into one man's obsession with the girl who became known as The Black Dahlia.

  • Procyon Lotor
    2018-11-26 17:36

    Dude, check this out! La Dalia Azzurra è un film del '46. Soggetto e sceneggiatura di Raymond Chandler. Un delitto in una città violenta in una nazione violenta appena uscita dalla guerra più feroce. Fiction. Un anno dopo ci fu un delitto. Realtà. Violento? Tutti lo sono, ma se esiste una scala Richter del delitto, questo torceva i ponti, fletteva le cattedrali, abbatté una piramide. Così come le ricadute possono essere molto più gravi della prima manifestazione della malattia, il caso della Dalia Nera, così fu battezzata la vittima Elizabeth Short, aizzò aitanti attenzioni, catalizzò consapevoli cronisti e determinò devastanti destini. Rimase nella mente di molti, e rimase insoluto. Un assassinio rese Ellroy orfano di madre dieci anni dopo, circa. Scioccato si scosse, si squassò, poi sedimentò. Realtà. Solo pochi sbuffi della nube di sensi e significati dov'era adagiata sua madre coincidono con quelli evocati da Elizabeth Short, ma questo terapeutico tentativo di soluzione, Ellroy lo persegue indefessamente come tardiva riparazione. Fiction. Ma i travasi da fiction a realtà e viceversa, trasfusioni, non si limitano a questo. Per la storia Ellroy non si risparmia. Il delitto vero e proprio compare tardi quando quasi un quarto del libro è stato già investito per l'ambientazione. La vicenda è un esimio emerito esempio d'alta cucina. Con pochi elementi reali opportunamente congegnati senza alcuna invenzione mirabolante, di comodo o che nemmeno lontanamente si può assimilare al facile deus-ex-machina che ammorba troppi thriller tremolanti e traballanti, si genera una sceneggiatura di ammirevole complicazione. Personaggi robusti. Vite pimpanti e pionieristiche di perversioni parafiliche. Duri da spendere, soldi scottanti da spoliazioni e saccheggi e l'imbuto di Los Angeles, dépendance di Hollywood, dove decine di migliaia di sogni infranti, debitamente depositati da debuttanti debosciate della decentrata provincia americana, girano a spirale prima di riempire la bottiglia del passato. Tutte le polaroid di LA sono doubleface. Nel verso c'è Elizabeth Short, la Dalia Nera puttanella, sciacquetta, stupidina, voluttuosa vittima volonterosa, ma tu pagina dopo pagina non riesci a buttarla via e più avanzi meno la giudichi, perché non si giudica chi si ama. Ah, niente autobiografismi facili. Né Ellroy né Geneva Hilliker fanno parte di questo libro. E' uno scrittore sopraffino, non uno sciatto scialacquatore di sceneggiature. Colonna sonora Charlie Parker - Radio Recordings CD I & II....e ricordate, cari lettori, che siete sempre voi i primi a saperlo: di prima mano, garantito al cento per cento, e in via molto, molto confidenziale.

  • Eric_W
    2018-12-01 16:33

    "I want to be known as the greatest crime novelist who ever lived." Strong words from James Ellroy, whose novels combine the harsh dialogue and dark characters of Raymond Chandler and the evisceration of dirty family secrets that Ross MacDonald was so good at. The Black Dahlia takes place in Los Angeles just after the end WW II. Two officers, Mr. Ice and Mr. Fire, as they are nicknamed for their boxing styles -- they are both ex-boxers -- return to the ring for the glory of the LAPD and its tax referendum. They become friends and partners, both in love with the same woman, but that's only the beginning of the complications. The dissected, brutalized body of a beautiful woman is discovered. Blanchard, the senior officer, takes a personal interest in the case because of the guilt he has been unable to exorcize, following the murder years before of his little sister. The case becomes a labyrinth of entanglements, however, as the two officers discover things about each other they wish they had not known. The case becomes an obsession for both. To reveal more would give away too many plot twists. An article about Ellroy in New York (August 24, 1992) reveals that writing Dahlia must have been cathartic for him. Ellroy's mother was strangled under circumstances quite similar to those of the character in his novel. Ellroy's life has a dark side, too. His simulation of a crazy person was vivid enough to convince an army psychiatrist, who voided his enlistment in the army during Vietnam. Judging by some of the other things he did, I'm not sure if he was acting. He was in and out of jail for burglary, intoxication, and homelessness. Libraries became his only refuge, and he read constantly. He spent much of his twenties and thirties trying to shake the dual demons of alcohol and drugs, and his writing reflects the anger and intensity that his friend Joseph Wambaugh still sees in him whenever they get together. His characters are not nice people: the police anti-heroes break laws and kill people. They resemble the criminals they chase, but they are wracked by guilt. Society is corruption. His books are wonderful reading, however, because of the intricate plots and great dialogue. But Ellroy warns, "I don't want to entertain readers. I want to shock them. I want a hellishly violent story told in hellishly violent language by a very bad man."

  • Ginny_1807
    2018-12-03 16:42

    Montagne russeUna storia torbida, di corruzione, imprudenza, squallore, disillusione e morte. Ma anche la storia dell'ossessione che accomuna due uomini, dilagando insidiosamente nel loro intimo fino a minare il loro equilibrio, la loro amicizia e la loro stessa esistenza.Questa ossessione contagia in qualche modo anche il lettore, che viene come risucchiato nel meccanismo ammaliante - e al tempo stesso inquietante e insidioso - di una indagine minuziosa, che mette via via in luce i cupi retroscena del delitto e circonda la figura e la personalità della vittima di un alone di fragilità, di fascino, di mistero.Così la giovane donna soprannominata "dalia nera" per l'abitudine di abbigliarsi con abiti di questo colore nelle sue escursioni erotiche, prende progressivamente forza di seduzione, convogliando su di sé interrogativi e fantasie, riflessioni e ipotesi.Nonché bruciante indignazione per la violenza che le è stata inflitta spezzando la sua vita nel fiore degli anni, della bellezza, delle speranze.L'intelaiatura della trama, sostanzialmente scarna, si complica all'interno di una struttura narrativa imponente e labirintica, con ripetute digressioni che intersecano gli eventi tra passato e presente; mentre la scrittura scabra, ellittica e febbrile che caratterizza questo autore dilata le emozioni e anima fino al parossismo il ritmo narrativo.Leggere Ellroy è come salire sulle montagne russe: un percorso da brivido con evoluzioni acrobatiche tra imprevisti e colpi di scena, da affrontare con una buona dose di sangue freddo e spregio del pericolo.Ma se si è forti di stomaco, il gradimento è assicurato.

  • Phrynne
    2018-12-04 17:30

    I found this book heavy going at first. The 1940s American cop jargon was like a foreign language at times and I frequently had no idea what was going on. But I stuck with it and in the end the story grabbed me and I just ignored the confusing bits and went with the flow. I am not especially keen on violence or racism in books but in this one it was in keeping with the times. I am giving it four stars because it was gripping, intriguing and ultimately satisfying. However I doubt whether I will read any more books by this author.