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The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
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The Black Dahlia (1987)

by James Ellroy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: L.A. Quartet (1)

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4,027961,268 (3.62)208
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English (83)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (96)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
We follow the lives of two Los Angeles police officers, Bleichart and Blanchard, as they stumble their way through personal addiction to drugs, to their lives as amateur boxers, to their lives as cops in a division which is full of bent cops and bribed cops who beat and kill at will. There is a woman both men are attracted to - and she also is complicated and not-so-lily-white. Then there is the murder of a young woman called Betty Short and the lurid investigation, corrupt and bungled, which ensues. Bleichart becomes obsessed (plus sexually obsessed) with the gruesome details of the case.
In all, I found this book hard going and it didn't live up to its reputation. The story was disjointed, the writing style downright weird (surreal?) in places and firmly centred in the mind of Bleichart who veered from loyal partner, to a man dreaming of sex with a cadaver, to brutal cop, to corrupt cop to good cop. I like noir, but it has to be well written.
The book began to hook me in the last quarter and it became fascinating as the lurid plot spun itself out to its most gruesome, revealing practically nobody to be free of implication in the corruption of that era. However, it all came far too late for me. Three stars and I'm being generous. ( )
  AnnGirdharry | Feb 16, 2017 |
My mother told me about the Black Dahlia when I was growing up. The entire mystery was intriguing to me. I loved listening to it. Very raw. Not for the prudish or squimish. ( )
  NanaDebs | Jan 9, 2017 |
I got about 3/4 of the way thru and just could not bear it any longer. An unrelentingly hopeless story with unlikeable characters filled with dark desires doing senselessly crude and stupid things. Even the good writing couldn't make me want to finish it.
  Storeetllr | Dec 29, 2016 |
I know it's a classic. I like suspense. I wanted to like it. But I didn't. Even for an average-lengthed book, it felt long and overraught. For whatever reason that was my reaction, but Ellroy is a good writer so worth a shot to try him out. ( )
  penguinasana | Nov 21, 2016 |
In the noir history of Los Angeles there is the unsolved murder mystery of Elizabeth Short. Her mutilated body was found dumped in an empty lot on January 15, 1947. The crime created a sensation at that time, and to this day remains unsolved.

Noir author James Ellroy here creates a story concerning two policemen who are involved on the fringes of the police investigation of Elizabeth Short, dubbed The Black Dahlia by the press. This is an entertaining novel about the lives and loves of the two policemen, but Elizabeth Short has very little to do with the fiction here; she never appears as a character. ( )
  ramon4 | Oct 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
We follow the lives of two Los Angeles police officers, Bleichart and Blanchard, as they stumble their way through personal addiction to drugs, to their lives as amateur boxers, to their lives as cops in a division which is full of bent cops and bribed cops who beat and kill at will. There is a woman both men are attracted to - and she also is complicated and not-so-lily-white. Then there is the murder of a young woman called Betty Short and the lurid investigation, corrupt and bungled, which ensues. Bleichart becomes obsessed (plus sexually obsessed) with the gruesome details of the case.
In all, I found this book hard going and it didn't live up to its reputation. The story was disjointed, the writing style downright weird (surreal?) in places and firmly centred in the mind of Bleichart who veered from loyal partner, to a man dreaming of sex with a cadaver, to brutal cop, to corrupt cop to good cop. I like noir, but it has to be well written.
The book began to hook me in the last quarter and it became fascinating as the lurid plot spun itself out to its most gruesome, revealing practically nobody to be free of implication in the corruption of that era. However, it all came far too late for me. Three stars and I'm being generous.
 
He is more interested in the setting (LA), the times (just after the war) and the police officers and their lives, than the murder or the victim. Unfortunately, I could have cared less.

Because it is set so long ago there is a lot of nasty stuff about race, ethnicity, religion, and women. Normally I don't judge works set in the past with modern mores, but since the book wasn't good, the nasty stuff really rankled.

Finally his mother was murdered when he was a kid, and he dumped a lot of personal stuff in the book. He uses the author's note at the end to go on about him, and his murdered mother. Very little about the Black Dahlia. In this type of book I like to know what was real, what was changed, added or deleted. Also how he came up with his theory and how likely it is accurate. No such luck, its all about him. What a wallow.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Ellroyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lorenzin, LucianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mutarelli, LourençoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peringer, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Now I fold you down, my drunkard, my navigator, My first lost keeper, to love or look at later.
- Anne Sexton
Dedication
To Geneva Hilliker Ellroy 1915-1958
Mother:
Twenty-nine years later, this valediction in blood
First words
I never knew her in life.
Quotations
This has been going on since Mae West was a virgin.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446698873, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The murder of a beautiful young woman in 1947 Los Angeles sparks an investigation in which Bucky Bleichert, Lee Blanchard, L.A.P.D. Warrants Squad cops, ex-boxers, friends, and adversaries become obsessed by the case.

» see all 13 descriptions

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