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Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Black Dahlia (original 1987; edition 2011)

by James Ellroy

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Title:Black Dahlia
Authors:James Ellroy
Info:Windmill (2011), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (1987)

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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
I kinda knew the title of this book or heard the its name or part of it somewhere back along time ago so based on that and that alone I picked it up and began to read and I can tell you I was damn glad I did so. It's set in the late 40's and at the start I thought that that would be a problem all full of wise guys and all of them talking in that crazy yankee doodle dandy kinda way but no they didn't in fact the whole thing was a bit of a eye opener to read and I soon forgot about the years it was set in and was taken into a world of really dirty cops and black people being talked about as niggers like that's normal what's your problem and the same went for how they dealt with gay's & lesbians - but what I loved most about this story was firstly is ability to shock me by simple short descriptions of how brutal a murder and a murderer can be and then on top of all that there were all these twists and turns and as you get nearer and nearer to the end you think is solved and all the author has to do is tie up any loose ends just like most books but then... another twist pops up and it's one you thought you'd thought of but you never got it just quite right well not like the author did and he did it better and so you read on - and in the end you go out and buy another book from this guy. I hope this helps ( )
  nikon | Apr 15, 2014 |
Just turned the last page of the afterword. Never having seen the movie, I was fascinated by the book. it was a little slow going at first, even though it had to be in order to set up the friendship between Lee & Bucky. The story was sad, horrific, twisted, detailed, & like a train wreck you can't look away from. How much of this book is actual fact & how much Ellroy took poetic license with, I'm not sure. I could have done without some of the negative terms the policemen used for women, but I do understand that those slang terms were authentic to the time frame, so in that respect it's ok I guess. The afterword, where he speaks about his own family member, her life & brutal unsolved death that mirror the Dahlia's was really very touching to read, & gave me more of an insight to the author, who I have never read any other books by.

All in all, a haunting read that will stay with you... ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
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. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
I don't know precisely what I didn't like about this book it just seemed... contrived? I never became overly involved with the characters and by the time I was 75% done I kept thinking... 'Who CARES?' I finished it - I was a little afraid the killer would never be found, which would have REALLY pissed me off but it manages to wrap itself up in a neat little package with a semi-happy ending.

The blatant racism/sexism didn't bother me in and of itself - but the book was published in '87. I don't know if the author was trying to show how things were in LA in the '40's... I don't really know enough about the time/location to make an accurate guess.

Maybe if you lovelovelove crime novels you should read it. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
Neither old fashioned pulp mystery nor noir mystery, Black Dahlia is an overly long, overly drab mystery about the murder and decapitation of a woman in Los Angeles in 1947. The detectives, Lee Blanchard and Bucky (Dwight) Bleichert, aka Fire and Ice, as well as the city itself was absorbed with the mystery, which appeared unsolvable. They mystery impacts their lives, not merely their careers.

I was looking forward to reading a James Ellroy mystery and this was on a 50 Must Read Mystery list. I certainly wouldn't include it (or him). There are much better stories and authors (based on this one book) that were not included on the list. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Jan 28, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Ellroyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lorenzin, LucianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Now I fold you down, my drunkard, my navigator, My first lost keeper, to love or look at later.
- Anne Sexton
To Geneva Hilliker Ellroy 1915-1958
Twenty-nine years later, this valediction in blood
First words
I never knew her in life.
This has been going on since Mae West was a virgin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:25 -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.

(summary from another edition)

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