The highly acclaimed novel based on America's most infamous unsolved murder case. Dive into 1940s Los Angeles as two cops spiral out of control in their hunt for The Black Dahlia's killer in this powerful thriller that is "brutal and at the same time believable" (New York Times).
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Gutsy crime novelist James Ellroy launched his stunningly grimy L.A. Quartet with this delirious thriller about sex and obsession. In real life, the Black Dahlia remains L.A.’s most infamous unsolved crime: the shockingly gruesome 1947 murder of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short. Ellroy skillfully weaves that case into his story of two LAPD homicide detectives navigating a maze of suspects and their own troubled psyches. Ellroy doesn’t flinch from the crime’s ugliness, but his language transcends it—his words blaze with anger and sorrow for victims and villains alike. More than mere crime fiction, The Black Dahlia approaches hot-blooded pulp poetry.
Narrator Hoye firmly nails young world-weary cop Bucky Bleichert in this audio version of Ellroy's 1987 crime novel. The flawed boxer-turned-lawman becomes obsessed with L.A.'s notorious unsolved 1947 torture-murder case, as well as the secret life of his missing partner, Lee Blanchard. Hoye proves a fine match for Ellroy's hardboiled prose, shuttling easily between hard and soft tones, crystallizing Bleichert's mix of cynicism, confusion, hurt and rage. Set in booming postwar Los Angeles, this tale of ambition, deceit and obsession builds to symphonic proportions. Throughout, Hoye skillfully modulates his narration to distinctly render each character corrupt cops, city officials, pimps, GIs, Mexican bar owners, prostitutes, society matrons and even the sound of a bullet piercing canvas. Hoye especially shines during heated police interrogations, able to shift his voice on a dime. The audio includes a new afterword from Ellroy, which might have delivered more punch had Ellroy read it himself. But in terms of this gritty, sprawling novel, Hoye was unquestionably the right man for the job. Simultaneous release with the Mysterious Press paperback movie tie-in (Reviews, Sept. 4, 1987).
L.A. very noir. Channels Raymond Chandler almost perfectly, but lacks a moral compass. Maybe it's that L.A. doesn't have one. Or maybe the author just didn't know how to look for it.
Obsession through Ellroy's Looking Glass
"The Black Dahlia" is an intersection where obsessions collide in passion-fugued madness. Every exquisitely drawn character is neatly chronicled by author James Ellroy with their own, often dark passions that drive them through life in postwar Los Angeles circa 1947. Ellroy tears into the dark side of Hollywood, weaving the story of Elizabeth Short, nicknamed "The Black Dahlia" when the sensationalist story of her killing hit LA tabloids with the anguish over Ellroy's own mother being murdered in LA years later.
The fictional story of cop and local boxing hero Bucky Bleichert's rise on the fast track in the LAPD until the body of a badly mutilated girl is discovered. Bleichert and his partner become obsessed with the Dahlia, as do many of the elite detectives of the LAPD. To narrate more of the story is to give away one of the best-told stories in detective fiction, rife with amazing nuances and subtle well constructed details that will keep you turning pages.
An amazing read, Ellroy at his best.
The 1st book in the LA Quartet of novels is written in a single point of view from Bucky and it's enthralling. Way better than the movie. The mix of fact and fiction, love and murder combine for a great read.