If you want a crime thriller that addresses both the main action and collateral action in all its vivid and disturbing detail, The Black Dahlia is the one. While the main story line involves two LAPD detectives hunting for the killers of a pretty, footloose prostitute the writer, Ellroy, brings in a support cast of sordid and shadowy characters to complicate and frustrate the investigation. Ironically, the two main investigators Bucky and Lee get so wrapped up in the criminal intrigues of others in their obsessive search for the truth that any policework quickly becomes compromised. It is only later when Bucky awakes to how ineptly and desructively entangled the search has become that he re-focusses and solves the crime to his satisfaction. The image of the initial bloody, fifteen-round boxing match involving the two detectives in their pre-LAPD days hovers over the plot as a reminder that victory in life comes to those who persist to the end. Ellroy quickly dispenses with the cape crusader image of the traditionally honest cop given to serving justice and produces instead a type who operates purely on gut instincts. After all, the real Los Angeles is a veritable jungle of vice, hatred and lust. No wonder the casualties are high in the search for Elizabeth Short's killers. It is a town where everyone needs to know what other knows about them in order to feel safe. What does that say about modern humanity? A very gripping fictionalized account of one of America's most talked about cold cases.