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The Black Dahlia Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 2006


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The Black Dahlia + L.A. Confidential + The Big Nowhere
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446618128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446618120
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Based on a notorious, unsolved Los Angeles murder case, the central drama of this hard-boiled mystery--set in the late 1940s--begins when the body of Elizabeth Short, an engagingly beautiful and promiscuous woman in her 20s, is discovered in a vacant lot, cut in half, disemboweled and bearing evidence that she had been tortured for several days before dying. Dubbed "The Black Dahlia" by the press, the victim becomes an obsession for two L.A.P.D. cops, narrator Bucky Bleichert and his partner, Lee Blanchard, both ex-boxers who also are best friends and in love with the same woman. Despite a huge effort by the department, leads seem to go nowhere, and Bucky is mortified when he inadvertently helps to suppress evidence--the apparently innocuous fact that a woman he spends many nights with, casually bisexual Madeleine Sprague, daughter of a crooked real-estate tycoon, knew "the Dahlia" and slept with her once. Bucky begins to fear for his future, but slowly and dangerously, he learns that his is one of the tamest crimes of corruption committed by the many people he knows. Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit, with the perfect settingof booming, postwar Los Angeles.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Using the basic facts concerning the 1940s' notorious and yet unsolved Black Dahlia case, Ellroy creates a kaleidoscope of human passion and dark obsession. A young woman's mutilated body is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The story is seen through the eyes of Bucky Bleichert, ex-prize fighter and something of a boy wonder on the police force. There is no relief or humor as Bleichert arrives at a grisly discovery. Ellroy's powerful rendering of the long-reaching effects of murder gives the case new meaning. This should be a major book for
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marina on March 24 2004
Format: Paperback
This was my first James Ellroy book, and it is now my favorite of all time. He ended it in a twist...that i did not see coming. The frustration that he brings out in Detective Bleichert, and his passion for Kay and Madeliene, and Elizabeth Short, are unexplainable. It's a classic!
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By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 6 2006
Format: Audio CD
Everyone loves a mystery, especially when the setting is glamorous, the characters edgy, and the plot well crafted. So, sit back and get ready to enjoy The Black Dahlia, an international bestseller along with James Ellroy's other L.A. Quartet novels, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz.

This novel is based on an actual event, the unsolved murder of an aspiring young actress, Elizabeth Short, in 1947. This was not just any slaying - she was a beautiful young woman whose killing was especially gruesome. Many were haunted by her death and began calling her The Black Dahlia.

Two men were more than deeply affected by the crime - detectives Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard. Both were driven to solve the killing, and through Ellroy's narrative listeners learn just how destructive obsession can be.

Some posit that this story is based on the murder of Ellroy's own mother in 1958. This occurred when Ellroy was a child and her murderer was never found. Quite obviously, this was a death that did not leave him unaffected as some may have read in his memoir My Dark Places. The parallels are obvious yet do not detract in any way from the power of Ellroy's prose or his deft construction of a dark drama.

Actor Stephen Hoye, who has appeared in films and on stage in London and Los Angeles ,delivers an expert reading of this noir tale.

- Gail Cooke
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Format: Paperback
This is not the work of a healthy mind. That doesn't mean that it's not brilliant, but be aware and be careful before you embark. You will probably have to finish what you start, and it is ultimately un-pretty. It's not too far a stretch to guess that Ellroy's own obsession with his mother's murder is playing out here, and the torment is ugly, graphic and real. Yet, like all truly talented and disciplined artists, Ellroy is able to make of his ghastly obsession an artistic statement about a society, a place, a time. His ULTIMATE 'solution' to the crime is not completely believable, because what happened to Betty Short, the 'Black Dahlia' is clearly the product of a private, unconscious descent into a particularly vile form of madness that he unconvincingly puts off on a character who can't really support the behavoir. But the grotesque characters met on the way down ARE real, and their lust for cruelty, death and dead things convincingly connects to ancient dramas of torture, and the 20th Century horror of the World War that ushered in a Century of atrocities founding a mountain of crazy profiteering on a grand scale. One is enormously grateful for the presence of a single character, Russ Millard (known aptly as "the Padre") who serves as a reminder that decency in some form does carry on. Otherwise, the police, the builders of the Hollywood hills, the film industry, and all powers north and south of the border seem devoted to a particularly foul living out of viler imaginings than most of us, fortunately, entertain in even our worst nightmares. To be honest, I finished this novel inclined simply to pray for Ellroy, and other direct and indirect victims of sexual violence, and that we and all the other Betty Shorts of the world should be spared.
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Format: Paperback
This was not a easy book to find, and once I got hold of it, I found it tough to read as well. In San Francisco I saw a photo exhibit of Los Angeles police photographers. Once of the star subjects from the 40s was Elizabeth Short, also know as the Black Dahlia. There were copies of her letters and other documents and I was hooked and had to know more. Ellroy's book was the next step. Unable to find it in SF, at least not in the four bookshops I visited, I finally located it in London. (This time I didn't try Amazon!)
I wasn't disappointed but I was frustrated, only because I wanted to know more about Elizabeth Short but THE BLACK DAHLIA is really about police work in Los Angeles. The protagonist, an ex-boxer, also wants to know more about Elizabeth Short and the story involves his obsession with her and her murder, his relationship to his job, his pals and the people linked to Betty Short. Even his tough personality cannot withstand the hideous and twisted goings-on in the police force. The story swings out of control when all the characters start to link up so that Ellroy can tie up his story. He wraps up the Black Dahlia's murder with what I found to be a preposterous conclusion. Nevertheless, whether or not it's a good point, the description written by the murderer in a journal (the conceit being that murder isn't worth it unless it's recorded) is the most shocking account of murderous human suffering I have ever read.
Toughness extends through every word: the metaphoric and staccoto cop language, the twists of character and desire, and the hard-hitting story depict a world in which there is little comfort and few resolutions of which none are happy.
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