On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.
In this fictionalized treatment of a real case, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, both LA cops obsessed with the Black Dahlia, journey through the seamy underside of Hollywood to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.
This classic, bestselling noir novel by James Ellroy has finally been made into a film (after it was optioned some 20 years ago) — so naturally, the paperback has been re-released with a new cover and a new word from the author.
The Black Dahlia is a top-notch maze of characters and story, which is true to the facts surrounding the murder of Elizabeth Short but adds many fictional characters and a illusory solution to the crime.
Delightfully riddled with the genre's clichés (the brooding loner detective, the femme fatales, the corrupt crime lord, the crazy rich family, sexual taboos, and so on), The Black Dahlia is a complicated, but fantastically fun read.
Ellroy's own mother was murdered in the 50s, so as you read The Black Dahlia, bear in mind that the author is using Elizabeth Short as a stand-in to help make sense of his own troubled past.
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson