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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 Suad 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 uest 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

10 thoughts on “The Black Dahlia

  1. says:

    I hated this damn bookMy friend Hulk boy told me to read this author I may punch him in the faceIt starts with the boxing fight of two young police officers Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard They become known as Mr Fire and Mr Ice The hotshot team that got the LA police dept a raise with their boxing matchThey team together after the fight as partner's Then a young woman's body is found She has been cut in two and tossed out BettyElizabeth Short's story will become ingrained into your memory after that point Her history isn't pretty and the dept tries to keep some of it out of the press because the public won't care about women they see as hooers I kept putting this book down saying that I was going to dnf the bastard Then a few minutes later I would pick it up and begin reading it again That's the kind of fucker this book is It's based loosely on a true story but in real life the Black Dahlia case is still open Bless that poor girl's soulDirty cops women seen as skirts corruption and sometimes just pure stupidity threads throughout this book I totally read it in my head with a Mickey Spillane voice too

  2. says:

    Elizabeth Short is found murdered and LAPD detectives Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard catch the case Can Bleichert and Blanchard bring in her killer before the case destroys them both?Some time around 2005 my local bookstore owner pushed this on me At the time the only detective books I'd read were The Maltese Falcon and a few Hard Case books It took me a week to get through but it felt like spending a month in jail The Black Dahlia was a game changer for me a powerful book that made me see detective fiction in a different light When it went on sale on the Kindle for 199 and Kemper also started reading it I figured it was time for a reread As I've said many times before the magic of getting older is that old books become completely new books I'd forgotten most of what transpired in The Black Dahlia so it was like being tied up and dragged down a gravel road all over againThe Black Dahlia is the rise and fall of detective Dwight Bucky Bleichert and Elizabeth Short the dead woman who ultimately did him and his partner Lee Blanchard in Bleichert and Blanchard bond over boxing and wind up being partners in Warrants until Elizabeth Short is found dead and mutilated cut in half on the sidewalk Both men wind up entangled with Elizabeth Short for different reasons Blanchard wants to avenge her to make up for the sister he once lost and Bucky takes up when Lee goes missingThis book is as noir as it comes full of obsession lies death sex murder pornography and lies and obsession As with most books of this type the mystery is eventually solved but not without costing everyone involved damn near everything in the processIn the decade since I last read this I've become desensitized by reading hundreds of crime books and been made cynical by life in general but this book still packs one hell of a wallop Much like Bucky I was pretty obsessed by Elizabeth Short's murder and couldn't put the book down as cliche as that sounds Just like the first time I read it I felt like I'd spent a few nights in jail when I was done wrung out and ready for a couple beersSomething else the passage of time has given me is how much Ellroy writes like a much darker Raymond Chandler Ellroy's similes kick like an unlicensed45 a cop carries just for emergencies and Dwight Bleichert is one of the most well crafted characters in crime fiction Lee Blanchard is not without his nuances either The relationship between Bucky Kay and Lee really lent itself to some crazy shitHonestly the only thing I can think of to complain about is that Blanchard and Bleichert's names are too similar The Black Dahlia is a must read for all serious crime fiction fans Five out of five stars

  3. says:

    Ah the post war years America’s golden age when things were so much better than they are today When no injustice ever occurred and no one was unfairly treated Every pay check was a fortune every meal a banuet and the worst crime was the odd rapscallion stealing a pie off a window sill Or maybe sometimes the bisected body of a woman who had been brutally tortured would be left in an empty lot which would put a wildly corrupt police force in a frenzied media spotlight as the cops fruitlessly tried to solve the murderIt really was a simpler timeThis was the book where James Ellroy stepped his game up from promising mystery writer to a creator of epic historical fiction by mixing a famous unsolved murder with seedy LA history via flawed fictional characters Our narrator is Dwight ‘Bucky’ Bleichart a former boxer turned LAPD officer just after World War II Bucky agrees to fight another cop named Lee Blanchard as part of a departmental publicity stunt The boxing match makes them partners but it’s Lee’s girlfriend Kay who unites all three of them into a family It’s a dead woman that eventually starts to tear them all to pieces In reality Elizabeth Short was just another young woman who came to LA with stars in her eyes but her unsolved murder became one of those crimes that stuck in the public consciousness Ellroy has talked and written a great deal about how he poured a lot of his unresolved feelings about his mother’s unsolved murder into the Dahlia case and if there’s one thing you’re sure of by the time you’re done reading it’s that he knows what it’s like to be obsessed and haunted by dead women Ellroy is also fascinated by the shady history of LA and its police department and he uses that knowledge to craft a fantastically violent and corrupt world where the cops are often worse than the criminals they’re arresting Almost everyone involved the investigation has their own agendas and the methods used to get what they want are brutal Nobody gets out clean when it comes to the Dahlia least of all those who give the most while trying to learn who killed herThis is a great crime story with a hard boiled edge that was one of the books that made me a huge fan of James Ellroy

  4. says:

    I'm not big on this whole going green trend but today I thought about one thing all book lovers can do to contribute to society use your library card often You probably thought I had something clever to say Sorry to disappoint but let me explain My Analysis of The Black Dahlia 324 pages in the book 67 pages until the plot begins to unfold 300 pages before the book becomes unputdownable as I like to call itWhat does that leave us with?approximately 67 pages of wasted paper and 233 pages worth only borrowing from the library only 74% 24324 of the book worth purchasing Granted I only paid about 5 for the book thanks to halfcom technically I should've only spent like 40 cents Plus think about how many trees that could've been saved if James Ellroy the author had simply gotten to the point But who's counting?The core of the plot is based on a 1940's Los Angeles murder mystery The body of a young woman was found in a vacant lot mutilated cut in half and disemboweled Two detectives ex boxers take on the case and become overly obsessed with this young woman's life and death to the point where it literally destroys their own livesWhat I really struggled with while reading this book was the inclusion of random storylines as well as the excessive and mostly pointless details that made the book way longer than it needed to be For instance the first 67 pages of the novel are spent developing the relationship between the two detectives and describing their boxing past The author also over used police jargon which only made it harder for me to connect with the characters The book's only saving grace was the last 30ish pages where the twisted plot came into focusIn conclusionWhat I liked the twisted mystery plotWhat I disliked Ellroy's inability to focus on what was important to me the readerWhile this book may be worth reading for you mysterysuspense lovers out there I would strongly suggest that you save our trees and borrow The Black Dahlia from your local library Don't let another wasted page get printedPosted on Uptown Literatti

  5. says:

    So I think I am done for the moment with my little nasty obsessive foray into the world of Elizabeth Bettie Short and some of the other men who were obsessed with her Short at 23 was found murdered and mutilated in a vacant lot January 15 1947 and it is still one of the most sensational murders in LA history fueled by multiple accounts of the grisly details of her death and speculation which typically accompanies these kinds of stories about the nature of Short’s sensationalized sex life A naked woman dies and is found in a vacant lot we have to ask uestions for seventy years about her sex life of courseI first read Rick Geary’s comics true crime account which is short but dense and carefully researched and focuses on Bettie Short's life Geary's research leads him to accept the media and publicly stated police view that helped to fuel public interest in her case that she was basically a “nice” girl a virgin almost to the end who just wanted to have fun with men and maybe make it in the movies Short kept a scrapbook of dozens of men she dated most of whom insisted they never had sex with her because this is one of the uestions cops want to know too about a dead beautiful girl This perspective on her as a “Madonna” somewhat strains credibility however as her father’s testimony denies it and several of her roommates cast doubt on it and one of her last “boyfriends” seems to have been a guy in an LA mob that was in charge of prostitution for his outfitEllroy in both this novel and the graphic adaptation of it takes the position that Bettie is while sexually active—and who cares if she is? Apparently everyone including me—a victim of circumstances Like thousands of women and men who naively think they can break into the film world Bettie left home without much money with no promise of work and tried to piece together a life in LA getting involved with “the wrong crowd” one of whom she clearly crossed But the story in Ellroy’s Black Dahlia is less about Short and about the obsession to know her and solve her crime Those who get hooked on her are implicated in this crime including we readers and we all have our own histories and demons to bring to it Ellroy’s story is about detective Dwight Bucky Bleichert and his partner Lee Blanchard who both are led to drugs and madness and criminal excess themselves in the process of investigating this crime Bleichert and Blanchard are best friends ex boxers and partners in the case As it turns out they both get involved in complicated ways with women that connect them to Short’s story Blanchard lost his sister and wants to solve the murder to in part deal with his rage and guilt over her loss; Bucky eventually also gets similarly obsessed with the case and in the process gets involved with a woman who looks like Short who had a short affair with her Both Lee and Bucky are in love too with Kay the woman Lee lives with I know whew a lot of layers to work through here but Ellroy is good at digging deep into this muckEveryone in Ellroy’s story is morally compromised including we as readers obsessed with this sad ugly tale as we too ask uestionable uestions about her sexual reputation and get fascinated with her wild life How many men? Is she bi sexual? Is she in the end a prostitute for the mob? And why should we care about her sensational case? Why can’t we just leave her alone in peace? Who are we to obsess about the men in her life? And why can’t we look away when we too find her body in that vacant lot? This is a particularly American story of lies and media obsession and madness it seems to me In the process of investigating the crime the LAPD received over 2000 confessions from literally all over the world and probably still receive tips today which we learn is typical of a case like this What is up with that? It certainly seems like a tale of collective cultural madness saying something particularly about some men maybe but the story as a whole also implicates many women as willing partners in this crazy world tooThe Black Dahlia is brutal crude profane filled with the lingo and tastes and smells and sounds of forties dark LA life It’s not always easy to read like you're wanting to look away from the car wreck on the side of the road but you're not able to The year after publishing this fine noir carefully researched crime novel not a “true crime” novel and a cultural thriller than a straight murder mystery Ellroy got even sensational and published a memoir about how his obsession with Bettie Short was connected to the fact that his own mother was raped and killed Like Blanchard Ellroy was driven to actual madness completely out of control maybe even like Blanchard near death obsessed with his mother’s case which he fictionally conflates in many ways with Bettie Short’s story So that is fascinating right? Now obsessed myself having also just seen the Brian de Palma film version I have to read Ellroy’s My Dark Places Whew when will it end? Help

  6. says:

    Everyman's Library has just published a new hardback volume containing all four of the novels that comprise James Ellroy's first LA uartet Ellroy was at my local bookstore a few weeks ago promoting this book and his new novel This Storm which is the second novel in his new L A uartet With signed copies of both books in hand it seemed like a good time to return to The Black Dahlia the first novel in the original seriesSet in booming and corrupt post World War II Los Angeles it takes as its starting point one of the most famous unsolved murders in the history of LA or of the rest of the country for that matter The victim was a promiscuous young woman named Betty Short who seemed to captivate everyone who fell into her orbit at least as Ellroy imagines it Short was tortured over several days before her body was cut in half disemboweled and abandoned in a vacant lotShort was only one of a number of young women who came to Hollywood at this time dreaming of success only to come to bad end But the press dubs Short The Black Dahlia and the discovery of her brutalized body turns into a sensational murder case that captures the city's attention a case that can make or break reputations Spearheaded by an ambitious deputy DA the police devote thousands of man hours interviewing witnesses potential subjects and tracking down leads Caught up in the maelstrom are two young cops Lee Blanchard and Bucky Bleichert Former boxers the two men bond over the murder case They become partners and ultimately fall in love with the same woman They also fall in love with the Black Dahlia and the case consumes both of them with irrevocable conseuences for them and for the woman Kay with whom they are involvedThis novel is in many respects a coming of age story for Bucky Bleichert who is at the center of the novel Beginning as an idealistic young patrolman Bleichert will be tested and corrupted by the Dahlia case in ways he never could have imagined and the reader watches in awe and horror as he descends into the hell of his obsession with Betty ShortMixing fictional characters with real ones The Black Dahlia is also a stunning portrait of postwar Los Angeles and of the people and the forces that were shaping the city at that time James Ellroy's own mother was raped and murdered a decade or so after Betty Short when Ellroy was still a young boy As in the case of Betty Short the killer was never found and this may explain Ellroy's fascination with the Black Dahlia Blunt brutal and beautifully written this is a riveting story and a true classic in the field of crime fiction

  7. says:

    WellAs is true of many goodreads readers I am a serial book hopper NOT TODAY I devoured this book like a starving womanToday I discovered for myself not you guys You probably discovered it many books agoa whole new genre and author according to Wiki neo crime noir James Ellroy Absolutely brilliantThis is based on a true and unsolved crime in the late 1940s in LA in the time of the zoot suit troubles and disturbed young ex marines and soldiers home from the War Every one wants to make a buck You knowchain smoking gun toting gangsters and drug dealers a police department riddled with corruption pimps and ' hooers' Ellroy's wordEllroy's mother was also murdered and I believe in interviews the author admits that this novel has all the intensity passion and obsession you might expect as a resultThis was such a dark novel I don't know why this was news to me when it comes from the 'noir' genre but I really was genuinely surprised by its corrupt and sleazy undertones The writing has a hard boiled feel to it that I lovedAll the characters were compromised and flawed In the story everyone's lives were touched or ruined by the victim of the crime the Black Dahlia whether she was known to them personally or notCan't wait to read the next one and explore this whole new to me genre

  8. says:

    Wellit ALWAYS takes me some time to sort out and gather blown away pieces of my sensitive heart MrEllroy has masterfully done for me It makes me feel sardonicbut I LOVE this process and of coursethis GREAT workOne thing that I like about this novel is the massive impact it has on meThe story hooks me up at the startgrabs me by the collar and drags me around violently through the whole storyand finally dumps me into the gutterlet me confirm this;I’m not an open masochist On this priceless experienceI give easily five starsThe other thing is that everyone here is morally corruptto the point that I feel sorry and attached for themThere exists NO shallow person herewhether he or she is good or badI sometimes wonder if there is a clear cut line between good and bad in the real worldMrEllroy CAN write hopelessly badfoolishyet lovable characters that share at least some parts with youI’m sure that’s the beauty of this gem

  9. says:

    Wow WOW Ten Stars MasterpieceBrutal and brilliant raw and alive elegiac and painful A masterpiece of crime noir and personal desire with intense action often obscene Warning Adults Only The police characters introduced are only partly drawn before the horrifically mutilated body of a beautiful young woman is found in a vacant lot An extraordinarily driven tale of partner cops the neophyte Bleichert and the old pro Blanchard are utterly captured by the mystery Looking back I know that the man possessed no gift of prophecy; he simply worked to assure his own future while I skated uncertainly toward mine It was his flat voiced Cherchez la femme that still haunts me Because our partnership was nothing but a bungling road to the Dahlia And in the end she was to own the two of us completely Remember the case of the Black Dahlia was real and remains unsolved today In the best crime noir tradition Ellroy provides us with a very good and dramatic solution but this is not fact read hereWikipedia The Black Dahlia murder caseAlso know that Ellroy's own mother was murdered when he was only 10 CBS News interview with Ellroy 1998 “It’s as if Elizabeth Short became a stand in for my mother I wanted to feel the horror of my mother’s death and I used Elizabeth Short as a substitute” James Ellroy Unsolved Mysteries TV series Elizabeth Short with unidentified manElizabeth Short was born in Boston Massachusetts and grew up in the suburb of Medford just outside of the city with four sisters In 1930 following the stock market crash of 1929 Short's father left his car on a bridge and disappeared after losing all his money After believing he was dead for years she finally sent a letter to the family saying he moved to California Short is pictured here with an unidentified man sometime in the 1940sWarning Adults only There are many horrific and violent scenes here and a truly macabre and depraved solution to the mystery Naked racism and misogyny abound but there is redemption here too with a bright hope for our hero in the final pagesWow Starting the book the meeting and growing bonds of partnership between Bucky and Lee are a rollercoaster of crime brutality and love They are very different yet almost helplessly attracted to each other like the north and south poles of magnets Ellroy then melds the enigmatic and damaged Kay between and around them in a powerfully erotic and emotional allianceIn the early teamwork of Lee and Bucky we see the brutality and youthful certainty of their growing power and authority The pressure is raised and Lee and Bucky are then presented with the horrifying death of the Dahlia Lee's emotional damage and Bucky's love for his partner drag them into a catastrophe of an investigation Everything they hold dear and every belief they share will be ripped apart and defiled by the end of the bookEllroy viscerally presents the Fire and Ice boxing match between the two heroes certainly the best boxingfist fighting I have seen since the Spenser series by Robert B Parker This fight shows the core identity of each man the style the power and heart each will bring to the solution of the crimeThe way Ellroy writes the beautiful Kay to bind them even is pure genius Their relationship is complex troubled erotically charged and yet full of intense love The supporting police and other characters are rich and alive but the air of a dark brutal Los Angeles colours every moment The police case unfolds the politics and corruption just as we expect but without cliché Down we go into an ever darker crime and the darkening souls of our heroesThroughout the middle section of the book we feel the frustration of Lee and Bucky and the other police on the case So many dead ends false clues false hopes We live this case ourselves through Ellroy's fabulous proseSo many fall in love with the Dahlia in death in her beauty and who she might have been Each chapter amplifies her tragedy and her desperation A truly extraordinary tale I literally could not put it down even at 2am last night and was mercilessly dragged to the finish at 4am WowSerious flaw in the plotview spoilerThere's no way the fire Russ started in Georgie's cottage would have burned much of the body parts and specimen jars hide spoiler

  10. says:

    In January of 1947 the body of a woman later identified as Elizabeth Short was found mutilated and abandoned in a vacant lot Los Angeles In the papers ever eager to run with a story of this ilk she became known as the Black Dahlia after a film of the same name In June of 1958 the assault and murder of another woman Jean Hilliker formerly Ellroy hit the LA papers Unfortunately there were probably many other victims who came in between them but these would be the two murders that most impacted the life of the young James Ellroy still known then as Lee Earle Ellroy As described in the afterword to this 2006 edition of his book which accompanied the release of its movie adaptation the fictionalized story is inspired by the lives and deaths of both women In real life both murders remain unsolved James Ellroy's world is a dark dark place one that is corrupt in every sense of the word The detective and ersatz Ellroy Dwight Bucky Bleichert though by no means naïve at the start comes to see how the most gruesome elements can seep into and pervade every aspect of one's life Innocence isn't lost it was never there to begin with The writing is frantic and maniacal at times – intentionally so The characters' frustrations become your own I found myself putting the book down and picking it back up in a huff too haunted to just leave it alone I certainly could not live on a literary diet of James Ellroy alone though I imagine that doing so would result in actual weight loss but he is an undeniably powerful writer whose words like the Dahlia's smile will never really leave you alone