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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Black Dahlia Paperback – April 1, 1998

295 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the L.A. Quartet Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446674362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446674362
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,025,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Bob Carpenter on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
James Ellroy's "The Black Dahlia" is almost too dark, too gripping and too believable. It stands out among a crowd of mysteries (sub-genre police procedural) as simply a great novel. Most mysteries I put down and forget that I've read them. The characters from Ellroy's noir vision of L.A. in the late 1940s and early 1950s are indelibly etched in my mind, as is Ellroy's characterization of the period and location itself. This is the most visceral book I've ever read.
I picked up this book myself from Partners and Crime's Top 100 shelf (P&C is an awesome mystery bookstore in Manhattan's Greenwich Village). I loaned my copy to a friend, who gave it back to me a week later and said he didn't want to read the rest of the series or any other mystery novel again in his life -- this one was perfect and anything else would just ruin his ability to savor "The Black Dahlia". I loaned it to a second friend who finished it in a week, and then went out and bought the complete Ellroy ouevre. This is not a one-night read unless you have strong eyes, strong coffee, heroic concentration and an iron will.
If you get a chance, hear Ellroy read from these books in person.
Sequencing Ellroy's books is tough, because they're all similar in terms of time frame, setting, and characters. The L.A. trilogy plus one is:
* 1947: The Black Dahlia
* 1950: The Big Nowhere
* 1951: L. A. Confidential
* 1958: White Jazz
Dudley Smith also appears in Ellroy's second novel, "Clandestine", set in 1951.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Stephen McLeod on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This first novel in the much-praised "L.A. Quartet" is one of the great American works of art. Up there with Twain, Fitzgerald, Chandler, Hammett and Hemingway. "Dark" is too bright a word for Ellroy's fiction. Another reviewer called Ellroy "the Caravaggio of modern fiction." That says it all.
In the "Dahlia", a real woman named Betty Short, whose butchered corpse appeared in a vacant lot one morning in real-life L.A. circa 1947, Ellroy found his essential enigma and his battering muse. This famous, unsolved murder victim becomes in the novel, a terrifying emblem for his own oedipal quest, a quest that he fearlessly explored in his memoir *My Dark Places*. It is a work of genius, and we are all the richer for it. Its scope is epic. Its tone is sharpened ebony. Nothing in Ellroy's previous novels prepares you for this. It is also a book that repays multiple readings. It's only outdone by each subsequent novel. Full-blown addiction is the only way I can describe my response to Ellroy's fiction. It will jazz you and haunt you and inhabit your dreams.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By on September 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
There I was you see, I walked into the book store, the whole place smelled like old moldy books. So I see this old broad behind the counter. Had a couple of miles on her, sort of like me. So I ask her, trying not to sound too stupid, "Do you have any Elway books?" She looked at me, smiled and said "who?". Elway, you know, wrote L.A.Confidential". She said "Oh, you mean Ellroy". She then walks over to the used paper back mystery section and said, "All I have by Ellroy is "The Black Dahlia". It's based on a murder that happened in L.A. a few years ago". So I picked my brain, thinking, " yeah I read something about this Ellroy guy in the newspaper a couple of years ago". So I buy the book, looks like it is on its last legs, pages are almost yellow and ready to fall out. I take the thing home, read the back cover, get an idea of the story and start to read it. Then after reading a few pages, I'm hooked. I'm turning page after page, my eyes feel like two hot burning coals. I'm sweating, my brain feels like it's been scooped out, slammed against the wall and it's oozing down like cauliflower mixed with vanilla yogurt. I feel like laying two raw pieces of pork chops alongside my head so I can cool off. I read this book in two days. My whole life came to a stop. Never did have a clue on how it would end; yeah there were little clues here and there, but my little pea-picking brain never picked them up. Now I says to myself, "this Ellroy guy can really write". Now I'm afraid to read any more of his books. I don't want my life to come to a stop again. I'm an old retired copper, read my share of mysterys in my day, but I've got stuff to do around the house, I can't just read all day. So be aware !Read more ›
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Back in the mid-1980's, The Black Dahlia was the first James Ellroy novel that I had ever read. I have since become a huge fan, reading everything he has written, including a personal account of his own mother's murder, My Dark Places. My admiration for Mr. Ellroy as an author is unparalleled. Nowhere is his genius for capturing the noir era/LAPD corruption/tarnished Tinseltown of Los Angeles more evident than in The Black Dahlia. This densely plotted tale expertly exposes the gritty, seamy side of post-war Los Angeles. He also writes it like an homage to its victim, Elizabeth Short, whose murderer is unknown to this day. She was the classic Hollywood victim. To his credit, Mr. Ellroy does not shy away from exposing the brutal hypocrisy of Hollywood in the 1940's and 1950's. Mr. Ellroy's books are not for the squeamish; his blunt, staccato-like dialogue can be somewhat off-putting. Anyone, however, interested in a writer who delivers a story packed with interesting characters and an intricate plot, The Black Dahlia - along with Mr. Ellroy's other novels - is the choice for you.
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