I always look forward to the thrillers that this list offers. To date I’ve liked nearly every single one and The Black Dahlia is no exception.
See the thing is that a good mystery is not only about the crime itself but rather other plotlines caused by the crime and this is what this novel is really about.
‘Bucky’ Bleichert and Lee Blanchard are two detectives who are trying to solve the murder of Elizabeth Short (who actually did exist), a person who was found on a L.A. street all chopped up and mutilated. As the focus shifts on ‘Bucky’ we find out that his obsession with the Black Dahlia (one of short’s nicknames) ruins his career and whole life. We also get an image of L.A. at the mid-point of the 20th century, which is a city full of corruption and violence.
This is not a book for the faint hearted. There’s a lot of gruesome (but essential) detail so do prepare yourself for that. However these pieces are the best ones in the book. Also Ellroy knows how to throw curveballs in this mystery so although I did find out the killer was, I was a little bit far off the mark. I’m glad that I got it wrong.
The Black Dahlia is a masterpiece of hard-boiled fiction. It’s also very addictive . In other words if you’re a fan of that stuff – then read it asap.