2008: 51. The Black Dahlia

“I never knew her in life.  She exists for me through others, in evidence of the ways her death drove them.”

The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy


This is my first Ellroy.  My friend the other Carrie had raved to me about his LA noir trilogy (quartet, maybe?) and thus, even though I had not really enjoyed the movie that much, I snapped up this marked down copy at Barnes & Noble (marked down because it has the movie tie in cover, even though they were selling the cover above at full price.).  And I really, really liked it - in fact, reading the book made me appreciate the movie more, which almost never happens.  The movie wasn’t what I had been expecting (a straightforward telling of the Black Dahlia murder), but its a great adaptation of the book, which is more of a mediation on noir, and betrayal and violence.  The story is that of the detective, Bucky Bleichert, who is promoted to detective (basically because of his boxing prowess) and, along with his partner, Lee Blanchard, becomes involved in Los Angeles’ most famous (real-life) unsolved murder, the grim Black Dahlia crimes.  By the end of the novel Bleichert has gained and lost a partner, a wife, and a career.  He also finds answers, though at great cost.  Ellroy has created a believable and horrible world, and has done Dahlia a service by creating an answer that she didn’t get in real life.  A great read.


Date/Place Completed: 4/4/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017