I bought this book thinking it was a nonfiction accounting of the famous unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. The Black Dahlia. Instead, it's aI bought this book thinking it was a nonfiction accounting of the famous unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. The Black Dahlia. Instead, it's a fictional police/crime drama set around the case.
Ellroy's writing is brief and succinct, and I can see how it wouldn't appeal to every reader. Given the period in which the story is set and the harsh conditions in which the characters work as police detectives in Los Angeles, the prose is peppered with slang that some readers may find offensive due to its racist and homophobic nature.
This story follows a cop (Bleichert) who just happens to be in the right place at the right time ~ namely, on the scene when the Dahlia's corpse is discovered. His partner Blanchard becomes obsessed with the case, and when he disappears, Bleichert finds his own obsession growing. The story kept me reading and had plenty of unforeseen twists and turns that had me flipping pages to find out what happened next.
Ellroy's story solves the crime, but I have to admit that once the murderer came to light, the story would've worked best if it had ended there. After Bleichert learns who killed Short, he's at odds about what to do with that information. Then, in an uncharacteristic and gratuitous scene, a lover of Bleichert's who was involved in covering up the crime comes clean to a stranger while Bleichert overhears her confession. In this scene, Bleichert learns the motive behind the murder and what happened to Blanchard when he disappeared.
I found this too convenient and wished the author wouldn't have been so heavy-handed or eager to tie up all loose ends so poorly. It read like Ellroy got tired of writing and summed everything up in one quick chapter to appease his readers, and I felt that cheated the characters.
However, I did like the friendship between Bleichert and Blanchard (even if their names were so similar that at times it was difficult telling them apart). Perhaps it was just me, but particularly at the beginning of the story, I read more into the relationship than the author had probably intended. Let me just say that I wouldn't be surprised if there were some Bleichert/Blanchard slash stories out there.
Overall, an interesting read. It provides a lot of accurate detail on the Dahlia case that should satisfy true/unsolved crime aficionados, and is perfect for readers who enjoy gritty crime fiction. Just be forewarned that the ending might be a bit of a letdown for some....more
Oh my. If Edward Gorey and Roman Dirge had a child, it would be as twisted and darkly humorous as Tim Burton. This is a short collection of really offOh my. If Edward Gorey and Roman Dirge had a child, it would be as twisted and darkly humorous as Tim Burton. This is a short collection of really off-the-wall poems (my favorite was "Voodoo Girl). The images that go with the stories are really fabulous.
A must for Burton fans. I'm giving my copy to my mother because I know she'll love it....more
One of the first books of King's I read. I enjoyed it a lot but think the movie is among one of his best. Unfortunately King doesn't always translateOne of the first books of King's I read. I enjoyed it a lot but think the movie is among one of his best. Unfortunately King doesn't always translate well to the big screen but in this case, he did....more
Being a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I really wanted to like this book. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it chronicles her struggBeing a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I really wanted to like this book. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it chronicles her struggle to create a "city" in which she and the other children can survive the dystopic future they find themselves in after all adults die.
While I understand the story was told from a young protagonist, I didn't like not knowing what had happened to kill the adults. A virus of some sort, I assume, but there was no mention of it nor of the children's concern for themselves as they grew older. Would they, too, succumb to the disease? Or was it a one-time thing that ran its course when the adults were dead? Why did it only attack older humans? What caused it? None of this is explored in the story, which left it a bit underdeveloped for my taste.
Also, there was no mention of the dead parents of the children who remained. I realize this may have been because the story was written several decades ago, but I find it hard to believe every single adult fled to the hospital to die while their children remained at home. There were no dead bodies rotting in bedrooms, nothing nasty decaying in the cellar, nobody left lingering on the lawns where they had fallen. The world the adults left behind was almost pristine, which made the premise of a post-apocalypse a little far-fetched to me.
I know the protagonist had to grow up quickly, but sometimes her thoughts seemed too old for a girl her age. I enjoyed the innovations she had ~ learning to drive a car, going to a farm and warehouse for supplies, moving the children into a fortified location. But the end felt rushed and too convenient. It left me with more questions than answers, and I felt the whole thing could have been written better....more
**spoiler alert** Ned Kelly ~ Australia’s Billy the Kid. I had hoped this book would be more ... I don’t know, linear maybe? Like tell you what happen**spoiler alert** Ned Kelly ~ Australia’s Billy the Kid. I had hoped this book would be more ... I don’t know, linear maybe? Like tell you what happened when, you know what I mean. Instead it was much more lyrical and literary (not that it’s a bad thing to be literary) and not very straightforward. If I didn’t know the story of the Kelly Gang going into reading this book, I probably would’ve been left disappointed.
Example: the story starts at the inn where the Kelly Gang had their final “showdown” with police. Then the bulk of Ned’s story is told as he tells the prisoners of the inn what happened to drive him to an outlaw’s life. The action fluctuates (without warning and usually without notice) between the present and his past, until the police arrive and the two stories mesh into the infamous shootout that left Ned the only one of the Gang alive.
Hope I didn’t ruin it for you but seriously, if you want a definitive picture of the Kelly Gang, don’t rely on this one book to give it to you. At least it mentions the pictures of Joe at the end of it all (I won’t say more for those who don’t know), which is what drew me to the story in the first place. The opening stanza of the song “Kate Kelly” by the Whitlams was enough to trigger in me an insatiable interest in Ned and his struggle against authority.
And given the cover of this edition, and the movie based on it (the movie is really fabulous, much better than the book at giving you the story, so definitely check it out if you want), can’t you just picture Ned and Joe on cold Australian nights in the bush, snuggled up together to ward off the chill?
Yes, I’m a pervert. Anyway, the book did keep me reading, and would really appeal to those who know the story but want a closer look at the man beneath the myth. The author does a great job giving the reader the flavor of the average man’s admiration for the Kellys, showing us how the citizens felt about their outlaw-hero who robbed banks and burned the mortgages of poor farmers, who were overly kind to the ladies, who bought drinks all around their final night at the inn and stopped a circus train for amusement. The police come off like Keystone Kops chasing after their own shadows, which only makes them angrier at Ned and his friends.
The final showdown is a sad scene indeed, though I truly wish the book had mentioned the body armor sooner (that being one of the big things about their stand). And Joe, of course. That bothers me most of all, the indignant way victors have of debasing and dehumanizing their enemies, despite supposedly being “civilized” in this day and age.
So yes, overall good book. Read it if you’re a fan of Ned Kelly or just outlaws in general. But you may want to look for something to give you a more in-depth look at the facts surrounding the man so you can see for yourself just how a widow’s son outlawed managed to catapult into such a symbol of independence and nonconformity in the face of the law....more
I've liked everything of Flynn's I've read to date. This was very similar in tone to her other two books, though I thought the main character was a biI've liked everything of Flynn's I've read to date. This was very similar in tone to her other two books, though I thought the main character was a bit more likable than the woman in "Gone Girl." I was also pleased I sort of figured out the murder mystery by the end of the book -- or rather, I came to the same conclusion as Camille, the narrator, and then was pleasantly surprised when I was proven wrong.
If you've never read anything by this author, I heartily recommend any of her books. They're horror stories in the psychological sense; mysteries of a sort; and definite page-turners that keep me up way too late reading obsessively to find out what happens next. I can't wait until she releases another....more
This is my second Avi book and I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first (which was about pirates, so you know I liked it more). Avi is great atThis is my second Avi book and I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first (which was about pirates, so you know I liked it more). Avi is great at placing readers into historical settings, and really captures the emotions of his young characters well. I enjoyed this book (despite being a little uneasy about the relationship between the main character and his stepfather, though that worked out in the end). ...more