Meg's Reviews > The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
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's review
Sep 20, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: noir fans, contemporary mystery readers
Read in September, 2007

Love love love. Part of Ellroy's LA Quartet (which includes LA Confidential). Great noir/neo-noir. Based on a real murder in 1940s LA, an aspiring starlet tortured, murdered, cut in half, drained of blood, and left in a vacant lot with a mouth sliced ear to ear. So, as you can guess, not the happiest book. Gets even more troubling when you through in police corruption, lots of dirty sex, incest, and all the rest of it. The whole "verging on mysogynism, but women are the only really interesting characters" thing too. Good in the way Chinatown is good, and equally labrythine. Also reminds me of some of my favorite authors, like Steinbeck and O'Neill - that are hard to read if you don't let go of some cynicism. Which doesn't make sense considering the subject, but still FEELS true. What makes the book especially fantastic is that the murdered near-whore is the only one who really comes off clean. It was a good ride. Fun and perfect for my mood. Only four stars because I wonder if I would hate it on second reading or in a different state of mind.

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