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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,358 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
The Black Dahlia murder hit post-War Los Angeles like a bombshell . . . an impenetrable mystery-the haunting crown jewel of LAPD's "unsolved" murders. Even before her savage death, beautiful 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet and nightclub habitué, was known as the Black Dahlia-now a magnetic icon in American pop culture, an almost mythical symbol of noir Hol ...more
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Published May 1st 2006 by Amok Books (first published 1994)
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Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the one I settled on to satisfy the Elizabeth Short portion of my ongoing fascination with Noir and True Crime and I am really REALLY glad I did. I've skimmed through some of the others, including those written by people who to me seem to be simply trying to cash in on the timeless mystery and open/unsolved status of the case by propping up all kinds of wacko confessions and stories. But this one comes from a completely different place altogether.

First of all, of all the people cla
Sean Wilson
Elizabeth Short seemed like a promiscuous and lonesome wanderer, whose grey, shadowy eyes foretold an early death. She had certain secrets that would only be known after her death. L.A-based writer John Gilmore gives us a satisfying yet incoherent look into the Black Dahlia case. It's fresh in its evidence, but not entirely engaging in its literary style.
Caitlin M.
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Law Enforcement students/officials, historians, journalists, people with odd curiosities
Recommended to Caitlin by: Chris Pudlo
This is a must read for journalists and people working in the justice system. I was both amazed and horrified by how incredibly unorganized things were when it came to piecing together a case. Forensics did a piss poor job documenting the crime scene, there was tons of corruption and it was a jurisdictional nightmare.

Apparently, journalistic ethics at this time were optional. Reporters ran with whatever unconfirmed rumor story they felt like. One especially disturbing part of this book details a
Sep 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel sorry for the people that are so invested in John Gilmore's crack theory and who on reading this book feel that for them, the Black Dahlia Murder is solved. Not only does he show ZERO respect for Elizabeth but he doesn't offer you any concrete evidence to back up his theories.Lots of anectodal stories but nothing of real substance. There are so many holes one could poke if they had actually done some research before reading this book. There is no plausible way that Anderson had the surgic ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well....... holy shat. This girl REALLY pissed someone off. If you know any women that like to run around being a "prick tease", you may want to suggest they read this book. Playing with people's hearts is a dangerous game. It just might get you cut in half. Elizabeth Short was a beautiful girl that floated through life by taking advantage of peoples kindness and using her looks to manipulate men. And paid the ultimate price. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying she got what she was asking for or ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very confusingly structured book. It reads like one long footnote until the last few pages of the afterword. There's just a bunch of facts and people being quoted from interview and little narration or guiding of basic facts or events between all the points. You don't even get what year it is past halfway point of the book as the investigation was going along. It reads like a book for people already with the expert knowledge of the case. The entire book I was not sure of how good a grasp I was ...more
Michele Brack
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, 2018
#11 A book with your favorite color in the title

This is one of the cases that I actually knew almost nothing about. It was interesting to learn these facts for the first time and I may read other books about this subject in the future.

The case itself is very interesting. There were so many people involved with her that it would have been nearly impossible to meet them all and figure out what happened. It's amazing the impact she had on the entire town even before the sensation of her murder.

I ha
 (shan) Littlebookcove
The Black Dahlia case has always mystified me. It's such a tragic and dark case. To think a case like this hasn't been solved is upsetting too. Because of the crime and the lack of evidence it's all jumbled and a lot of true fact's about the case are lost to history. Even some fact's in this book. But out of all the far fetched book's out there. I honestly think this has the most likely truth to it. What Happened to Elizabeth Short was absolutely Horrific and should never be forgotten.
Alex Severin
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-black-dahlia
I've read several books on this subject and this is my favorite.

John Gilmore's painstaking research is evident. It is very aparent throughout this book that this case holds more than an ordinary journalistic interest for him.

Reading this book for the first time gave me a sense of Elizabeth Short as a real person and not just a dark, mysterious alias or a crime scene photograph. She became a person.

Some of the book is written in a prose style. I'm sure there is plenty of conjecture and a littl
Tom Schulte
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The gruesome story of the 1947 Black Dahlia murder is a disturbing, true tale that includes the shiftless drifters of a Jim Thompson novel, dysfunctional familial pasts of Faulknerian dimensions and ghoulish slaughter of horrific intensity. As with Gilmore's previous titles on the Manson Family (Garbage People also on Amok) and Arizona fiend Charles Schmid (The Tucson Murders, Dial), the author's own story is woven into that of the victims and low-lifes here through meetings both chance and arra ...more
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I went through this period of Macabre and this satisfied my curiosity. This book is less of a read and more of a flicker through morgue reports and actual photos of the crime scene. Keep in mind the pics are EXTREMELY GRAPHIC and made me feel stone cold after reading it piece by piece--no pun intended.
Nicole de Carvalho
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that likes a good mystery!
I’ve always been fascinated with the “Black Dahlia” case and have seen so many different cold case programs on this story. I was glad to finally be able to read the book and was very intrigued. This book provided a lot more detail than any TV show I’ve seen. I also enjoyed the uncensored pictures in the book and was not able to put the book down!
Jamie Severinski
Overall it was a good read. However, a good portion of the information was based on speculation and conjecture. For someone just getting into learning about the murder of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) I would suggest reading this book last when looking for information.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
ANOTHER book introducing a new suspect and claiming to solve the case once and for all. As usual, the author makes his point well and convincingly. It may be correct and it may not. This book tells you every gory detail of the evidence they had to work with. Poor Betty!
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lots of interesting background on Elizabeth Short and her life. Flow of the book is choppy, distracting and confusing at times. Interesting final hypothesis on who the killer was.
Jennifer Dumont
Ok style, horrific story, disappointing end.
Laura Thomas Boren
On the one hand, most of the facts in the book make it a compelling, if not prurient, read. The real story is sad mostly. Elizabeth Short had a short, anxious, sad and ultimately lonely life. She was a true lost soul, living day-to-day out of a suitcase, lying, pulling grifts and giving oral sex to just get by. She was pretty in an unusual way, pale with black hair, compared to the usual healthy, tan women, so Short stood out. Who knows if any of her Hollywood dreams could have panned out, had s ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this today and to be fair I'm surprised it received so many good reviews, I found the first half of the book slow and rambly, it gives you a good idea of what sort of person Elizabeth was not that it exactly casts her in a positive light, but it spent more time painting that picture then actually discussing the case and theories about who actually murdered her then the last 60 - 80 pages were an outright slog where I kept losing the plot and didn't really feel I was getting any clo ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this true crime book started out very exciting and interesting, the book de-evolved the further you read. As chapters went by it was very difficult to understand the context of each and the writing just seemed to become very abrupt and sloppy. Mid book towards the end, it was very confusing who all the newspaper reporters, detectives, police brass, etc that were involved were and their roles. Was it assumed that one would have a background on the case or the task of trying to solve it; ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the book was interesting and informative. I don't know if the author's conclusion holds up as I know there are alternate theories as to who killed her, but nevertheless he backs up his theory pretty well
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
A sad but intriguing story! I have to wonder how it would have turned out had it happened in 2018 instead of 1947.

I also found it interesting how big a role the media played in spreading so much false information throughout the investigation.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hollywood, true-crime
What a confusing way to put a story together. I won't comment on Gilmore's theory itself but why not elaborate on your biggest revelations? Also, it's sad that all that you can really say about the victim was "very hot; lots of dates". Trigger warning for postmortem pictures.
Endless Warner
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The brilliant thing about this book is John Gilmore spends so much time getting to know Elizabeth Short before we get to her death and the investigation.
Jennifer Brooks
Read Amazon Sample
Toni Skaff
I tried to enjoy it. It was more like a chronological report of a life. No passion, no deminsion tonthe character.
Geoff Souder
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the fact that the Ebook version of this book is riddled with typos, I found this book to be comprehensive and impartial. Living in Hollywood and knowing my fair share of desperate actors has allowed me to understand Elizabeth's somewhat dangerous lifestyle. The thing I like about it the most was that it used the available facts and some anecdotal stories that have been gathered over the years.

The fact is that we'll never know who murdered Elizabeth Short. The evidence that we have to
Benjamin Rothman
I found that this book was an enjoyable read, even though it was a little confusing at times. More than once I found myself referencing previous chapters to see exactly who Gilmore was referring to or interviewing. The lack of concrete dates also made it a little difficult to follow at times.

On the other hand, it opened, and seemed to close, the door on a very gruesome murder. There is a sense of sorrow for Elizabeth Short, the victim - and at the same time, a sense of impartiality from the auth
Doug Brunell
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I think highly of this book. So much so that I have given it out as gifts. (Nothing says "I care" like an illustrated book on a grisly crime.)

The story of the Black Dahlia fascinates me. I even have dirt from the site where her body was found. I have watched many documentaries on the subject and have read far too many books on it. This is one of my favorites, and its authors assertions may not even be right. (I am thinking they aren't, actually.)

What makes it so good? It is written in Gilmore's
Tommie Collins
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I felt like I really got an inside look at the life of Elizabeth Short. I had always thought she had a glamorous life & would have been famous if she had been able to live. After reading this I have an entirely different outlook. I feel sorry for her and think that her life was one disappointment after another. She never seemed to have a grasp on reality or a realistic view of the world. I think she had been told she was beautiful & was perfect for Hollywood and expected ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an artfully-crafted true crime novel that I just couldn't put down. It was captivating, fascinating and treated me, the reader as if I were there or investigating this for myself, through presentations of evidence and little anecdotes throughout. The big secret about the Black Dahlia is danced around the entire time and when you figure it out, it all makes sense and it is UNBELIEVABLE! Unfortunately, I read this BEFORE the James Ellroy and seeing the movie, so those were HUGELY disappoi ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

John Gilmore was born in the Charity Ward of the Los Angeles County General Hospital and was raised in Hollywood. His mother had been a studio contract-player for MGM while his step-grandfather worked as head carpenter for RKO Pictures. Gilmore's parents separated when he was six months old and he was subsequentl
More about John Gilmore

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