Roman Clodia's Reviews > The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
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really liked it

A testosterone-powered wild ride through the dirty streets of post-war LA - there's 'gritty' and then there's Ellroy revelling in the romance of the gutter. Nothing is too twisted to appear on page: murder, torture, masturbation, violent sex, obsession - and if the criminals are hard, the rogue cops are tougher, even when they hide a wistful yearning for something decent and clean.

Reflections and parallels abound: Bleichert and Blanchard whose names hint at other points of contact between them, Madeleine and Elisabeth Short, the eponymous Black Dahlia and her imitator and avatar.

The pace is relentless, the style staccato, awash with cop slang, casual racism and homophobia that pin the era and the environment. There were times I wanted a quiet moment to absorb and rest, but the brazen clang of the language and images just keeps coming. The end with its revelation after revelation, betrayal built upon betrayal, perhaps goes on a bit too long, but this is a gut-punch of a book.
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Reading Progress

December 29, 2018 – Started Reading
December 29, 2018 – Shelved
January 1, 2019 –
27.0% "'I stood on the porch, amazed at the soft centre in the toughest son of a pitch I'd ever known'"
January 1, 2019 –
43.0% "'She was sweet and trusting and sort of dumb, but... inspired'"
January 2, 2019 –
58.0% "' You're just frightened of anything that doesn't involve fighting and cops and guns'"
January 3, 2019 –
67.0% "'how far would you have gone that night?'"
January 3, 2019 –
98.0% "'Daddy's not my real daddy and we've never really... so it's not wrong'"
January 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Nat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nat K How're you enjoying this series R.C? I loved this quartet. It's gritty and dark, similar to David Peace's series in many respects (just on a different continent and different decade).


Roman Clodia I've read it out of order with LA Confidential first and now this one, and, funnily, had just been thinking about Peace, too. I powered through the Red Riding quartet last year whereas I need a break after a single Ellroy. Definitely the noirest of noir.


message 3: by Sid (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sid Nuncius "The brazen clang of the language..." This, I like! Top review, RC.

xx


message 4: by Nat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nat K Roman Clodia wrote: "I've read it out of order with LA Confidential first and now this one, and, funnily, had just been thinking about Peace, too. I powered through the Red Riding quartet last year whereas I need a bre..."

Really good review R.C, you captured the feeling of Ellroy's writing so well. I too read "L.A Confidential" first (not realising it was part of a quartet). "Enjoy" the remaining books once you get round to them.

That's interesting you need a break after reading one Ellroy book. Most definitely testosterone-powered & gritty - that's the perfect description.


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