The Bottom Line
- Ellroy's writing is superb -- every word counts
- The characters in The Black Dahlia are well developed and complex
- The mystery surrounding Elizabeth Short's murder makes a good story
- Lots of plot twists and turns make The Black Dahlia a good mystery novel
- Graphic murder descriptions & sex make this inappropriate for younger readers
- Fact: On January 15, 1947 the mutilated, severed body of Elizabeth Short was found Los Angeles
- Fact: Elizabeth Short's murder is one of the highest profile unsolved cases in California history
- The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy uses facts from the case to create a story of mystery & obsession
Guide Review - The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy - Book Review
Bucky's fascination with the murder is contagious, and as a reader I found myself wanting to know more about the true Elizabeth Short and the fictional version of her in the book. I had to read on to find out what would happen, but even after I had finished the book the Black Dahlia kept creeping into my mind.
The Black Dahlia is, however, Bucky's story as much as Elizabeth's. Bucky is a flawed protagonist who does things that no "good guy" would ever do, yet manages to be a hero who you want to win. Bucky's obsession takes him to the edge of madness, and Ellroy takes the reader along on that journey. Along the way we get to experience the seedy underside of post-World War II Hollywood, a place full of violence, sex and dishonesty.
The Black Dahlia is not light reading, but it is good reading. It will entertain and intrigue anyone daring enough to pick up the book and enter Ellroy's world.