The first book in the LA Quartet proves Ellroy is the epitome of noir. Not only does he exemplify the hallmarks of the genre but adds a realism and sense of desperation few can muster. Turning the pages of THE BLACK DAHLIA will infuse the reader with a keen sense of time and place via a perfect blend of heinous fact and deeply disturbed fiction. Making it all the more harrowing is the believability – not only of the details of the Black Dahlia case itself, but the actions of the officers and other characters alike.
Everyone is tainted, judged by their inadequacies, hated by their conquests. The outlook remains bleak from the first bout to the bloody end. Cops Bleichert and Blanchard and the woman who both solidifies and threatens to break them are as well written and wholly consuming as any I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Story aside, the characters are what makes THE BLACK DAHLIA really come to life – not taking anything away from the case which looms over these characters till the very end.
Ellroy crafts a masterfully intense and provocative crime noir which takes the reader deep into his own dark places and allows them to wallow in a perpetual state of hopelessness and longing. THE BLACK DAHLIA is confronting, disturbing, and demands multiple reads - one of my all time favourites and a classic of the genre.