Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Black Dahlia

By James Ellroy

Based on one of the most notorious unsolved murder crimes of American history, this book is a work of fiction that runs as close as possible to the established facts but remains fiction.

I put off Ellroy deliberately as I wanted to get through the classic noir authors before I started on contemporary writers, but since I've already read three of Mosley's novels, there didn't seem much point in further prevarication.

Having already seen the movie version of 'The Black Dahlia' I was not surprised by the identity of the killer, and I was slightly apprehensive that this would spoil the novel for me, but it didn't. The book is so much denser than the film with layers upon layers of (sometimes convoluted) detail and Ellroy appears to be an author who goes to great lengths to create well told stories. Whether or not this talent manifests itself in all his novels will be revealed in further books no doubt, and I understand that the original Black Dahlia was something of a fascination for Ellroy, so it could be that this is the pinnacle of his abilities. I have 'The Big Nowhere' lined up on my to-read shelf so I'll soon have a better idea. In the meantime, if 'The Black Dahlia' is anything to go by then I'm in for some good reading!

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