The general reviews for the movie version of this book haven’t
been too kind. While this reviewer hadn’t had the opportunity
to catch the film on the big screen himself, he had periodically
been thinking how disastrous the Brian De Palmer-directed
vehicle could have been, given the intriguing premise of the
when he was at the last page of the book, he realized it was
probably a classic case of reality not meeting initial expectations.
see, the 1998 novel tells a story that focuses more on obsession
and all those intimidating things that go on in the mind.
The synopsis may suggest of a crime thriller, but this element
only forms a backdrop for a tale that is more nerve-wrecking
the real happenings of the infamous Black Dahlia murder case
which happened in 1940s in Los Angeles, author James Ellroy
spins his story around two boxer-turned-crime-fighters Bucky
Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, whose passion for the same woman
and solving the crime will affect their personal lives in
ways they have never imagined.
by Bleichert, the 324-page story does not make you empathize
with any of the characters. Instead, you’d be intrigued
by how the human mind can be so affected by obsession and
passion. And the consequences that result from that will make
you rethink how you have lived your life.
the actual crime isn’t given much emphasis in the book,
there will still be this part in you that want to turn page
after page, wishing to find out how the deed was done, and
who the real murderer is. But when the truth is revealed,
there may be some disappointment in the small payoff.
book may not be everyone’s cup of tea, because it takes
some patience to settle down into Ellroy’s writing style.
However, once you have given yourself enough time to familiarize
yourself with the pacing of the story, you’d be drawn
into the plot, yearning to go deeper into the characters’
worsening states of mind.
finishing the book, this reviewer has an even bigger desire
to see it in moving visuals, especially when he knows that
he shouldn’t be expecting a crime thriller genre film.
if only he could stop thinking about how the movie may have
deteriorating effect on his own state of mind.
“Opponents, then partners, then friends. And with the
friendship came Kay, never getting between us, but always
filling in our lives outside the job with style and grace.
Lee never expressed an ounce of jealously, and Kay’s
come-on subsided into a low simmer. It was there every time
our shoulders brushed, every time a radio jingle or a funny
billboard or a word from Lee hit us the same way our eyes
met simultaneously. The quieter it got, the more available
I knew Kay was – and the more I wanted her. But I let
it all ride, not because it would have destroyed my partnership
with Lee, but it would have upset the perfection of the three
not your typical detective story, this novel has a dark edge
that may not cater to everyone. Read this only if you are
interested in how the mind can be murkier and gloomier than
Included is a new 2006 afterword by Ellroy which tells readers
the creepy connections between the real Black Dahlia and his
own mother, and how these two women have inspired him to pen
by John Li