Young ambitious cop Bucky Bleichert becomes drawn into the horrific torture-mutilation-murder of promiscuous aspiring Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Short, the "Black Dahlia" of the title. As his obsession intensifies, Bleichert becomes as brutal and immoral as the criminals he fights, but despite having lost almost everything, he does solve the baffling case by himself.
This report prepared by Gary Roberts
Set in post-war Los Angeles (1947-1949), _The Black Dahlia_ centers on the partnership of two former prizefighters -- narrator Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard -- who are now officers with the LAPD. The sex murder of a young woman, found sliced in half, sends the two on a mission not only to break the case but to deal with corruption, racism and abuse among their fellow cops, and face their own pasts and their somewhat complicated and grubby personal codes. This excellent noir police thriller would become the first part of Ellroy's superb, gritty and profane "LA quartet," to be followed by _The Big Nowhere_, _L.A. Confidential_, and _White Jazz_.
This report prepared by David Loftus