The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quartet #1) - James Ellroy When I listen to Dexter Gordon, I feel that if you close your eyes you can almost smell the cigarette smoke, hear the commotion in the nightclub, and faintly taste the whiskey and feel the glass in your hand.

The Black Dahlia is like that. But more sinister. You can still hear Dexter's sax, but looking around you see that that the bar is not a friendly place to be---the women in the club are dangerous, and the men even more so. From under each fedora you see eyes that range from callously indifferent to those that appraise you maliciously. And there may be one set of eyes that reflect madness and murder.

Ellroy's 40's are a far cry from the Hope and Crosby 40's I remember from movies I watched as a kid. They are not on the same planet. Ellroy tells a tale of unimaginable cruelty, where money is the only thing that counts in life, where people seek and die for the emptiness of fame, and where people are used and discarded on the streets once their usefullness has expired. It is a soul-less place and any search for redemption or justice will leave you reeling on the street with your hands in empty pockets.

What an incredible novel.

Darker than you can possibly imagine, and then darker still. A compelling story with characters you will never forget. A complex, interlacing plot that left me in awe of Ellroy's craft. I can't imagine a better written crime novel. The whole time I was reading, I felt completely immersed in the story, in Ellroy's world, and deeply feeling and suffering for his wonderful characters.

I don't want to say anything about the plot. There are so many surprises in this novel. Do yourself a favor and avoid spoilers and just read....