Friday, 2 December 2016

Black Dahlia by Rick Geary Review

On the morning of January 15th, 1947 in Los Angeles, a woman and her daughter walking past a vacant lot saw what looked to be a discarded mannequin but were actually the remains of 22 year old Elizabeth Short. She had been mutilated; her body cut in half and cleaned, before being dumped in the lot. Because of her striking appearance, the murder victim would become known as the Black Dahlia, one of LA’s most famous and unsolved killings - this is her story. 

Black Dahlia is another brilliant addition to Rick Geary’s Treasury of XXth Century Murder series and an engrossing narrative. As with all of Geary’s books, this one is well-researched and informative (which is especially good to someone like me who only knows the surface features of the case). 

Geary relates the troubled circumstances leading up to Short’s brutal murder with the sensibilities of a thriller writer. The many men she had dealings with including mobsters, her struggles with money, her failed showbiz career, her attempts at fleeing California - who, what and why, we’ll never know - as well as revealing the other, less famous similar murders of women from this time indicating a seemingly protected hellish subculture to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The murderer/s of Elizabeth Short and these other victims were never caught.

Like a lot of true crime, Black Dahlia is morbidly fascinating but Rick Geary’s comics treatment of the case with his well-paced storytelling and detailed black and white art makes it a gripping read also. Those who are familiar with the murder probably won’t be as enthralled but readers who aren’t and enjoy true crime comics will love this one - I sure did! Creepy, unsettling fun - bravo, Rick Geary!

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