I started writing this a few minutes after finishing James Ellroy’s, The Black Dahlia and added the last paragraph a few days ago.
It was only in the final quarter of the book that i realised how good it was. Up until then the book felt ordinary and unremarkable to me. There is no specific reason to attribute for this u-turn of my opinion of it. It just dawned on me. “This is very good” and at the same time i was a bit sad that i did not realise it earlier. Suddenly all the character development and plot details became clear to me. For example, the lead character to whom i could not relate to, i finally felt like i understood what he was about.
This caught me by surprise as it’s not a feeling i’ve experienced before. I’ve read books that gradually got better or worse. Books which for a specific reason i changed my mind about them after a certain point.
With The Black Dahlia I basically revised my opinion “subconsciously” for the first 2/3s of the book which i had on first impression found just ordinary.
The thing is, i find Ellroy quite difficult to read and get into. His style and also the vocabulary he uses is very foreign to me. Sometimes because of the cop talk he uses, the era the books take place in, the detailed description of the locations he uses in and sometimes because of reasons i still don’t understand.
Now i am reading his American Tabloid. This is actually my 3rd attempt with this book, the last time being 5-6 years ago. I find the style and vocabulary in this one easier now. Maybe it’s because i got some practice with The Black Dahlia and i am reaping the rewards with American Tabloid from the beginning. This is one of those rare books you want to re-read even while you are reading it for the first time.