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by Max Allan Collins
Recorded Books, May 2004
Unabridged audiobook pages
ISBN: 0451205170

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Buy or rent from www.recordedbooks.com

Hollywood has been considered a place filled with glitz and glamour where many aspiring actresses go out and try their luck at achieving fame and fortune. During the 1940s Elizabeth Short came to tinsel town in the hope of becoming famous. That she did all right but not in a way that she expected. She was the victim of a brutal and senseless murder and she became known by a nickname given her by the press. She was the Black Dahlia.

Max Allan Collins takes this infamous unsolved true Hollywood mystery and gives it a new spin where readers get to learn the 'truth' of what really happened almost 60 years ago. The writer uses all sources of public records available about the Black Dahlia case and adds his own fictional elements in the story that meshes perfectly with the known facts. Readers know that ANGEL IN BLACK is a work of fiction, but when you look at the real life facts regarding this case you cannot help yourself by being more than impressed with Max Allan Collins' versatility and creativity.

In this version of the story, Collins' series detective Nathan Heller knows too much about the case and he has his own personal reasons for the police not to learn the truth. The thing is that he found the body and he had a previous relationship with Elizabeth Short in Chicago prior to her going to Hollywood. If this fact were known he might be suspected of the murder and he does not want that to happen. He will do his own investigation during a working honeymoon serving as a sort of crime reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner. One thing that he does not believe is in coincidence and he thinks that the body was really left for him as a message.

Nathan Heller goes through the dark side of Hollywood trying to discover the truth in the brutal slaughter of Elizabeth Short, mixing with hoodlums and punks as well as some of Hollywood's respected elite. The Black Dahlia case has never been officially resolved but theories continue to abound. Collins takes advantage of all the uncertainties with a credible storyline that serves as an educational experience for those unfamiliar with the details of the case.

Jeff Woodman is the narrator of this unabridged recording of the story and he provides quite a bit of entertainment value for readers. He brings a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor to his listeners by letting people inside his thoughts and bringing laughter to a gruesome death. One word of warning, this is not the type of audiobook to take for family car rides. The crime was horrific and the language is about as strong as it can get without actually using swear words.

The Nate Heller series is a find; Max Allan Collins writes great fiction.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, August 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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