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Friday, May 18, 2012

My Dark Places

After reading James Ellroy's The Hilliker Curse I realized that I needed to go back in time and read it's predecessor, My Dark Places.

When he was just ten years old, his mother was murdered.  The murder went unsolved, and the young man dealt with mixed emotions.  He hated his mother yet he was obsessed with her.  He was like any normal ten-year-old boy yet he was world's away.  As an adult he goes back to try to solve the case on his own with the help of a former police officer, now private detective.  Can he discover who actually murdered his mother, or will this be another dead end?  Can he use this work to finally let go of the past?

This book is split into four parts: two objective, two subjective.  The first section gives the reader a blow-by-blow of the case into Jean Hilliker Ellroy's murder and subsequent investigation by authorities.  The reader follows along with the leads and interviews until no more can be established.  Moving in the second section, Ellroy uses first person to describe this same time period from his point of view--what he was thinking, how he dealt with his mother's murder.  Section three takes us into the subjective history of murder in Los Angeles as it relates to Jean Hilliker, and we end in the fourth part with Ellroy's search as an adult to find his mother's killer and through that, hope for himself.

It is no shock that I looooove true crime, and I am super glad I read this book.  It was a fascinating history of murder in Los Angeles in the '50's and '60's.  I loved being on Ellroy's journey with him as he delves deep into his mother's murder--who could have, and would have, done this?  Why would they want to kill his mother?  It is so interesting--but most of all is his emotional journey to understand why he cared so little about his mother's murder as a child and how he has dealt (or not dealt) with all of this as an adult.  If you are going to pick up The Hilliker Curse, be sure to read this book first.  They are certainly companion pieces and certainly good for a rainy weekend.

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