Colin and Dwight are on a mission to Los Angeles to find Uncle Skip, who is obsessed by the unsolved 1947 Black Dahlia murder. “She wasn’t some self-loathing skank who turned tricks for drugs and money,” Skip admonishes them, “She was Elizabeth Short. Born twenty-nine July in nineteen and twenty-four in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and murdered—very, very savagely—on, or around, the fifteenth of January, nineteen hundred and forty-seven . . . I want you to show her the respect she deserves.” A five-pound-burrito-challenge, a near-death curbing and one titty-bar later, a kind of truth emerges. The Dahlia Boyz learn something about respect and dignity.
Andrew Hunt teaches at the University of Waterloo and is the author of two books on the Vietnam era in American History. His next book will be about Ronald Reagan and cold war culture in the 1980s. He writes a regular newspaper column and blogs on veganism and animal rights.
Book design by Christian Snyder.
“The horrific 1947 slaying of a Los Angeles woman named Elizabeth Short caused a news media sensation. And in the decades since, the so-called Black Dahlia case has been the inspiration for books, pop songs, movies and even video games. University of Waterloo history professor Andrew Hunt uses the continuing interest in the unsolved murder as a backdrop for this darkly funny novella, published by Blaurock Press of Kitchener. As the story opens, young Colin Ellis, owner of the struggling Bazooka Video & Media shop in Atlanta, is summoned by his Aunt Harriet who begs him to cross the country to track down his Uncle Gordon, the estranged younger brother of Colin’s father, Melvyn. Melvyn has Alzheimer’s disease and it’s distressing to Harriet that he is calling out for Gordon, an odd duck who is believed to be in Los Angeles leading guided tours of sites with connections to the Black Dahlia case. Colin’s cousin, Dwight Sperry, agrees to join the mission and together they fly west. Dwight’s a colourful character who speaks in an appropriately colourful way, but he more than meets his match when the two pals finally catch up to Uncle Gordon. Hunt, who was born in Calgary and raised in the United States, has an ear for the spoken word and the lively conversations that he has penned are an entertaining feature of this tale, which is a carefully crafted blend of scenes both funny and forlorn”.— John Fear, May 14, Waterloo Region Record, Ontario, Canada