The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante

‘The Red Dahlia’ begins with a young newspaper boy discovering the badly mutilated body of a young woman. It is the 2nd book in Lynda La Plante’s Anna Travis / James Langdon series which is still being written with number 9 – ‘Wrongful Death’ due for release this year.

Detective Inspector Anna Travis is part of the team, led by DCI Glen Morgan, who are investigating the brutal murder. When Morgan is unable to continue due to illness, DCI James Langdon, along with DS John Barolli and DI Mike Lewis, are brought into the team, throwing the foursome together again.

The body that has been found is so gruesome, that even experienced police officers have trouble coping. The woman has been cut in half after having her body drained of blood. There are severe injuries all over her body that were inflicted before her death.

The mutilation was obviously carried out by an experienced surgeon who also seems to have extensive forensic knowledge. There are absolutely no clues leading to the murderer and it takes a while before the body is even identified.

Then the murderer starts sending notes to the police and the newspapers. This draws attention to the 1930s Black Dahlia case which was never solved. This case is a copy of the Black Dahlia case in more ways than one.

Eventually, and anonymous phone call leads the police to a suspect. Now all they need to do is prove a case of murder against a very clever man.


Lynda La Plante writes in a way that translates very well to the making of T.V. shows. Very factual and detailed. But, also pretty good to follow as a novel. The plot of this one was very clever and very brutal.

The other story going on in this series is the on-and-off relationship between Anna Travis and James Langdon. Anna, unfortunately, is infatuated with the arrogant, rude, drunken (but brilliant) Langdon.

I’m looking forward to the next instalment in the series – ‘Clean Cut’.


Book Published 2006


See a full list of books by Lynda La Plante

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, La Plante, Lynda, Series Fiction, Thriller

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