James Ellroy

Ted Thai / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

The Path to Crime
Ellroy (shown above in 1995) first became interested in crime stories after the unsolved murder of his mother, which happened when he was 10. One particular story that be became fascinated with was that of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring actress who was found mutilated in a Los Angeles lot. Years later, this unsolved murder would become the subject of his novel in the L.A. Quartet Series, The Black Dahlia.

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