James Ellroy

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alfredo_buscatti

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I am on his fifth novel in two months and have never read any author this exhaustively this fast. Addictive as bourbon. Although I usually read Austen, Faulkner or others like them who have been championed by the ages, I cave to Ellroy without complaint as his staccato style beats like the roll of a jazz drummer, declarative after declarative, eliding words, full of slang and obscene invective, and is the accompaniment to characters inhabiting every underworld niche. Grit is everywhere. The cops are more brutal than the criminals. He takes me places that I’ve never been, from the many suspicions of J. Edgar Hoover’s precarious perches to the haunts of Haiti, filled with Klerin liquor (an hallucinogen made from blowfish toxins and the glands of toads), where zombification is amply practiced.

In some books there is no possibility of redemption. The characters are always high, never sleep, are always chasing the money. In others, particularly “Blood's a Rover,” two characters buy it but, presumably, go to heaven, exiting in an atypical Ellroyian manner. This truly warms the heart.

The plots are intricate and Ellroy tells you just enough to keep you both hanging on and forever guessing.

Very enjoyable and very entertaining. Very well-written. Highly recommended. Apparently very popular; at my library you grab what’s on the shelf.
 

MisterE

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I enjoy his stuff too. He's got the whole "life on the fringes" in LA down.

Another guy who has a similar sort of perspective is Raymond Carver.
 

alfredo_buscatti

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I forgot to say (correcting myself) that "Blood's a Rover" has about 200 pages that should be cut, in the middle. It sags. I had to push myself through it. But after that it's enthralling.
 

Fight'n Hampsters

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I read the first three of the LA Quartet quickly and was enthralled. It is like watching a (beautiful) car wreck, you can't and don’t want to turn away. But two chapters into White Jazz I put it down and never finished it.

I really like Noir/ Crime stories but it got old reading about people I couldn't really root for wading through such violence and filth. It began to feel gratuitous.

That having been said, Ellroy is a really skilled writer and most who love noir and crime will like his stuff.
 

the macdonald

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I loved the USA Underworld trilogy, American Tabloid, Cools Six Thousand and Blood's a Rover. I have tried to read LA Confidential a couple times, I get 250 pages in and realize I don't care about what happens. I read another in the LA series and it was OK. I want to love White Jazz so much, but it is unreadable.

...But USA Underworld trilogy, wow! All the filth and complete evil in those books (something I usually hate to read) but with a perverted insider's look into 1968-1972 of politics, drugs, mafia, unions, war, intrigue, I’m embarrassed to say, and I always tell people how these books will offend anyone and everyone, but they hit me between the eyes. I have never had a book make me tense. The sense of impending doom is visceral. I think the trilogy is perfect. I wish he kept going into Watergate, but everyone does Watergate.
 

Harlock999

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I loved Ellroy, even White Jazz. I have an autographed copy somewhere from a book signing.
But seems like I can't stick with one writer, or style, indefinitely.
Maybe someday I'll rediscover Ellroy, and his nightmare Los Angeles.
Right now, I'm just gonna go to Starbucks and get a grande something or other...
 

MisterE

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Harlock999":sneed3wy said:
I loved Ellroy, even White Jazz. I have an autographed copy somewhere from a book signing.
But seems like I can't stick with one writer, or style, indefinitely.
Maybe someday I'll rediscover Ellroy, and his nightmare Los Angeles.
Right now, I'm just gonna go to Starbucks and get a grande something or other...
Fourbucks.... :p
 

Harlock999

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MisterE":fhtq0cya said:
Harlock999":fhtq0cya said:
I loved Ellroy, even White Jazz. I have an autographed copy somewhere from a book signing.
But seems like I can't stick with one writer, or style, indefinitely.
Maybe someday I'll rediscover Ellroy, and his nightmare Los Angeles.
Right now, I'm just gonna go to Starbucks and get a grande something or other...
Fourbucks.... :p
Five, at least!
 
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