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Crime Wave: Reportage and Fiction from the Underside of L.A.

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Los Angeles.  In no other city do sex, celebrity, money, and crime exert such an irresistible magnetic field.  And no writer has mapped that field with greater savagery and savvy than James Ellroy.  With this fever-hot collection of reportage and short fiction, he returns to his native habitat and portrays it as a smog-shrouded netherworld where"every third person is a pee Los Angeles.  In no other city do sex, celebrity, money, and crime exert such an irresistible magnetic field.  And no writer has mapped that field with greater savagery and savvy than James Ellroy.  With this fever-hot collection of reportage and short fiction, he returns to his native habitat and portrays it as a smog-shrouded netherworld where"every third person is a peeper, prowler, pederast, or pimp." From the scandal sheets of the 1950s to this morning's police blotter, Ellroy reopens true crimes and restores human dimensions to their victims.  Sublimely, he resurrects the rag Hush-Hush magazine.  And in a baroquely plotted novella of slaughter and corruption he enlists the forgotten luminaries of a lost Hollywood.  Shocking, mesmerizing, and written in prose as wounding as an ice pick, Crime Wave is Ellroy at his best.


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Los Angeles.  In no other city do sex, celebrity, money, and crime exert such an irresistible magnetic field.  And no writer has mapped that field with greater savagery and savvy than James Ellroy.  With this fever-hot collection of reportage and short fiction, he returns to his native habitat and portrays it as a smog-shrouded netherworld where"every third person is a pee Los Angeles.  In no other city do sex, celebrity, money, and crime exert such an irresistible magnetic field.  And no writer has mapped that field with greater savagery and savvy than James Ellroy.  With this fever-hot collection of reportage and short fiction, he returns to his native habitat and portrays it as a smog-shrouded netherworld where"every third person is a peeper, prowler, pederast, or pimp." From the scandal sheets of the 1950s to this morning's police blotter, Ellroy reopens true crimes and restores human dimensions to their victims.  Sublimely, he resurrects the rag Hush-Hush magazine.  And in a baroquely plotted novella of slaughter and corruption he enlists the forgotten luminaries of a lost Hollywood.  Shocking, mesmerizing, and written in prose as wounding as an ice pick, Crime Wave is Ellroy at his best.

30 review for Crime Wave: Reportage and Fiction from the Underside of L.A.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    I was curious what James Ellroy's non fiction would look like outside a novel setting and, well... he passed the test with flying colors as usual. The first two essays are particularly powerful as they zero-in on a crime, just like Ellroy's novels and slowly introduce the authorial perception and reveal the degree of obsession and focus the grandmaster takes to the task whenever he sits behind the keyboard. His pieces are stark, almost voyeuristic in their attention to detail and communicate the I was curious what James Ellroy's non fiction would look like outside a novel setting and, well... he passed the test with flying colors as usual. The first two essays are particularly powerful as they zero-in on a crime, just like Ellroy's novels and slowly introduce the authorial perception and reveal the degree of obsession and focus the grandmaster takes to the task whenever he sits behind the keyboard. His pieces are stark, almost voyeuristic in their attention to detail and communicate the violence of murder as much as its transcendent nature. I thought the novellas were a little weak for Ellroy's usual material, especially Gretchell where he indulges in alliteration for way, way too long. I love when Ellroy alliterates, but when it's on every line for eighty pages it starts to get a little overboard. Anyway, this is another strong entry in James Ellroy's cannon. People who love his work like I do will enjoy the heck out of it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    "Why," one might ask, "does she keep reading crime fiction if she doesn't like the genre?" The simple answer would be that Bette keeps loaning it to me. The real truth is that I'm an addict. I read because it's a compulsion. I'll even read if I'm not enjoying it. I did not, however, manage to read the three fiction pieces in this collection. I just couldn't force myself to get through them. The alliteration and short sentences drove me mad. I had previously read what I thought were parodies of no "Why," one might ask, "does she keep reading crime fiction if she doesn't like the genre?" The simple answer would be that Bette keeps loaning it to me. The real truth is that I'm an addict. I read because it's a compulsion. I'll even read if I'm not enjoying it. I did not, however, manage to read the three fiction pieces in this collection. I just couldn't force myself to get through them. The alliteration and short sentences drove me mad. I had previously read what I thought were parodies of noir crime fiction, but now I'm beginning to think they weren't parodies so much as homages. The writing was almost comical. The nonfiction pieces were only marginally better, in my opinion. The frequent references to his mother's murder and his sordid past, and his foul language, turned me off both the writing and Ellroy himself. He comes across as a deeply wounded sicko. I will now give myself a break from reading autobiographical stuff from men who have overcome addictions and cuss a lot.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meg Kenny

    James Ellroy could write his name for fifty pages and he'd get five stars from me. He is the epitome of hard boiled noir, detective fiction and brutal, unflinching honesty. This collection of essays is no different, covering everything from his own mother's murder to the trial of OJ Simpson.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    I find James Ellroy's non-fiction at least on the same level as his literary output. Since this book contains a 50/50 mixture of both, I'd call it the best introduction to his work that I've read so far. The reporting on crime and corruption across Southern California shows an obvious blending between the writing styles of journalism and literature in the tradition of Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe. At the same time, however, Ellroy has a sensibility and a voice that can be mistaken for nobody el I find James Ellroy's non-fiction at least on the same level as his literary output. Since this book contains a 50/50 mixture of both, I'd call it the best introduction to his work that I've read so far. The reporting on crime and corruption across Southern California shows an obvious blending between the writing styles of journalism and literature in the tradition of Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe. At the same time, however, Ellroy has a sensibility and a voice that can be mistaken for nobody else's. It's way more intimately personal than either, standing in the shadow of the still-unsolved murder of Ellroy's mother during his childhood and his subsequent descent into juvenile delinquency which is covered in depth by one article. At the same time, his writing is thoroughly steeped in world-weary moral reflexion over an unjust world where there often are no easy answers - a perspective that comes from not quite the same place as Thompson's furious indignation. The same blending of sensationalist journalism and high literature can be seen in the short stories. Tabloid-employed muckrakers feature as main characters in most of them, along with real historical personalities in roles that make it difficult for readers to look at them the same way again. The high point is probably "Tijuana Mon Amour", which casts Frank Sinatra of all people as a villainous mastermind straight out a James Bond story and somehow pulls it off. The hyperfragmented and colourfully vulgar writing style might have obvious roots in the hardboiled prose of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler taken to an avantgardistic extreme, but it also calls to mind the most lurid journalism of the time which cannot be just a coincidence. Add to all that the sheer depths of decadence probed and you get a hyperactive kaleidoscopic journey through Western civilization's falling apart at the seams that echoes Louis-Ferdinand Céline at his most delirious had he been born 50 years later on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Crime Wave is mostly James Ellroy's articles for GQ magazine, with a couple of short stories thrown in. As usual, the non-fiction centers directly on true crime, with Ellroy's persona-and-work-defining focus on murdered women. (The essay that would eventually become My Dark Places is in here, for example.) The article that grabbed my attention the most was Ellroy's piece about O.J. and Nicole Simpson, which was written before the psychoretard antics of the trial really got under full swing; clea Crime Wave is mostly James Ellroy's articles for GQ magazine, with a couple of short stories thrown in. As usual, the non-fiction centers directly on true crime, with Ellroy's persona-and-work-defining focus on murdered women. (The essay that would eventually become My Dark Places is in here, for example.) The article that grabbed my attention the most was Ellroy's piece about O.J. and Nicole Simpson, which was written before the psychoretard antics of the trial really got under full swing; clearly Ellroy thinks that O.J. committed the crime but is careful to avoid any direct accusation, and he takes the essay in an interesting psychological direction that I've never seen before, despite the oceans of ink spilled on this topic. Best line EVER: "Clearly, O.J. is not the smartest motherfucker to walk the earth." Any Ellroy fan will get a big kick out of this, and it's certainly got me amped for Blood's A Rover, which is out in September.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric Althoff

    A mixture of reportage and fiction, Ellroy's "Crime Wave" takes the reader once again into the unseemly side of his Los Angeles. The true crime stories sparkle, and there is an early telling of his mother's murder which later became "My Dark Places," but the fictionalized stories of private I's and gossip mag reporters felt kind of forced to me with their insistence on inputting the narrators into historical Hollywood events. Ellroy remains at his best when talking about himself and the demons t A mixture of reportage and fiction, Ellroy's "Crime Wave" takes the reader once again into the unseemly side of his Los Angeles. The true crime stories sparkle, and there is an early telling of his mother's murder which later became "My Dark Places," but the fictionalized stories of private I's and gossip mag reporters felt kind of forced to me with their insistence on inputting the narrators into historical Hollywood events. Ellroy remains at his best when talking about himself and the demons that haunt him. My recommendation is to go for "My Dark Places" instead. Only true Ellroy addicts need pick this one up.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Godzilla

    This is an oddity in the James Ellroy catalogue: it contains a mixture of novellas, set in context by Ellroy, memories of his mother's murder and his childhood, and some articles he wrote for GQ. As a mixture it didn't really hang together well for me, but the comments surrounding the novellas were interesting. The critique of the OJ Simpson trial also held my interest, knowing how the trial actually turned out. As an introduction to Ellroy, I wouldn't recommend this, but if you're a fan, he provi This is an oddity in the James Ellroy catalogue: it contains a mixture of novellas, set in context by Ellroy, memories of his mother's murder and his childhood, and some articles he wrote for GQ. As a mixture it didn't really hang together well for me, but the comments surrounding the novellas were interesting. The critique of the OJ Simpson trial also held my interest, knowing how the trial actually turned out. As an introduction to Ellroy, I wouldn't recommend this, but if you're a fan, he provides some greater context and insight into his influences and formative years. My Dark Places details much better his feelings and thoughts on his mother's murder, but this book shows his overall feel and approach to "cold cases". As a throw away almost, at the end of the book, he gives his take on the big screen adaptation of LA Confidential, another glimpse into his take on life and his work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joe Noir

    A good collection, and a passable introduction to Ellroy for the uninitiated. The best introduction to Ellroy is his novel The Black Dahlia. A mix of fiction and non-fiction pieces that originally appeared in GQ magazine. I absolutely did not like the story "Tijuana, Mon Amour", an over-the-top tale that reads as if Ellroy was intentionally trying to be as offensive as possible. You can't take it seriously. No illustrations. Destination: Morgue is a better Ellroy collection than this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Mazurek

    The body dump stuff is a re hash if you've read My Dark Places. The reporting at the end is good, but the real goodies are the Danny Getchel/ Dick Contino stories. 'Hollywood Shakedown' is, to me, even better than 'Dick Contino's Blues.' A solid read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elki

    I couldn't finish it. Once the sleazy reporter took over, I lost all interest. I tried to skip ahead (a huge no-no for me) but I realized that I was forcing myself to read this one. Too bad.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    An eclectic collection from the master. Nonfiction and fiction blended in Ellroy’s particular style. A lot of ruminating on L.A. which is part of why people come to Ellroy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE

    Ellroy's mother was murdered when he was 10. The crime remains unsolved. This has influenced him ever since. He's obsessed w/ murdered & mutilated & tortured women, he's obsessed w/ brutal crimes set in a (usually) 1950s context. This is a bk of 4 novella-length sections of True Crime / Crime Fiction that was previously published in GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly). Part One's called "Unsolved" & his mother merits contextualizing mention. Part Two features his recurring character, "Danny" Ellroy's mother was murdered when he was 10. The crime remains unsolved. This has influenced him ever since. He's obsessed w/ murdered & mutilated & tortured women, he's obsessed w/ brutal crimes set in a (usually) 1950s context. This is a bk of 4 novella-length sections of True Crime / Crime Fiction that was previously published in GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly). Part One's called "Unsolved" & his mother merits contextualizing mention. Part Two features his recurring character, "Danny" Getchell, the 'brains' behind a scandal sheet fictionally called "Hush-Hush" based on the factual "Confidential". Getchell, like so many Ellroy characters, is insufferably repulsive - ruining the lives of everyone he touches - resulting in suicides & murders - all justified by his greed fueled by the homophobia & anti-communism of his day. What distinguishes Getchell is that he gives Ellroy an excuse to write in a dramatically different style: alliterative purple prose that's so heavy-handed that it too becomes insufferably repulsive. But w/ Getchell, perhaps more than anywhere else, Ellroy has 'black humor' & poetic justice galore. Another recurring character is Dick Contino, an actual accordionist that Ellroy arranged to meet when Contino was 63 & asked for permission from to use as a character in his fiction. Ellroy likes Contino so he's arguably a hero or anti-hero. But, SHEESH!, wd I want to be used as a character in an Ellroy novel? No way! Contino is put thru a series of brutal adventures, like all Ellroy characters, where he murders people. By Ellroy's own admission he, Ellroy, is an exploiter - & this is certainly clear here: Contino is exploited & largely debased to an extreme. The 4th part is back to True Crime - 1st w/ O.J.Simpson (written before the outcome of Simpson's criminal trial). He cautiously (after all, this was printed in a mainstream magazine) deduces/assumes Simpson's guilt & pillories him. I agree. Simpson, for me, is another extremely repulsive character. There are 3 other bits in this section including a reminiscence about his junior high school yrs & a reunion many yrs later. I found it all of interest. Ellroy's an excellent crime writer. His mom's murder & his own down & out life as a drug abuser & petty offender informs his bks to profoundly depraved depths. But 'if I were him' I'd want to move on, I'd want to finally feel some resolution, some closure. I'd want to recognize & express that life isn't all brutality & torture & treachery & murder & debasement. He's certainly made enuf money by now. What cd a man of his intelligence & talent do if he WERE to move on? I hope we find out eventually.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Potter

    CRIME WAVE is the second Ellroy title to collect his short fiction. It starts strong with the inimitable Danny Getchell dumpster diving and dirt dishing in “Hush-Hush”. You can never go wrong with Getchell and this story offers an interesting insight into what makes the character tick while always delivering the alliterative assault his prose promises. “The lewd little Lucifer leered on a lusciously loomed lavender rug.” You can never get enough of that. “Tijuana, Mon Amour” features a crime fic CRIME WAVE is the second Ellroy title to collect his short fiction. It starts strong with the inimitable Danny Getchell dumpster diving and dirt dishing in “Hush-Hush”. You can never go wrong with Getchell and this story offers an interesting insight into what makes the character tick while always delivering the alliterative assault his prose promises. “The lewd little Lucifer leered on a lusciously loomed lavender rug.” You can never get enough of that. “Tijuana, Mon Amour” features a crime fiction standard: the heist story. But, as it’s Ellroy, it’s not your traditional take on the heist. A fur scam unfolds with everybody scamming everybody else while border-hopping with a highly intoxicated and fictionalized Sammy Davis, Jr. It’s greatly entertaining, but one of those stories that can be best explained by shrugging your shoulders, shaking your head and muttering “Ellroy”. The last of the three novellas in this collection is “Hollywood Shakedown” featuring Dick Contino, a real cat rendered as Ellroy fiction. Contino is a compelling and sympathetic character, and “Hollywood Shakedown” picks up with the character after “Dick Contino’s Blues”.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christos Bouras

    O james ellroy είναι ένας διαφορετικός συγγραφέας αστυνομικών μυθιστορημάτων. Τα διαφοροποιητικά του στοιχεία σε σχέση με τους άλλους συγγραφείς είναι: 1. η έρευνα που κάνει στα αρχεία της αστυνομίας πριν γράψει μία ιστορία. Για αυτό οι ιστορίες του έχουν ένα πραγματικό υπόβαθρο και μία μυθιστορηματική πλοκή 2. είναι βιωματικές. Στο εν λόγω βιβλίο μία από τις ιστορίες αφορά την δολοφονία της μητέρας του. 3. οι διασημότητες. Στο βιβλίο αυτό κεντρικοί ήρωες αποτελούν γνωστές και λιγότερο γνωστές πρ O james ellroy είναι ένας διαφορετικός συγγραφέας αστυνομικών μυθιστορημάτων. Τα διαφοροποιητικά του στοιχεία σε σχέση με τους άλλους συγγραφείς είναι: 1. η έρευνα που κάνει στα αρχεία της αστυνομίας πριν γράψει μία ιστορία. Για αυτό οι ιστορίες του έχουν ένα πραγματικό υπόβαθρο και μία μυθιστορηματική πλοκή 2. είναι βιωματικές. Στο εν λόγω βιβλίο μία από τις ιστορίες αφορά την δολοφονία της μητέρας του. 3. οι διασημότητες. Στο βιβλίο αυτό κεντρικοί ήρωες αποτελούν γνωστές και λιγότερο γνωστές προσωπικότητες του LA στα 50's και 60's, 80's (Σινάτρα, Ρόκ Χάτσον, Σάμμυ Ντέιβις, Ο. Τζ. Σίμπσον, Λάνα Τάρνερ, Σταμπονατο, Ντικ Κοντίνο κ.α. - μπορεί κάποιος να ανατρέχει στην wikipedia και να βρίσκει στοιχεία για όλους διαβάζοντας παράλληλα το βιβλίο.) Θα έλεγα ότι είναι περισσότερο έρευνα, αναδημοσίευση ιστοριών και λίγο μυθιστοριογραφία. Σε κάθε περίπτωση είναι επιδραστικός συγγραφέας γεγονός που το επιβεβαιώνουν και οι ταινίες (LA Confidential, Black Dalia) με βάση βιβλία του.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is not Ellroy's best, but if you are looking for a little dose of him, this is not the worst you could do. The "true crime" reportage is fairly interesting, and Ellroy's 1990s views on the O.J. Simpson trial are, at least, provocative. The story on his mother's killer you probably know pretty well by now. The discussion of meeting Dick Contino was OK but not inspiring. The fiction included is really not his best; the Getchell stories are amusing in their silliness, but the Contino one seems This is not Ellroy's best, but if you are looking for a little dose of him, this is not the worst you could do. The "true crime" reportage is fairly interesting, and Ellroy's 1990s views on the O.J. Simpson trial are, at least, provocative. The story on his mother's killer you probably know pretty well by now. The discussion of meeting Dick Contino was OK but not inspiring. The fiction included is really not his best; the Getchell stories are amusing in their silliness, but the Contino one seems to be some form of self-parody. The best piece in the bunch is the last one, where he has some deep introspection about his experience in middle school. If you are not an obsessive Ellroy fan already, don't start here. (Start with White Jazz or American Tabloid!) If you are an obsessive Ellroy fan, this will pass the time, but I don't think it will inspire you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    These stories appeared in GQ magazine (when it was publishing cool as shit fiction), and this is how I mainline Ellroy for the first time. His intoxicating language usage and knack for peeling back the ugly layers of LA come together in CinemaScope sharp focus. A little uneven in their shock value (and that's the best way to describe the best of them), Ellroy seemed to be reaching the zenith of his bebop-afflicted literary style (WHITE JAZZ, which I want to re-read, is maybe the apex of his coca These stories appeared in GQ magazine (when it was publishing cool as shit fiction), and this is how I mainline Ellroy for the first time. His intoxicating language usage and knack for peeling back the ugly layers of LA come together in CinemaScope sharp focus. A little uneven in their shock value (and that's the best way to describe the best of them), Ellroy seemed to be reaching the zenith of his bebop-afflicted literary style (WHITE JAZZ, which I want to re-read, is maybe the apex of his cocaine-hit storytelling). I can't quite remember, which story was my favorite and which was the lesser of greatness; maybe his coverage of the still-sore inducing OJ Simpson Murder Trial, because he elevates it to a Shakespearean level (and it was pretty high drama mixed with Ionesco-esque absurdity). As short bursts of storytelling its like opium trip

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Was für eine Quälerei. Eigentlich hatte ich mir einen zwar schwarzen aber spannenden Krimi erhofft, da ich von dem Autor schon etwas gelesen hatte. Bekommen habe ich eine Ansammlung von Esseys und eigenartigen Kurzgeschichten, die sich lang und breit über das Sexleben von längst verstorbenen Hollywoodstars ausgelassen haben. Das ganze war in einer menschen-, rassen- und frauenverächtlichen Sprache geschrieben, gespickt mit Fremdwörtern, die nie zuvor ein Mensch gesehen hat. Ich bin am überlegen, o Was für eine Quälerei. Eigentlich hatte ich mir einen zwar schwarzen aber spannenden Krimi erhofft, da ich von dem Autor schon etwas gelesen hatte. Bekommen habe ich eine Ansammlung von Esseys und eigenartigen Kurzgeschichten, die sich lang und breit über das Sexleben von längst verstorbenen Hollywoodstars ausgelassen haben. Das ganze war in einer menschen-, rassen- und frauenverächtlichen Sprache geschrieben, gespickt mit Fremdwörtern, die nie zuvor ein Mensch gesehen hat. Ich bin am überlegen, ob ich das Buch wirklich anderen Lesern antun soll, aber der eine oder andere hat es wirklich gut bewertet. Deshalb bekommt das Buch noch eine Chance bei bookcrossing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Ellroy is definitely an acquiried taste. His short, choppy sentences laden with alliterate adjectives along the lines of scandal rags can drive some people crazy. It is good to have some historical background of the period, knowledge of crime/police jargon, and penchant for noir---especially before tackling his novels. This collection of essays includes a few fictional pieces, but the nonfiction ones are the best, in my opinion. Loved the short essay on the OJ trial. He uses his writing as a con Ellroy is definitely an acquiried taste. His short, choppy sentences laden with alliterate adjectives along the lines of scandal rags can drive some people crazy. It is good to have some historical background of the period, knowledge of crime/police jargon, and penchant for noir---especially before tackling his novels. This collection of essays includes a few fictional pieces, but the nonfiction ones are the best, in my opinion. Loved the short essay on the OJ trial. He uses his writing as a confessional and his upbringing as a catalyst for inspiration. His mother was murdered. He was a juvenile delinguent in LA. There seems to be a love/hate relationship with LA and its denizens.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Very well written and very interesting. This book is a collection of articles written by Ellroy for GQ magazine. A number of the articles are descriptions of investigations into real crime and the story of the murder of Ellroy's own mother. Others are fiction. Fiction: The author of LA Confidential delivers heavy, profane and dark prose that weigh the reader down in a dark sea. Non-Fiction: Interesting and moving. You'll learn a lot. Audio performance: They couldn't have picked a better person t Very well written and very interesting. This book is a collection of articles written by Ellroy for GQ magazine. A number of the articles are descriptions of investigations into real crime and the story of the murder of Ellroy's own mother. Others are fiction. Fiction: The author of LA Confidential delivers heavy, profane and dark prose that weigh the reader down in a dark sea. Non-Fiction: Interesting and moving. You'll learn a lot. Audio performance: They couldn't have picked a better person to read this. Fantastic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    A mish mash of true crime reportage, autobiographical essay, and two works of fiction, Crime Wave presents a version Ellroy that is unusually scatterbrained. The true crime sections of Crime Wave focus on the woman/mother aspect of Ellroy's writing that was more refined and better thought out in My Dark Places. The essays are culled from GQ articles and seem tacked on to this fully lackluster collection. Far from a must-read, even Ellroy worshippers will by the end of the book start wondering wh A mish mash of true crime reportage, autobiographical essay, and two works of fiction, Crime Wave presents a version Ellroy that is unusually scatterbrained. The true crime sections of Crime Wave focus on the woman/mother aspect of Ellroy's writing that was more refined and better thought out in My Dark Places. The essays are culled from GQ articles and seem tacked on to this fully lackluster collection. Far from a must-read, even Ellroy worshippers will by the end of the book start wondering why they even bothered.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    This is a collection of Ellroy's short stories and non-fiction articles. I found the short stories a mixed bag - I really liked the fictional story of real-life almost-been Dick Contino, which is right up there with his classic noir stories, but the obsessive alliterations of the Hush-Hush story (familiar to readers of L.A. Confidential) got rather annoying. His non-fiction work was extremely well-written and insightful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill McFadyen

    My son passed this gem of a book to me - thank you . The book is a collection of short stories published in GQ magazine during the 1990's . It covers LA through the 1950's , tales of Sinatra , Lana Turner and Rock Hudson to name only a few. An article on the OJ Simpson case is worth the price of the book alone. James Elroy is the author of some powerful US crime novels - this book gives you an insight into why he became such a man.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Who would've guessed that the most affecting piece in a James Ellroy collection isn't the one with Sammy Davis Jr. going on a murder spree in Tijuana moments before a doped-up Frank Sinatra inspires a massive slave revolt? In fact, it's the one with no crime, violence or hate at all: Ellroy's tribute to the kids from his junior high and his uncut respect for the exceptionally ordinary adults they became.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    I think that Ellroy is best when he is writing in long form, but this collection still has some great articles and short stories. His "Getchell" stories become a little tiresome with the tabloid-headline voice that his narrator uses. The non-fiction in greatly excedes the fiction- he even has an analysis of the OJ Simpson trial spectacle.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mads

    By all accounts, Ellroy is an obsessive writer. Possibly a megalomaniac. His style is disconcerting in that he likes fragmented sentences and omits words--a kind of parody of masculine writing where adjectives and adverbs are banished. The effect is a brutish and unblinking narration. I could only tolerate Ellroy in small doses. He's either a maniac or a genius. Probably both.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    This one took longer than I expected it to, but it was most enjoyable. There are few who write noir in today's age, and even fewer who write as well as James Ellroy. I recommend that you read this one story at a time and set it down. The Danny Getchell themes drive my brain nuts, and they're in the book back to back.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Hawkes

    James is really loose with reality in this book which is partially based on his mother's murder in 1950s Los Angeles; he careens in and out of factual events with tall tales of mobsters, entertainers, scandal sheet writers, women, dope and violence. It's gritty.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hugh McBride

    This collection of essays previously published in Esquire affords the reader an opportunity to bask in Ellroy's prose in fiction, nonfiction & memoir form. I appreciated seeing the ways in which each of these formats are attacked/enhanced by his distinctive style.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kit Fox

    I got this signed by Ellroy way back when. He called me "red" (on account of my hair, one would guess) and then proceeded to tell me that he had it on good authority that Dan Quayle and (former California governor) Pete Wilson were both gay. Wonder who his source was.

  30. 5 out of 5

    G Scott

    A fine kettle of shorts from the devil dog of american literature.

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