James Ellroy is acknowledged as one of America's greatest living writers.
As well as his critically acclaimed novels, he is a regular contributor to GQ magazine in the States.
This collection will contain sixteen of these pieces, both autobiographical and crime reportage as well as a Novella: Hollywood Fuck Pad.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 03/11/2005
- Category: True crime
- ISBN: 9780099446743
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Review by bduguid
This is Ellroy's second collection of shorts, a mixture of essays from GQ magazine with three inter-linked (and previously unpublished) novellas.If one thing unites them all, it's the alliterative, allusive authorial style of Hush-Hush magazine and Ellroy's character Danny Getchell. For some people, this makes Ellroy devilishly difficult to devour, but for me this is much of the attraction - he's almost avant-garde in the extremism of his laconic stylism.So there's "Balls to the Wall", a boxing write-up where sentences struggle to pass the 4-word barrier; or "The Trouble I Cause", a short story about Dragnet actor Jack Webb, penned in the Getchell style.Elsewhere there are two autobiographical tales, much like "My Dark Places" cut down for readers with short attention spans.One piece, "Stephanie" deals with the 1965 murder of Stephanie Gorman, and with the attempts of Ellroy's three buddies in the Cold Case squad to revisit it during 2002. This provides the real-life backdrop for the three novellas, where the first thing to note is the similarity of the three main characters' names to Ellroy's real-life pals. The novellas are the heart of the book, and take detective "Rhino" Rick Jenson through three episodes ranging over roughly three decades, close encounters with classic Ellroy characters: Hollywood, killers, perverts, racists. At times, the relentless racist rancour of the anti-hero is hard to take, but they're great stories and they see Ellroy taking on welcome new themes - terrorism in "Jungletown Jihad" - while plunging passionately into post-modernism way beyond previous flirtations.Probably one for fans only - newcomers would be better starting elsewhere.