American Tabloid, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


1958. America is about to emerge into a bright new age - an age that will last until the 1000 days of John F Kennedy's presidency.

Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era.

Pete Bondurant - Howard Hughes's right-hand man, Jimmy Hoffa's hitman.

Kemper Boyd - employed by J Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the Kennedy clan.

Ward Littell - a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime.

The festering discount of the age that burns brightly in these men's hearts will go into supernova as the Bay of Pigs ends in calamity, the Mob clamours for payback and the 1000 days ends in brutal quietus in 1963.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099537823

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This is an extremely violent book. I'm quite tough, but I found the relentless descriptions of torture and murder really hard going. Ellroy writes well, and has created a plausible back story to the Kennedy assassination. The layers of corruption in American politics dip and weave around each other. Ellroy's use of language that would have been normal at the time was hard to read, given that I live in a time when racist, misogynist hate speech quite rightly is not acceptable. I'm not naive, I know such speech, such attitudes still exist, but the language has become shocking. As gripped as I was by the story, I found reading it exhausting, and it definitely affected my mood. Ellroy very skilfully makes you care about the hideously corrupt main characters. He makes you see that the shining knights of democracy aren't the paragons their PR says they are. Everything in the book is underpinned by filth and nastiness. Even though I enjoyed the book, I don't know that I will read any more of Ellroy's books. Not if they make me feel like I need to take a shower every couple of pages!

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