Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book #26

Longtime readers know how much I like James Ellroy - his book American Tabloid hit number one on my best of the year last year - and I really, really loved LA Confidential. I had seen and liked the movie but was completely unprepared for being sucked into the book. It devoured me. Reaching into this book is like putting your hand into a spider's web - you are instantly entrapped. Absolutely fantastic.
The book kicks off with a bang and does not stop for four hundred pages. Ellroy uses his three character format to radically redefine crime fiction; everything in this book makes what you have read before inconsequential. It is so complex and fascinating that you cannot put it down. Ellroy's Bosh / Wade / Lebron combo is Ed Exley, Jack Vincennes and Bud White. Each is struggling to expel their own demons and are so lifelike they jump off the page. Ellroy also used other excepts such as newspaper articles to fill in the pieces (yet hands nothing to the reader). The characters come together around the "Night Owl" shootings, a brutal crime in which six people are shotgunned to death. While the crime is brutal, the repeated solvings and fitting together of puzzle pieces is a breathless race to the last page.
When the final twist was revealed I literally dropped the book in complete shock.
It was that good. This is not a book for the faint of heart and fits in chronologically with Ellroy's LA Quartet trilogy. The story is so twisted and complex you will have spun clean circles when all is said and done. Do yourself a favour and read the one of the best crime writers at his peak, you will not be disappointed even if you have seen the movie.

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