[eBook] White JazzAuthor James Ellroy – Albawater.co

This conclusion to James Ellroy s L.A Quartet is just as wholesome and uplifting as the previous three books with his usual cast of characters such as corrupt cops, gangsters, hustlers, blackmailers, shakedown artists, bag men, thieves, junkies, drug dealers, dog killers, whores, johns, pimps, peepers, perverts, panty sniffers, and politicians Oh, and most of them are killers, racist, and or incestuous as a bonus, and that includes the hero of the novel.It s 1958 and LAPD Lieutenant Dave Klein This conclusion to James Ellroy s L.A Quartet is just as wholesome and uplifting as the previous three books with his usual cast of characters such as corrupt cops, gangsters, hustlers, blackmailers, shakedown artists, bag men, thieves, junkies, drug dealers, dog killers, whores, johns, pimps, peepers, perverts, panty sniffers, and politicians Oh, and most of them are killers, racist, and or incestuous as a bonus, and that includes the hero of the novel.It s 1958 and LAPD Lieutenant Dave Klein is a busy guy In addition to his police duties he s also a lawyer, a slumlord, and he does the occasional contract murder for hire Klein gets assigned to investigate a weird break in and vandalism at the home of a police sanctioned drug dealer, but with an ambitious US Attorney sniffing around the LAPD trying to build a corruption case it seems a bad time to be drawing attention to that particular rotten apple Klein also takes a side gig from Howard Hughes investigating an actress who left him to star in a B horror movie about communist space vampires, and he d love to start chasing down a gang who pulled off a daring robbery of a fortune in furs to get a piece of their action However, Klein soon finds himself in the middle of a living nightmare which pull his loyalties in multiple directions, and as the crimes pile up it ll take a miracle to keep him from ending up in jail or the morgue.The last two novels of the L.A Quartet each used a trio of bad men doing bad things as their main characters, and Ellroy very consciously breaks the format here by making Dave Klein the solo lead and a first person narrator This seems kind of like a call back to the structure of Black Dahlia and gives the conclusion aintimate and personal feel, but it also seems like it doesn t quite fit As usual when things really start going off the rails Ellroy has his lead running around like a maniac both committing and investigating crimes while constantly making and betraying alliances that further his own agenda for the moment When you have three characters doing this they can share the load and have them in various levels of trouble By having only Klein to put in the soup it really stretches credibility too far to think that he wouldn t have been arrested or killed about halfway through the book, and it certainly doesn t seem like anyone would deal with him after the third or fourth time he s double crossed them.Ellroy also advanced the clipped sentence fragment stream of consciousness style he d been building to new levels, and in fact, he probably pushed it too far in this one L.A Confidential has a flow to it that works whereas White Jazz too often veers into near gibberish It s a problem that shows up in other Ellroy novels, too When he s got this style on a leash he can really take it for a walk, but when it gets away from him it runs wild and devolves into near self parody.Probably my biggest disappointment with this is that it just doesn t seem to deliver on the promise of the ending that L.A Confidential pointed towards That built to where it felt like the final book had to be an all out war between two of the characters left standing By bringing in a new character with the LAC angles only coming into play late in the game it doesn t have the epic climax to the entire story I was hoping for.It s still a solid Ellroy novel, but it doesn t quite deliver on the potential of what came before Every time I ve finished an Ellroy book, I ve had to sit back and process everything, climb up out of his world, shake my brain free of his expert grasp With White Jazz, he concludes his epic L.A Quartet, by narrowing his focus evenso than inThe Black Dahlia , and miles away from the gargantuanL.A ConfidentialReturning to first person narration and a single protagonist, Ellroy presents a portrait of racist and corrupt police lieutenant Dave Klein, who finds himself a pawn i Every time I ve finished an Ellroy book, I ve had to sit back and process everything, climb up out of his world, shake my brain free of his expert grasp With White Jazz, he concludes his epic L.A Quartet, by narrowing his focus evenso than inThe Black Dahlia , and miles away from the gargantuanL.A ConfidentialReturning to first person narration and a single protagonist, Ellroy presents a portrait of racist and corrupt police lieutenant Dave Klein, who finds himself a pawn in a law enforcement political war when a Federal attorney mounts an investigation into LAPD malfeasance and its involvement in Southland vice.Klein is a fascinating character, because he s not some hero or your everyday good guy caught up in a conspiracy and must be the one to bring it all to light Instead he s a full time criminal part time cop who finds himself in over his head, involved with individuals and systems that are evencorrupt than he is, and must fight through the entire book just to keep his head above water And it was cool to witness as some semblance of justice maybe goodness starts to seep in to his motivations, once he gets a little love in his life and is forced to confront his actions in the past.Style wise, Ellroy takes the trimmed and slashed prose style he adopted for L.A Confidential by cutting out unnecessary words to cut the manuscript down by 100 pages per his editor and ratchets it up to a thousand here Paired with yet another complex plot, the clipped style makes White Jazz a very challenging read, as it s hard at times to follow, as major plot developments and twists can occur in just several well chosen words, and if you blink or skim , you miss it It s not a casual read But once I got settled in and used to it, I was along for the ride And I began to realize how much this jazzy, bebop prose fits the confessional, stream of consciousness style that s used in the book It s Dave Klein truly telling his story in his own words And at times, it can be really poetic in it s own way Here s what Ellroy himself had to say about his choice to continue the use of this technique for Klein in a Paris Review interviewI saw that if I eliminated words from his speech, I would develop aconvincing cadence for him paranoid, jagged, enervated This book, it s content, and it s writing style, as with most of Ellroy s work, definitely won t be to everyone s taste, and I would suggest that people new to Ellroy not start with this one probably start with theaccessible Dahlia For a taste of what s in store in the book, here s a portion of the novel where Klein searches police records for a possible suspectKeyed up glom the pervert file Dog stuff BE Peeping Tom, see what jumped A German Shepherd fucking Marine Doctor Dog popped for shooting his daughter up with beagle pus Dog killers none fit my man s specs Dog fuckers, dog suckers, dog beaters, dog worshipers, a geek who chopped his wife while dressed up as Pluto Panty sniffers, sink shitters, masturbators lingerie jackoffs only Faggot burglars, transvestite break ins, Rita Hayworth Gilda gown, dyed bush hair, caught blowing a chloroformed toddler The right age but a jocker cut his dick off, he killed himself, a full drag San Quentin burial Peepers windows, skylights, roofs the roof clowns a chink brother act No watchdog choppers, the geeks read passive, caught holding their puds with a whimper Darryl Wishnick, a cute MO peep, break, enter, rape, watchdogs subdued by goofball laced meat too bad he kicked from syph in 56 One flash peepers played passive, my guy killed badass caninesAlthough the style ischallenging than the previous books, making for a less smooth a read as I wanted, this novel is still an incredibly engaging crime saga, and skillfully ties in the events in the earlier novels, bringing the entire Quartet to a close in satisfying fashion Ellroy s most poignant ending since Dahlia Ellroy and his work continues to fascinate me and he just climbed even higher in the ranks of my favorite authorsTo eclipse my guilt with the sheer weight of his evil I m going to kill him in the name of our victims, find Glenda and say Tell me anything Tell me everything Revoke our time apart Love me fierce in danger All I have is the will to remember Time revoked fever dreams I wake up reaching, afraid I ll forget Pictures keep the woman young L.A., fall 1958 Newsprint link the dots Names, events so brutal they beg to be connected Years down the story stays dispersed The names are dead or too guilty to tell I m old, afraid I ll forget I killed innocent men I betrayed sacred oaths I reaped profit from horror Fever that time burning I want to go with the music spin, fall with it Lieutenant All I have is the will to remember Time revoked fever dreams I wake up reaching, afraid I ll forget Pictures keep the woman young L.A., fall 1958 Newsprint link the dots Names, events so brutal they beg to be connected Years down the story stays dispersed The names are dead or too guilty to tell I m old, afraid I ll forget I killed innocent men I betrayed sacred oaths I reaped profit from horror Fever that time burning I want to go with the music spin, fall with it Lieutenant Dave Klein is in the middle of so many treacherous situations that the spread on whether he will live to see 1959 is carrying long odds The only way he might live that long is if he is in jail awaiting trial, but even then powerful people, like the gangster Mickey Cohen or the Chief of Detectives Edmund Exley, better be convinced his lip will stay buttoned or something most sinister will happen to him before he ever gets a chance to flap his gums He s got a lot to talk aboutKillings, beatings, bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, shakedowns Rent coercion, muscle jobs, strikebreaker work Lies, intimidation, vows trashed, oaths broken, duties scorned Thievery, duplicity, greed, lies, killings, beatings, bribes, payoffs, Meg I d like to tell you that Klein is an innocent, caught up in the machinations of a corrupt system, and that he is crusading to do the right thing, while trying to work the ends against the middle and the middle against both ends, but the truth of the matter is, he is as morally corrupt as the city he is paid to protect You need a witness tossed out a window Call Klein.You want a rival neutralized Call Klein.You need an illegal payoff dropped off Call Klein.Klein is a most resourceful young man just trying to make enough money to finish law school Some of you may have noticed the mention of Meg at the end of his list of sins She is his business partner in a block of rentals He is head over heels lustful in love with her The problem is, incest is a sin, and my, my, my does Klein want to sin, sin, sin with his sister Meg So the trouble begins when Exley calls in Klein to investigate a burglary of a sanctioned drug dealer s house The guy s name is Kafesjian, and his illegal activities are fronted by a string of dry cleaning stores It doesn t take long for Klein to realize that the story surrounding the Kafesjian burglary has a lot of sordid intrigue attached that goes well beyond the parameters of what he is supposed to be investigating Exley, you remember Exley from L.A Confidential, has made it clear that anything regarding Kafesjian is not to be touched In fact, don t even turn the rock over to start with As if Klein doesn t have enough to do on his plate, Howard Hughes, yes that Hughes, calls him up and wants him to find a girl It seems one of his actresses, Glenda Bledsoe, has gone off the reservation, and her contract with Hughes gives him exclusivity on what films she can work on, and he had her sign a morality clause as well What Hughes has someone sign a morality clause Most actresses in Hollywood of the 1950s had to resign themselves to the fact that, sooner or later, they were going to be summoned to Hughes s estate to service the beast Well, Klein doesn t exactly follow Hughes s instructions because he falls in lustful love with Glenda, which frankly proves a nice change of pace from the mooning he has been doing over his sister FeatureTall, lanky, honey blond All legs, all chest a grin said she never bought in A little knock kneed, big eyes, dark freckles Pure something maybe style, maybe juice That never bought in part is what really drives Klein crazy She isn t an innocent, but yet there is something untameable about her that allows her to feel free to give Hughes the double middle finger salute Klein doesn t need to be made anyinsane, but this woman is going to put another layer of care on the mound of unsavory deeds he can t find a hole deep enough or big enough to bury.Klein even gets caught up in the ongoing feud between ex partners Edmund Exley and Dudley Smith He has to play Exley and Smith and rely on their natural high levels of paranoia to keep them from realizing that Klein isn t playing either one of them straight One thing he knows is that Exley is the Wyatt Earp of Los Angeles Whenever the gunfire has ended and the smear of accusations have been wiped off the wall, as the smoke clears, Exley will always be the last man standing Don t bet against Exley The plot is, needless to say, convoluted with shotgun splattered sentences and what I can only describe as scat speak James Ellroy takes us into Klein s head, and what we get isn t necessarily cohesive sentences, but broken pieces of thoughts, sometimes unfinished Yet they convey the tortuous twists of guilt and fear that is wrapping around Klein s brain tighter and tighter with every new revelation, with every new indiscretion I read quite a few hardboiled books a year I don t know why, but I always seem to get a hankering for them in the summertime when my blood runs hotter anyway I have to say that there is no one working in the genre today, or maybe ever, who brings arealistic view of the sordid underbelly of society In fact, Ellroy makes other writers look almost naive about the extremes of human nature and the true motivations that make people into brutal, self destructive, untrustworthy, shameful versions of themselves If you were in trouble in Los Angeles in 1958, you didn t call the LAPD because you might end up needing to be saved from them Hush hush, keep these SINsations on the QT.If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at in the end I possess my birthplace and I am possessed by its languageRoss MacDonaldTell me anythingTell me everything.Revoke our time apart.Love me fierce in dangerJames Ellroy, White Jazz4.5 stars Sure, you could read this as just the final book in Ellory s masterpiece LA Quartet, but Ellory is playing for bigger stakes He isn t just writing crime He is writing the human condition He isn t just giving you straight dope He is playing you with pairs He gives you E Exley v Din the end I possess my birthplace and I am possessed by its languageRoss MacDonaldTell me anythingTell me everything.Revoke our time apart.Love me fierce in dangerJames Ellroy, White Jazz4.5 stars Sure, you could read this as just the final book in Ellory s masterpiece LA Quartet, but Ellory is playing for bigger stakes He isn t just writing crime He is writing the human condition He isn t just giving you straight dope He is playing you with pairs He gives you E Exley v D Smith He gives you Noonan vs Gallaudet He gives you J.C Kafesjian v.P Herrick, Richie V Tommy, Sad mom vs Crazy mom Think of all of these pairs as fugues that swirl around the narrator, dirty Lieutenant David Klein, reflecting, stream of consciousness, talking, screaming, building, dropping The narration is like jazz playing two themes together into one The themes finally coalesce and you see that black and white, criminal and the cop, these are all just linked brothers and sisters trapped in a long and fatal incestuous battle for survival, for love, for understanding Coda In the end everybody dies, but you hope before then someone tells you the truth and tells you they love you If you are lucky, perhaps, those two will be the same Lieutenant Dave Klein is not a nice man In fact, he s as crooked a cop as one is likely to find He s a slumlord, a bagman, an occasional hitman and a clever schemer His newest case is an investigation involving the breaking and entering of drug kingpin s home His investigation will lead him to be officially on everyone s list, as his past is catching up to him, and for every friend he s made through his actions, he s made a tonenemies I think it is safe to say that as a whole, Ellroy Lieutenant Dave Klein is not a nice man In fact, he s as crooked a cop as one is likely to find He s a slumlord, a bagman, an occasional hitman and a clever schemer His newest case is an investigation involving the breaking and entering of drug kingpin s home His investigation will lead him to be officially on everyone s list, as his past is catching up to him, and for every friend he s made through his actions, he s made a tonenemies I think it is safe to say that as a whole, Ellroy s LA Quartet is one of the best series I ve ever read It is an excellent set of detective stories, and a wonderful tale of corruption While each book is a stand alone story, they all build upon each other, with little details mentioned in one book and coming back in another Characters come and go, and we see LA change from the early 40s and into the 50s The series is a masterpiece, and White Jazz brings it, I m pleased to say, to a satisfying close I just wish I liked the damn book , because it irritated the hell out of me Don t get me wrong, the story is pretty great As with all of Ellroy s novels, be prepared to make notes if you want to catch everything that happens, as people come and go for 200 pages without a mention and then pop up and you re supposed to remember them, despite only appearing on one or two pages That s not the problem at least not for me , no the problem is the stylistic choice Ellroy chose for this one When I made my first update for the book, it went like this Okay Ellroy, I know I said that The Big Nowhere was overwritten I m sorry I won t say it again Now could you please, PLEASE use complete sentences again I would really appreciate it.Same paragraph as above, but written in the style of White Jazz Sorry Ellroy Was wrong Big Nowhere overdone Won t repeat More words Appreciated In other words Quick sentences Cut out words Needles Fill in blanks On own I genuinely considered writing my entire review in this style, just to show how frustrating it was, but couldn t pull it off So, sure, points to Ellroy it is artistic in its own way and he managed to write a 354 page novel in this style, and that s pretty damn impressive I m sure some people really found this clever it does certainly keep the pace quick, and put you into our lead s paranoid and on the run state of mind and enjoyed it, but I found myself rereading lines just to figure out what the hell was happening This is a shame, as plotwise, I found this to be one of the cleverer books in the series Honestly, I would have given up despite my investment in the series if I hadn t been so intrigued by where he was taking the story view spoiler and wanting to know what would happen to DUDLEY FUCKING SMITH hide spoiler I ve never found the literary equivalent to nails on a chalkboard until this book, but unfortunately, I can say that now I have.Do I recommend it If you ve come along this far, absolutely It s a wonderful conclusion from a plot standpoint If the writing style doesn t bother you, it may be one of your favorites in the series For me though, it s a stunning disappoint coming off LA Confidential, while still being an epic conclusion 2.5 stars rounding up to 3 Feature this is one of Ellroy s best.Dig the economy scale back the unsustainable sprawl of L.A Confidential streamline it The catch still cram a CRAAAZY amount of wild plot into a relatively small frame.Single protagonist, single POV a departure NO redemptive qualities for the protag Ellroy s most tainted hero First person narration sharp, minimalistic Fractured consciousness a dirty cop seen FROM THE INSIDE OUT.Style heavy but not off putting or hard to read like future Ellroy prose Feature this is one of Ellroy s best.Dig the economy scale back the unsustainable sprawl of L.A Confidential streamline it The catch still cram a CRAAAZY amount of wild plot into a relatively small frame.Single protagonist, single POV a departure NO redemptive qualities for the protag Ellroy s most tainted hero First person narration sharp, minimalistic Fractured consciousness a dirty cop seen FROM THE INSIDE OUT.Style heavy but not off putting or hard to read like future Ellroy prose experiments Heavy on punctuation em dashes, colons Rhythmic sentences no bullshit repetitive arrythmic declarative sentences a la Cold Six, etc Story PROPULSIVE constant forward motion the pages turn themselves CRAAAZY complex plotting, payoffs aplenty satisfying Paradox pared narration AND expansive story BIG plot unfolds SUCCINCT Ellroy s dialogue peerless As always hardcase attitude patter covers for guilt fear despair obsession.Social historical context still there butbackgrounded Institutional corruption personal corruption psycho obsession nexus between the three MORE THAN EVER.Only flaw female character s underdeveloped casualty of shorter page count, blinkered focus Relationship not quite up to ending s swoony romanticism.Feature this stands apart from both the earlier L.A Quartet books and the later political stuff Feature it s unique in the Ellroy oeuvre Feature start with Black Dahlia if you re a squarejohn n00b work your way up.Spinning, falling Hit SAVE RE READ REVIEW I ll leave my original review from 2014 up, but I just re read this and I have no idea what I was thinking giving this four stars originally It s easily at the same level of brilliance as The Big Nowhere or L.A Confidential I suspect that when I inevitably re read The Black Dahlia I ll give it five as well, because Ellroy is a goddamn genius Dave The Enforcer Klein is the ultimate Ellroy character, an incredibly dirty motherfucker who kills people for the mob and wants to p RE READ REVIEW I ll leave my original review from 2014 up, but I just re read this and I have no idea what I was thinking giving this four stars originally It s easily at the same level of brilliance as The Big Nowhere or L.A Confidential I suspect that when I inevitably re read The Black Dahlia I ll give it five as well, because Ellroy is a goddamn genius Dave The Enforcer Klein is the ultimate Ellroy character, an incredibly dirty motherfucker who kills people for the mob and wants to pork his own sister, yet I found myself constantly rooting for him to escape the closing jaws of the Feds, his fellow police and the myriad of underworld characters that populate Ellroy s Los Angeles The increasing tension is fucking palpable and jaw grinding by the end of the book and the incredibly terse, blunt language is absolutely the apotheosis of Ellroy s ever evolving style I did complain originally that the scope of the novel seems like a kind of step backwards from the gargantuan L.A Confidential, but fuck that It s only barely less ambitious in terms of the complicated and interconnected criminal landscape and I realize that Ellroy was not trying to write one of his Big Books with this one It s a high speed fever dream It s paranoid as fuck and the style, speed and content are consistently raw and scathing.ORIGINAL REVIEW There s a blurb on the back cover of this, a quote by some critic probably It says something like Ellroy has stripped his broad brush down to a hard cutting tool That s clever, but for me it was less hard cutting tool andbrain caked block hammer Ellroy was getting increasingly staccato and blunt by The Big Nowhere but this makes L.A Confidential look like some Goodnight Moon shit Twists that alter the nature of the story and the fate of the characters within can come in the form of a couple words where most authors would take a few paragraphs It feels like Ellroy was honestly on coke, meth or huge doses of caffeine when he blasted out this chunk of battery acid flavored crime fiction It can be exhilarating or frustrating, or both at the same time Of course, this is coming from a guy who reads lots of genre fiction with symmetrical, easy prose I m not terribly used to or familiar with stuff that plays with the structure of novel writing like Faulkner or maybe Pynchon And I don t even like much of that shit either so that gives you an idea of how good Ellroy is This is highly conceptualized and stylized language for the average bear I know I m harping on the style a lot, but this really is a notable and interesting metamorphosis Ellroy s language has undergone I haven t read any pre Dahlia stuff of his but that probably reads like a completely different person at this point And this is an old novel by the dude Came out in like 1992 I have no idea where the hell his writing has gone to since then, but I m definitely going to find out Okay, enough with the style talk Like I ve said, I m a meat and potatoes guy all the way but it s really interesting stuff.This continues in the same loose arc as the last two books We have familiar characters like Ed Exley and Dudley Fucking Smith, and some stuff from previous is mentioned like the Nite Owl It s still 1958 and the world is recognizably familiar as Ellroy s Los Angeles Unfortunately, the atmosphere is a little less thick than preceding novels, because at this point you need to take what Ellroy has given you and run with it in terms of visualizing the setting and whatnot This book is all plot It s almost overwhelmingly intense how much stuff he s crammed into a relatively short novel You have the feeling that you could blow just a little air into it and suddenly it d be like 600 pages Every kind of crime is examined, from the usual BEs and murders to weird shit like animal killings andsex vandalism I have no idea what to call it The usual reprehensible behavior that Ellroy fans hate to love.Dave Klein is our protagonist and he has to be the harshest pill to swallow He s so corrupt he sof a criminal moonlighting as a cop than vice versa He commits murder with very little sense of remorse or guilt and has gotten in so deep with organized crime figures that he s basically a slave to them at this point He also loves his sister I know that last one sounds nice, but I mean loves his sister Hardly your usual protagonist cop, and even darker than what we re used to from Ellroy The rest of the cast is the usual gang of creeps, killers, weirdos and criminals Some gross people in here, even for Ellroy Makes you miss the almost Captain America type days of Bucky Bleichert from Black Dahlia What was his skeleton in the closet, anyways Fuckingsnitched on his petty criminal buddies That just illustrates how far we ve come It s nothing compared to Klein.Overall a great novel Unfortunately the style was exhausting and the scope seemed to draw back a tiny bit from the grand heights of L.A Confidential, and not just because of the return to the single POV of Dahlia It s just a smaller story and thusly a little disappointing, at least for me I really wanna see how bloated and weird Ellroy can get I wanna see him do a billion page crime history extravaganza I m not sure he s actually done one yet but I m definitely going to find out Everyone who is into crime shit read Ellroy immediatelyobviously excepting the easily offended And definitely don t start with this one, because it will probably be like having your legs broken and then thrown into a pool all sink, no swim Los Angeles,Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns it s standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD He s a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer a power in his own small corner of hell Then the Feds announce a full out investigation into local police corruption, and everything goes haywireKlein s been hung out as bait, a bad cop to draw the heat, and the heat s coming from all sides from local politicians, from LAPD brass, from racketeers and drug kingpins all of them hell bent on keeping their own secrets hidden For Klein, forty two and going on dead, it s dues timeKlein tells his own story his voice clipped, sharp, often as brutal as the events he s describing taking us with him on a journey through a world shaped by monstrous ambition, avarice, and perversion It s a world he created, but now he ll do anything to get out of it aliveFierce, riveting, and honed to a razor edge, White Jazz is crime fiction at its most shattering When I was reading them, each entry in the L.A Quartet was my favorite book Kinda awe inspiring to watch James Ellroy move from a style your 11th grade English teacher might have described as economical to a one so determinedly spare it makes Hemingway seem profligate Long about L.A Confidential, we see him start to use sentences like Bud, soft and I started to love things about the English language I d forgotten about, like how having too many words means you don t need as many rules When I was reading them, each entry in the L.A Quartet was my favorite book Kinda awe inspiring to watch James Ellroy move from a style your 11th grade English teacher might have described as economical to a one so determinedly spare it makes Hemingway seem profligate Long about L.A Confidential, we see him start to use sentences like Bud, soft and I started to love things about the English language I d forgotten about, like how having too many words means you don t need as many rules as you think you do Hey, folks ll figure it out if they want to Black Dahlia and L.A Confidential got the big screen treatment, but The Big Nowhere and White Jazz will be the ones I re read All the novels are about obsession, about guys trying to make the world good by being bad, about Ellroy slowly killing the things he hates about people and about himself His characters look like him, they act like him, they probably quote him By The Big Nowhere book 2 things have already become so bizarre and unlikely, that it feels like Ellroy has lost control of his process, that he is, perhaps, so angry and lousy with self loathing that his characters have literally become ravenous animals who are cannibalizing themselves and returns are already diminishing So it s cool to read L.A Confidential book 3 , which introduces Ellroy as a great writer capable of holding an ensemble cast of obsessed bad men in stasis with each other for almost an entire decade It s abstract and it s vicious though not as vicious as T.B.N , but it s pretty restrained for all that White Jazz book 4 is not we get corruption, murder and incest damn near from the giddy up, and I was questioning the humanity of anyone to sport an LAPD badge by page 25 Can t decide if that s what Jimmy actually wants or not He pals around with a lot of cops, seems like, and his author s photos always make him look like a Nazi fresh from the Alps But he s conflicted, right Conflicted guys write books, right If conflict wasn t interesting, goodreads would just have a bunch of manuals on it The fourth volume in Ellroy s LA Quartet sees a stylistic shift from his previous work as he adopts the paired down, staccato prose which has since become his trademark LAPD detective and occasional mob hitman Dave Klein develops a dangerous obsession which will set him on a potentially fatal collision course with the dread Dudley Smith 1950 s LA is presented as a cess pit of vice, corruption and murderous cruelty, the horrors somehow made worse by the Ellroy s unadorned language Recommended The fourth volume in Ellroy s LA Quartet sees a stylistic shift from his previous work as he adopts the paired down, staccato prose which has since become his trademark LAPD detective and occasional mob hitman Dave Klein develops a dangerous obsession which will set him on a potentially fatal collision course with the dread Dudley Smith 1950 s LA is presented as a cess pit of vice, corruption and murderous cruelty, the horrors somehow made worse by the Ellroy s unadorned language Recommended for crime lovers with strong stomachs