It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans - but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.
The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police Department. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith - Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a 21-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls - comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns.
Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel.
©2014 James Ellroy (P)2014 Random House Audio
"Perfidia is a brilliant, breakneck ride. Nobody except James Ellroy could pull this off. He doesn't merely write - he ignites and demolishes." (Carl Hiaasen)
"A return to the scene of Ellroy's greatest success and a triumphant return to form. ... His character portrayals have never been more nuanced or - dare we say it - sympathetic. ... A disturbing, unforgettable, and inflammatory vision of how the men in charge respond to the threat of war. It's an ugly picture, but just try looking away." (Booklist)
"A sprawling, uncompromising epic of crime and depravity." (Publishers Weekly)
Out of the gate, this was a rough listen. The first section of the book was off-putting to the point where I nearly cashed it in. I am very glad I did not. The listen smoothed out shortly after the open and evolves in to a really good listen. In my opinion, there are likable though multi-flawed characters, a very good story line, and good narration. (Note: the narrator is the same on another great listen of 11/22/63 by Stephen King).
I look forward to the follow up books in this four-part series.
Many reviewers have loathed this book, especially in its printed version. Admittedly, James Ellroy is an acquired taste, but one I fully embraced years ago. I've read every one of his novels, essays, short stories, and have found them a difficult journey worth taking. Perfidia is not the place to start, but it is more accessible than Ellroy at his most terse, such as White Jazz or The Cold Six Thousand. That being said, this first volume in his new LA Quartet is nothing short of a violent, rabid masterpiece--an over the top prose poem to violence and debauchery.
And while the novel is great by itself, it is made so much more vivid and memorable by the masterful Craig Wasson in what I believe is the single best audio book performance I have ever heard.
I read the book on the Kindle with the Audible book being read by Wasson simultaneously for one of the great reading / listening experiences of my life.
not sure who would enjoy the first 20 chapters that I've read so far. Maybe someone who enjoys the uncertainty and confusion of a funhouse hall of mirrors. Too many characters with no exposition or relatively little. Can't tell which of the many characters is talking most of the time. Very abrupt and ambiguous transitions from narration to narration. Instead of being shadowy and gritty and LA Confidential like which is what it seems to be aspiring to be, it's just dark and confusing.
Probably. He has a good range of vocal tones and shading which was useful since it's the only way I've been able to determine which character is which. Character interpretations are pretty good. Narrative tone between dialogue is a bit slow and draggy rather than being dramatic and interesting.
It was free.
i repeat - Hope it gets better.
I've listened to Craig Wasson narrate "The Cold Six Thousand" and "Blood's a Rover." He was fantastic, but he's even better here! His characterization of Dudley Smith is particularly good.
If you like Ellroy's Underworld USA Trilogy, you'll like "Perfedia." Its plot isn't as "driving" as other Ellroy novels, but it makes up for it with riveting characters.
I've enjoyed a lot of James Ellroy's books, but I found "Blood's A Rover" disappointing, and "Perfidia" continues in that downward trajectory. I was bored through most of this book, and found myself wishing it would end. "Perfidia's" overly-complicated plot and thin characters fail to compel. Far-fetched coincidences abound. In "Perfidia," the violence and racism that run through Ellroy's work are ratcheted up beyond the point of self-parody. I had high hopes for "Perfidia," but it felt like time wasted.
I think Craig Wasson is a great performer, but occasionally he attempts an accent that he can't pull off. In this instance, that accent is German.
Even a phenomenal narrator like Craig Wasson couldn't save this pitiful prequel. The plot is ridiculous, the ending weak and the level of depravity on display in Ellroy's 1941 version of LA exists only in his mind. Ellroy would have you believe that everyone was a junkie, killer, whore, john, "tough boy", perv, rapo, drunk, gangster, fifth column subversive, traitor, racist, bigot, etc. He would also have you believe that there was only one restaurant in LA, Kwans, that doubled and tripled as a whore house, drug den, home for wealthy Japanese, porn set and who can remember what other nonsense. All this in 1941 no less ... not one decent human being in the whole city. It's absurd.Kay Lake's Diary 12-21-15. Ellroy is repetitive. He repeats himself, and he belabors a point to the point of repetition. By the way, did I tell you he repeats himself quite a bit. I think you get the point. Honestly, the editors must have been on strike when this book was published. At least 2/3 of it should have remained on the 'floor boards, and that is being generous.I enjoyed LA confidential. The plot was good, the characters well developed and the story moved to a well written conclusion. This latest effort had none of it, and it was a total disappointment. I gave this one star rating that it didn't deserve because I couldn't give it zero stars.
Craig Wasson is an excellent narrator, and his reading of King's 11/22/63 was phenomenal. Check that one out if you want a 30 hour story that is worth your time.
The book, no. The narrator was good.
You simply cannot go wrong with James Ellroy narrated by Craig Wasson. I would never have imagined that a novel about Los Angeles immediately after Pearl Harbor could be so fascinating.
After listening to The Black Dahlia, I wanted more. But revisiting the brilliantly crafted characters in Perfidia proved anticlimactic. I lost interest and couldn't finish the book.
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