“He used to pimp and pull shakedowns. Now he rode shotgun to History.” ― James Ellroy, American Tabloid
Could I give this six stars? I'm..Show More » almost serious. I've said in reviews of le Carré, that long, long after the temporary prince and princesses of pop literature (Yes, I'm looking at your Foer brothers, etc) are dead and their novels pulped for the next 21st-century style of Ikea furniture, people are going to still be reading James Ellroy.
Look, I'm only 1/3 into the Underworld USA trilogy, but I'm ready to announce that for me, at least, James Ellroy is America's John le Carré and the Underworld USA trilogy :: the Karla Trilogy, thus 'America Tabloid' :: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It is seriously that good.
This book belongs right next to Mailer's Oswald's Tale and Harlot's Ghost, Don Delillo's Libra and Underworld, and Robert Littell's The Company. I mean, this dude knows how to write. I read a review the other day where they took 10 or so sentences from this book and the sentences were beautiful and hung by each word. One word taken out would destroy the whole meaning of the sentence. This guy isn't fancy dancing around with his prose. He is making every period, every verb count.
I'm glad, however, that I read Ellroy's LA Quartet first. That way I had a sense of context for Ellroy's approach to prose, violence, sex, paranoia, brutality, loyalty, hustle, hustlers, racism, money, power, police, crime, politics, corruption, greed, graft, the press, pulp, movies, history, etc. And he weaves it all beautifully. My guess is the Underworld USA trilogy is going to be more of a unified giant book broken into threes than his other series. The LA Quartet inhabited the same characters, same spots, same themes, but each stood fairly independent. I expect The Cold Six Thousand is going to build directly on this novel and Blood's a Rover will build again on Book 2.
Anyway, I have lots more I could say, but why. Go read it. It will leave you wanting to type all night and say nothing too. Ellroy will beat you, love you, turn on you, and leave you for dead.
You should not listen to this book if you are looking for entertainment and diversion. "The Cold Six Thousand" deals with greed, corruption, perversi..Show More »on, cruelty, and violence. However, if you have any interest in what was really going on in the 1960's -- how the J.F.K. assassination, the M.L.K. assassination, the Bobby Kennedy assassination, heroin, the Vietnam war, the Mafia, Las Vegas, and Cuba all related to one another -- then I highly recommend this book to you. Yes, James Ellroy definitely has his own unique style of writing -- kind of a cross between Hemmingway and Joyce -- with much profanity and slang, but "The Cold Six Thousand" vibrates with gritty reality, and sounds a whole lot more plausible than the Warren Commission report. I think college American history courses should assign this book as required reading.