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Publisher's Summary

James Ellroy's high-velocity, best selling novels have redefined noir for our age, propelling us within inches of the dark realities of America's recent history. Now, in The Cold Six Thousand - his most ambitious and explosive novel yet - he puts the whole of the 1960s under his blistering lens. The result is a work of fierce, epic fiction, a speedball through our most tumultuous time.

Wayne Tedrow Jr., a young Vegas cop, arrives with a loathsome job to do. He's got $6,000 in cash and no idea that he is about to plunge into the cover-up conspiracy already brewing around Kennedy's assassination, no idea that this will mark the beginning of a hellish five-year ride through the private underbelly of public policy.

Ellroy's furiously paced narrative tracks Tedrow's ride: Dallas back to Vegas, with the Mob and Howard Hughes, south with the Klan and J. Edgar Hoover, shipping out to Vietnam and returning home, the bearer of white powder, plotting new death as 1968 approaches...

Tedrow stands witness - as the icons of an iconic era mingle with cops, killers, hoods, and provocateurs. His story is ground zero in Ellroy's stunning vision: historical confluence as American Nightmare.

©2001 James Ellroy (P)2001 Random House, Inc. Random House AudioBooks, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    115
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 07-24-09

Plausible history

You should not listen to this book if you are looking for entertainment and diversion. "The Cold Six Thousand" deals with greed, corruption, perversion, 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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brendon
  • Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 09-01-08

Two-Fisted Adaptation of an Awesome Novel

I have previously read (& love!) "American Tabloid" and "The Cold Six Thousand." I knew I wanted to see what the audiobook had to offer & am glad I did! The reader really does a good job of characterizing the numerous figures in the book consistently & convincingly. He does J.Edgar Hoover & Dwight Holly particularly well. The book is a little overwhelming at first, with the angry writing style and mutitudes of characters, but eventually you get the hang of this "world" & everything fits together after the first hour or so. Too bad the first book in the series ("Tabloid") wasn't made into an audiobook!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Oakland, CA, USA
  • 04-17-05

An Achievement That Won't Insult Your Intelligence

At first I thought I wouldn't be able to listen to this because of Ellroy's sentence style. I counted something like 15 sentences in a row that began with the word WAYNE. At first the style seemed like a parody but later I realized how brilliant it was. The style captures the blunt and brutal character of the key individuals portrayed and of the roll bigotry and hatred played in 1960's USA. If you listen to this you must pay attention. Ellroy's unique style, the complexity of the story, and the fact that this author (refreshingly) doesn't insult his reader's intelligence all demand that you think as you listen. This is an amazing story told poetically. You might back up the audio to catch an important sentence you missed, (Ellroy claims there is not an unnecessary or wasted word in the book. Actually I think I caught one somewhere around the 18th hour) but chances are better that you'll back to listen again to his beautifully crafted writing. If you listen to the sample and are put off by the style you may be doing yourself a disservice. In short time you'll adjust to the style, and before long you'll be addicted to it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ray
  • Fredericksburg, VA, USA
  • 10-04-06

Excellent book...but beware

I have loved Ellroy's books in the past, and his book the Black Dahlia was packed with narrative that let you "get into the mind" of the characters. The first fifteen minutes of this book completely put me off, I almost just gave up. The quick-fire, rapid shoot sentences drove me crazy--I had a tough time trying to keep up with it and the multiple characters. BUT, then it drew me in. I couldn't NOT WAIT to get in the car and commute to work and home. I loved how Elloy weaved the story into the troublesome events of the 1960s--the JFK assassination, FBI/Hoover chicanery, the Civil Rights movements, MLK, and RFK. Underneath all of this is the backdrop of the mob and the Vietnam War. This is a GREAT LISTEN, but you must be ready to start absorbing from the get-go.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a rip-snortin' conspiracy bunker-buster

...and one of the best books on Audible. Brilliantly narrated -- and this is a difficult book to get all brilliant with, trust me -- The Cold Six Thousand will rearrange your sense of second-half 20th century American history. James Ellroy writes like an avenging angel on meth. And in this case, that's a good thing. Can't recommend this one highly enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

took some time

It was painful getting to know the authors style, and i have to tell you I nearly turned it off in the first 5 chapters. The use of the three word sentences is annoying at first, but once I got into it, I could not turn it off. Really makes me look at historical events with a much more critical eye now.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dobbs
  • Los Angeles, Ca.
  • 08-21-17

Wasson is my favorite narrator.

Where does The Cold Six Thousand rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like language. Words and sentences more than stories and books. Ellroy's Wasson-narrated novels are a delight to listen to. They're a perfect match and I can't recommend them enough.

What did you like best about this story?

The language/cadence.

If you could rename The Cold Six Thousand, what would you call it?

It is perfectly named.

Any additional comments?

Late-period Ellroy is not for everyone. If you're the type to get frustrated by not being able to completely follow the plot on first-listen, this is not the book for you. There are many, many characters -- some with relationships spread across many novels, and it take effort and dedication to get the most out of the books. If this doesn't sound like you, this is not the book for you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 02-24-16

Smile more and hate less.

"I'm seeing visions, Dwight. I'm seeing all the Latter-day Saints."
― James Ellroy, The Cold Six Thousand

I remember when I was 5, thinking: "if I just didn't screw up, I could have been Jesus". I remember when I was 8, thinking: "if I just killed myself when I was 7, I could have gone straight to Heaven." I remember when I was 12, thinking: "Mormons could make fantastic mobsters." I hadn't yet learned about the John Birch society. I hand't learned about Howard Hughes and his cabal of Mormon fix-it men. I was still fresh. I was still a long way from the darkness bred from hate, from money, from greed, from racism.

***** Pete said, "Shut Up." Pete Said, "Smile more and hate less."

Like American Tabloid, 'The Cold Six Thousands' deals intimately with the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes and the pornography of violence that was the 60s. Now, post JFK assassination, we are dropped into the clean-up, the rise of Las Vegas, the rise of Vietnam, RFK (I share a first and middle name with that man), and MLK. This is another dense novel where the story is told from the middle; from the dark, dank core of conspiracy. Two of the main protagonists traveled from 'American Tabloid'. One was left behind, buried. A new one was introduced. Mormons in Vegas and with Hughes take on a larger role.

I could write a whole book on the Oedipal implications of this novel too. The relationship between Wayne Tedrow, Jr and Sr., could fill an entire psychology textbook. It was a plum fermenting on the Tree of Life. There was some sick shit mixed into all of that. My favorite characters Ward Littell and Pete Bondurant find themselves firmly planted in this book. A trinity of femmes fatale (Jane, Barb, Janice) jump, jive, and swirl like olives jumping from Ward's martini to Pete's martini to Jr's martini.

**** "Hate Strong. Hate brave. Don't hate like Mr. Hoover."

Probably the only thing I didn't enjoy about this book as much as the last was the prose.* It was a bit too clipped, heavy and fugly for me. Like all of Ellroy's prose there is a bit of a madman, a bit of a savage, stuffed into every clipped, dense sentence, but after a while, I was dreaming of long sentences and sunshine; just a bit of variety. I somehow imagine Ellroy thinking that writing four word sentences was, perhaps, the only way he was going to trim this second novel down by 1000 pages. It is dense. It is rapid. It is rabid. It is almost too much. One more killing. One more spike. One more mike and I might drop dead before I find out who dies other than America. And like all the characters in this sick-mother of a novel, I want to be there to watch. I want to see it framed. I want to hear the crunch and the crack of the very last page.

* "The style I developed for The Cold Six Thousand is a direct, shorter-rather-than-longer sentence style that's declarative and ugly and right there, punching you in the nards. It was appropriate for that book, and that book only, because it's the 1960s. It's largely the story of reactionaries in America during that time, largely a novel of racism and thus the racial invective, and the overall bluntness and ugliness of the language."
― James Ellroy, The Onion A.V. Club

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Austin
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 02-22-03

Ellroy's writing style is fantastic

I listened to this a few months ago and am still thinking about it. Gritty, harsh, and dark, but riveting...You'll either love or hate his writing style, so listen to the sample.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerizing Ellroy & Wasson. Great Duo!

The Cold Six Thousand is a slow burner in the best sense. Ellroy's Telegraphic Jazz word play style is at its peak. Wasson was born for this. He keeps you glued. American Tabloid is a Masterpiece and my favorite Ellroy Book. The Cold Six Thousand is a wonderful follow up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful