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Publisher's Summary

Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals.

Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers.

©1990 James Ellroy (P)2015 Random House Audio

What listeners say about L.A. Confidential

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 07-17-15

Excellent Book

One of the two best books by Ellroy...his "Cold Six Thousand" is the other. Gritty, suspenseful, and a great cast of characters. I love Craig Wasson's narrating skills, but I do agree with some other reviews that he appeared to be trying too hard on this one.

Nonetheless...highly recommend this Audiobook.

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

...safe passage for ruthless men in love.

Like Fight Club, 'L.A. Confidential' is one of those contemporary novels that provides a certain literary difficulty for readers who come to it AFTER the film dropped because the directors (David Fincher, Curtis Hanson) created such large, iconic images out of the novels. L.A. Confidential's major characters are all very similar to the movie, but there are some major omissions and changes made in the movie that keep Elloroy's urtext both novel and different enough, to warrant your buck and your time.

Ellroy is a modern master of the slow build, the dark, back motives, the inevitable bloodbath. I think of the image of three big waves cresting together when I think of Edmund "Ed" Exley, Wendell "Bud" White, John "Jack" Vincennes, and their personal demons, all coming together to exact justice, each for their own reasons and with their own baggage and agendas. Anyway, it was all deftly done.

The novel also contains many of the usual Ellroy tropes: pornography, children haunted by the actions of their parents, prostitutes, vice-in-general, the mob, corrupt cops, heroic cops with fatal flaws, femme fatales, queers, shrinks, plastic surgery, and a dark undercurrent that cuts thorough the heart of both L.A. and Hollywood. The world Ellory paints is dark, harsh, and often perverse. It isn't a place you want to raise a family or even walk a dog.

My only gripe with the narration is sometimes I think Wasson only has one voice for jews, one voice for women, one voice for thugs. I would have probably served the narration better to tone down some of the character narration. The story creates enough drama, no need to turn it to 11.

32 people found this helpful

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L.A. Confidential

This was a difficult audiobook. Many characters and with Elroy’s noir style, for someone like me, the read is better than the listen. The performance was great, but I found myself able to understand the book mostly on a general level, missing much nuance. Best character names ever. Johnny Stompinato, Jack Vincens, Abe Titlebaum, Mickey C, Buzz Meeks, Lee Vacs...

4 people found this helpful

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amazing book, amazing performance

the plot, while at times complex enough that I had to rewind, was very satisfying and engaging. the ending was both rewarding and somewhat sad. hands down the most magnificent performance by a narrator I have yet to come across. definitely listen to this book!

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent Crime Novel

Would you consider the audio edition of L.A. Confidential to be better than the print version?

Yes. I can't listen to the print version on my commute.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes. This book has a well developed plot. Ellroy at his best.

Which character – as performed by Craig Wasson – was your favorite?

Dudley Smith.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

?

Any additional comments?

Craig Wasson was great!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great book... BUT

If you could sum up L.A. Confidential in three words, what would they be?

Better than movie

What was one of the most memorable moments of L.A. Confidential?

Bloody christmas!

What three words best describe Craig Wasson’s performance?

Trying too much!!!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole story

Any additional comments?

I have listened to many audiobooks in my time. This time I have to say that the reader tried too hard. It is a shame really because when I saw this title in the pre-order section I thought christmas came early this year. I felt so let down because the reader in my mind tries too hard.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book but easier to follow in print.

This is a great book but it gets confusing at points because the narrator uses the same voice for a lot of the characters. The scenes with multiple characters are easier to understand in print because it's clear when the different characters are speaking. The only other major problem I had with the performance was the narrator's Mexican accent sounds like a Chinese accent to me. There are some points in the story where a lot of information is presented very quickly and it's much easier to go back and refresh your memory with the print edition. If you don't have time to actually read the print edition you shouldn't let the shortcomings of the audio version stop you from enjoying this book.

1 person found this helpful

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An Incredible Narration Makes a Great Story Even Better

This book has thrilling moments and a tangled web on mysteries, all brought to life by Narrator Craig Wasson. Ellroy’s novel is set in 1950s Los Angeles, following Police Officers, criminals, politicians, actors, and so many others in gripping story. Wasson provides incredible characterizations, each very unique to the character with very subtle inflections. It was a treat to hear him become so many characters and this book has a lot. The writing style is in a short, staccato style that harkens back to those old pulp crime novels of the 40s and 50s, but Elroy seems to elevate the style to high art. There are a lot of flawed characters, but you get really invested in all of them. And the twists are turns will keep you guessing how it will come together in the end. A great read if you like action and crime stories.

1 person found this helpful

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Damn Good!

A challenging listen given the cop speak and lingo of the era this book is set in. But entertaining none the less.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Audio of a Complicated Book

L.A Confidential is my favorite book of all time. I read it for the first time at 16 and it's the book that really got me interested in reading. I finished it at 4:00am while on vacation and reread it immediately. Every mystery or crime novel I've read since has been chasing the dragon of L.A Confidential. Some have come close, but it's never been surpassed.

I've read this book countless times, but I decided to listen to it this time around. Overall the audio book is great. Wesson is a gifted narrator and he handles Ellroy's unique staccato style very well. Um, the less said about his voices for female, Hispanic, Black and Asian characters the better. I have to admit, I usually read the last section of the book fairly quickly because there's so much going on. Listening to the book was great because it slowed me down and forced me to really pay attention to the story. I picked up on things I had missed in the past.

1 person found this helpful