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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-30-15

...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.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

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

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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

Ellroy and Wasson are a match made in Heaven!

There is simply nothing I could say to express what a blast this listen was! Wasson should read every single Ellroy audio book. You can tell he enjoyed every second of it. Ellroy is a master and L.A. Confidential is a Masterpiece(along with The Black Dahlia, American Tabloid & Blood's A Rover). The plot is HUGE so you may need to listen a few times through, but you will want to anyway.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Floyd
  • AURORA, CO, United States
  • 12-25-17

Great noir detective story

I really dug this book - it is much more expansive in scope than the film. The story stretches across a decade from the early 1950s into early 1960s Los Angeles. Ellroy's story is set in a very specific time and the affect and attitude of his characters are that of a post WWII and pre Civil Rights Movement America. The language isn't gratuitous, and some may find it disquieting. It is another element of the authenticity that adds grim and grit to the story. Ellroy's knowledge of the inner workings of public safety agencies and the politics and lexicon therein gives an energized kind of reality to the story.

L.A. Confidential is complex. Plot and characters are shifting and evolving all throughout the story. It is hard boiled noir as it's best.

I didn't realize that this is the 3rd book in a series (L.A. Quartet). I will be checking out the other books

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book... better movie

I love the movie, decided to read (listen to) the book. I must say the movie was much better, or maybe I was expecting something different. While vivid, the police work is off and at time you get lost in the twists of plot. Overall, good book, better movie. Still glad I read the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best bad mens

The performance is amazing, does a really great job with differentiating all the characters and setting the mood even when the prose is hecticor dense. And of course can't go wrong with Ellroy. Had an awesome time sharing my commute with all these jerk men and their bad decisions.