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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles, 1950. Red crosscurrents: the commie scare and a string of brutal mutilation killings. Gangland intrigue and Hollywood sleaze. Three cops caught in a hellish web of ambition, perversion, and deceit.

Danny Upshaw is a sheriff's deputy stuck with a bunch of snuffs nobody cares about; they're his chance to make his name as a cop...and to sate his darkest curiosities. Mal Considine is DA's bureau brass. He's climbing on the Red Scare bandwagon to advance his career and to gain custody of his adopted son, a child he saved from the horror of postwar Europe. Buzz Meeks - bagman, ex-narco goon, and pimp for Howard Hughes - is fighting communism for the money. All three men have purchased tickets to a nightmare.

©1988 James Ellroy (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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

Best of the LA Quartet

This was the best of Elliot's LA Quartet IMO, superbly wrought and emotional in its tragic conclusion

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Red Chasing, Rogue Cops, Hollywood, and a Killer

Once it starts to click, it doesn't let up. My Favorite of the LA quartet.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-21-15

ALL you want out of LA Noir.

“It all came down to money - the great equalizer and common denominator.”
― James Ellroy, The Big Nowhere

Probably 4.5 stars. I'm leaving room, saving stars, minding the gap, because I KNOW this isn't Elroy's best. Still, it is a novel that if written by any other living crime writer it might be considered their masterpiece and this is only 2nd shelf Ellroy. Chew on that. This is the 2nd book in Ellroy's LA Quartet Series (Starts with The Black Dahlia and includes this, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz). It really has all you want out of LA Noir. Hollywood, homosexuals, drugs, jazz, sex, the Mob, crooked cops, etc. The plot is near perfect and the characters are BETTER than the plot, in my book.

James Ellroy does for crime thrillers what John le Carré does for spy thrillers. They both have made their own corner of genre fiction literary. Both will be read in 400 years as future academics and fans try to tease out how exactly how f'ed-up the 20th century really was.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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

An underrated classic.

Just the right combination of booze, babes, and bullets to keep any hardcore detective fiction fan happy. Not for the faint of heart or for those easily offended by 1950's racism, sexism, or homophobia.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Floyd
  • AURORA, CO, United States
  • 05-31-18

Noir greatness

Dovetailing beautifully into the opening scene of L.A. Confidential, The Big Nowhere is the second in Ellroy's L.A. Quartet series. He manages to subtly change the tone and timbre of his prose to allow these characters to live and breathe and still maintaining the atmosphere and vibe that makes these stories so good.

The Big Nowhere is less racially charged that the volumes 1 and 3 of the series, but Ellroy explores issues around sexual orientation and sexuality with stark frankness. As is true with the other books in the series, the violence to juxtaposed again the inner turmoil of the central characters.

It's interesting to see how characters that appear in the other novels are perceived differently in each volume. I'm going to take a break before rereading volume 3 and jumping into volume 4, but I'm looking forward to it.

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

The most preposterous story ever told

Unnecessarily gruesome. Lazy ending. At one point I laughed out loud at how completely ridiculous the story was. But - I couldn't stop listening.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful