• The Enchanters

  • A Novel
  • By: James Ellroy
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 19 hrs and 8 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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The Enchanters  By  cover art

The Enchanters

By: James Ellroy
Narrated by: Craig Wasson
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Publisher's summary

AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • James Ellroy—Demon Dog of American Letters—goes straight to the tragic heart of 1962 Hollywood with a wild riff on the Marilyn Monroe death myth in an astonishing, behind-the-headlines crime epic.

Los Angeles, August 4, 1962. The city broils through a midsummer heat wave. Marilyn Monroe ODs. A B-movie starlet is kidnapped. The overhyped LAPD overreacts. Chief Bill Parker’s looking for some getback. The Monroe deal looks like a moneymaker. He calls in Freddy Otash.

The freewheeling Freddy O: tainted ex-cop, defrocked private eye, dope fiend, and freelance extortionist. A man who lives by the maxim “Opportunity is love.” Freddy gets to work. He dimly perceives Marilyn Monroe’s death and the kidnapped starlet to be a poisonous riddle that only he has the guts and the brains to untangle. We are with him as he tears through all those who block his path to the truth. We are with him as he penetrates the faux-sunshine of Jack and Bobby Kennedy and the shuck of Camelot. We are with him as he falters, and grasps for love beyond opportunity. We are with him as he tracks Marilyn Monroe’s horrific last charade through a nightmare L.A. that he served to create — and as he confronts his complicity and his own raging madness.

It’s the Summer of ’62, baby. Freddy O’s got a hot date with history. The savage Sixties are ready to pop. It’s just a shot away.

The Enchanters is a transcendent work of American popular fiction. It is James Ellroy at his most crazed, brilliant, provocative, profanely hilarious, and stop-your-heart tender. It is a luminous psychological drama and an unparalleled thrill ride. It is, resoundingly, the great American crime novel.

©2023 James Ellroy (P)2023 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"In Ellroy's latest audiobook, former cop Freddy Otash finds himself jammed up. He's investigating the death of Marilyn Monroe but has police officials, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and a swarm of others--actors, a psychologist, and people from the seedier side of Los Angeles--getting in his way. Craig Wasson relishes his narration, bringing a high level of emotion when needed. A few fight scenes are especially well done." (AudioFile)

"James Ellroy, the neo-noir eminence of L.A. crime fiction, is back, with his favorite snake, Fred Otash, in tow. . . . And he sure can shoulder a novel. . . . To pick up a James Ellroy novel in the year 2023 is to know the score. . . . [Ellroy’s] fiction, at its most potent, is driven less by plot than by ritual. He has been canonized and censured; he writes now, in his mid-seventies, on a plane beyond the exigencies of either, enjoying a rare kind of freedom.” The New Yorker

“James Ellroy's The Enchanters is classic Ellroy: a filthy, boozy, fast-paced, violent romp through the history and important figures of early 1960s Los Angeles, all told in Otash's frantic voice. . . . Ellroy keeps things moving at breakneck speed at all times, which is a fantastic feat considering this is a 448-page novel that delves deep into a plethora of scenes and seamlessly mixes fact and fiction. The trick to it is Ellroy's incomparable style; fast, punchy, telegrammatic prose that demands to be read quickly and that flows like an enraged river.” NPR

“[The Enchanters] blends the real and imagined into the kind of atmospheric psychosexual spectacle fans have come to expect from the grand master of L.A.-noir. . . . Thoroughly crooked yet unexpectedly appealing, Otash … is a fixer with an eidetic memory who operates in the shadowy fringes of the west coast glamour factory. . . . The plot of The Enchanters is sprawling yet intricate, a riveting series of events made all the more vivid by the precision of the details — the heavy wiretap surveillance opens up a prominent peripheral cast of hangers on, psychiatrists, pornographers and other petty criminals that swirl around the edges of the scene. Ellroy’s writing matches its sensational subject. . . . Filtered through Freddy’s drug- and booze-addled but brilliant mind, the novel is vibrant and vivid, with a pungent whiff of decay. . . . Otash is a fascinating guide. . . . Carnivalesque—literary roller coaster meets Tilt-a-Whirl.” The Washington Post