– The Second L.A. Quartet –
It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans—but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.
The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police Department. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith—Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a twenty-one-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls—comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns.
Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel.
– Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy –
Book 1 in the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy
We are behind, and below, the scenes of JFK's presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination—in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C.…
Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy…
Where the right drugs, the right amount of cash, the right murder, buys a moment of a man's loyalty…
Where three renegade law-enforcement officers—a former L.A. cop and two FBI agents—are shaping events with the virulence of their greed and hatred, riding full-blast shotgun into history…
James Ellroy's trademark nothing-spared rendering of reality, blistering language, and relentless narrative pace are here in electrifying abundance, put to work in a novel as shocking and daring as anything he's written: a secret history that zeroes in on a time still shrouded in secrets and blows it wide open.
Book 2 in the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy
In this savagely audacious novel, James Ellroy
plants a pipe bomb under the America of the 1960s, lights the fuse, and watches the shrapnel fly. On November 22, 1963 three men converge in Dallas. Their job: to clean up the JFK hit's loose ends and inconvenient witnesses. They are Wayne Tedrow Jr., a Las Vegas cop with family ties to the lunatic right; Ward J. Littell, a defrocked FBI man turned underworld mouthpiece; and Pete Bondurant, a doperunner and hitman who serves as the Mob's emissary to the anti-Castro underground.
It goes bad from there. For the next five years these night-riders run a whirlwind of plots and counter-plots: Howard Hughes's takeover of Vegas, J. Edgar Hoover's war against the civil rights movement, the heroin trade in Vietnam, and the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Wilder than L. A. Confidential, more devastating than American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand establishes Ellroy as one of our most fearless novelists.
Book 3 in the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy
America's master of noir delivers his masterpiece, a rip-roaring, devilishly wild ride through the bloody end of the 1960's. It's dark “baby”, and hot hot hot.
Martin Luther King assassinated. Robert Kennedy assassinated. Los Angeles, 1968. Conspiracies theories are taking hold. On the horizon looms the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and constant gun fire peppers south L.A. Violence, greed, and grime, are replacing free love, and everybody from Howard Hughes, Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover to right-wing assassins and left-wing revolutionaries are getting dirty. At the center of it all is a triumvirate: the president's strong-arm goon, an ex-cop and heroin runner, and a private eye whose quarry is so dangerous she could set off the whole powder keg. With his trademark deadly staccato prose, James Ellroy holds nothing back in this wild, startling and much anticipated conclusion to his Underworld USA trilogy.
– L.A. Quartet –
Book 1 in the L.A. Quartet
On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.
In this fictionalized treatment of a real case, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, both L.A. cops obsessed with the Black Dahlia, journey through the seamy underside of Hollywood to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.
“Passionate, violent, frustrating…imaginative and bizarre.” —Los Angeles Times
“Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated, but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit.” —Publishers Weekly
This fictionalized version of Hollywood's most notorious murder case takes readers on a hellish journey through the movie capital and into a region of total madness.
Book 2 in the L.A. Quartet
Los Angeles, 1950. Red crosscurrents and a string of brutal killings.
The characters: Danny Upshaw—a sheriff's deputy stuck with a bunch of murders that nobody cares about. Mal Considine—DA's Office brass, climbing on the Red Scare bandwagon to advance his own career. Buzz Meeks—bagman, ex-goon and pimp for Howard Hughes, a man who fights communism for the money. All three have purchased tickets to a nightmare worse than their darkest dreams.
“Stark, brutal, tender and powerful…a remarkably vivid portrait of a remarkable time and place.” —Publisher's Source
X-rated for violence.
Author of the bestselling Black Dahlia, James Ellroy pens another thriller—a noir epic of three men caught in a web of ambition, perversion and deceit during the 1950s in L.A. Each is on a collision course with the communist scare and a string of brutal murders. Reissue.
Book 3 in the L.A. Quartet
L.A. Confidential is an epic crime novel that stands as a steel-edged time capsule—Los Angeles in the 1950s, a remarkable era defined in dark shadings.
A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law—three cops treading quicksand in the middle.
Detective Ed Exley wants glory. Haunted by his father's success as a policeman, he will pay any price, break any law, to eclipse him.
Detective Bud White watched his own father murder his mother. He is now bent on random vengeance, a time bomb with a badge.
Book 4 in the L.A. Quartet
Los Angeles, 1958. Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns—it's standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD. He's a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer—a power in his own small corner of hell. Then the Feds announce a full-out investigation into local police corruption and everything goes haywire.
Klein's hung out as bait, “a bad cop to draw the heat,” and the heat's coming from all sides: from local politicians, from LAPD brass, from racketeers and drug kingpins—all of them hell-bent on keeping their own secrets hidden. For Klein, “forty-two and going on dead,” it's dues time.
Klein tells his own story—his voice clipped, sharp, often as brutal as the events he's describing—taking us with him on a journey through a world shaped by monstrous ambition, avarice, and perversion. It's a world he created, but now he'll do anything to get out of it alive.
Fierce, riveting, and honed to a razor edge, White Jazz is crime fiction at its most shattering.
– Memoir –
The year was 1958. Jean Hilliker had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband and resurrected her maiden name. Her son, James, was ten years old. He hated and lusted after his mother and “summoned her dead." She was murdered three months later.
The Hilliker Curse is a predator's confession, a treatise on guilt and on the power of malediction, and above all, a cri de cœur. James Ellroy unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, his nervous breakdown, and the beginning of a relationship with a woman who may just be the long-sought Her.
A layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest, The Hilliker Curse is a brilliant, soul-baring revelation of self. It is unlike any memoir you have ever read.
In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb. Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In 1994, Ellroy quit running. He went back to L.A., to find out the truth about his mother--and himself.
In My Dark Places, our most uncompromising crime writer tells what happened when he teamed up with a brilliant homicide cop to investigate a murder that everyone else had forgotten--and reclaim the mother he had despised, desired, but never dared to love. What ensues is a epic of loss, fixation, and redemption, a memoir that is also a history of the American way of violence.
– Short Stories –
Dig it. A famous musician-cum-draft dodger is plotting the perfect celebrity kidnapping—his own. An ex-con raging on revenge in High Darktown becomes a cop's worst nightmare. While chasing kidnappers, two cops stumble on an Okie town as bloody as the O.K. Corral. A strongarm for Howard Hughes and mobster Mickey Cohen finds himself playing both ends against the middle, all for a murderously magnificent moll. This is L.A., Ellroy–style—corrupt cops, goons with guns, rattling roadsters–and all in the staccato rhythm of the streets. Hollywood Nocturnes, a novella and five short stories, shows us the seedy side of glamorous Hollywood, laid out like a corpse in the morgue.
– Journalism/Short Fiction –
Los Angeles. In no other city do sex, celebrity, money, and crime exert such an irresistible magnetic field. And no writer has mapped that field with greater savagery and savvy than James Ellroy. With this fever-hot collection of reportage and short fiction, he returns to his native habitat and portrays it as a smog-shrouded netherworld where “every third person is a peeper, prowler, pederast, or pimp.”
From the scandal sheets of the 1950s to this morning's police blotter, Ellroy reopens true crimes and restores human dimensions to their victims. Sublimely, he resurrects the rag Hush-Hush magazine. And in a baroquely plotted novella of slaughter and corruption he enlists the forgotten luminaries of a lost Hollywood. Shocking, mesmerizing, and written in prose as wounding as an ice pick, Crime Wave is Ellroy at his best.
The Demon Dog gets down with a new book of scenes from America's capital of kink: Los Angeles. Fourteen pieces, some fiction, some nonfiction, all true enough to be admissible as state's evidence, and half of it in print for the first time. And every one of them bearing the James Ellroy brand of mayhem, machismo, and hollow-nose prose.
Here are Mexican featherweights and unsolved-murder vics, crooked cops and a very clean D.A. Here is a profile of Hollywood's latest celebrity perp-walker, Robert Blake, and three new novellas featuring a demented detective with an obsession with a Hollywood actress. And, oh yes, just maybe the last appearance of Hush-Hush sleaze-monger Danny Getchell. Here's Ellroy himself, shining a 500-watt Mag light into all the dark places of his life and imagination. Destination: Morgue! puts the reader's attention in a hammerlock and refuses to let go.
– Early Novels –
Fritz Brown's L.A.—and his life—are a mass of contradictions, like stirring chorales sung for the dead. A less-than-spotless former cop with a drinking problem, a private-eye-cum-repo man with a taste for great music, he has been known to wallow in the grime beneath the Hollywood glitter. But Brown's life is about to change, thanks to a racist psycho who flashes too much cash for a golf caddie and who walked away clean from a multiple murder rap. Reopening this case could be Fritz's redemption—his welcome back to a moral world and his path to a pure and perfect love. But to get there, he must make it through a grim, lightless place where evil has no national borders; where lies beget lies and death begets death; where there's little tolerance for Bach or Beethoven and deadly arson is a lesser mortal sin. And where a PI's unhealthy interest in the past can turn beautiful music into funeral dirge.
Fred Underhill is a young cop on the rise in Los Angeles in the early 1950's—a town blinded to its own grime by Hollywood glitter; a society nourished by newspaper lies that wants its heroes All-American and squeaky clean. A chance to lead on a possible serial killing is all it takes to fuel Underhill's reckless ambition: It propels him into a dangerous alliance with certain mad and unstable elements of the law enforcement hierarchy. When the case implodes with disastrous consequences, it is Underhill who takes the fall. His life in ruins, his promising future wrecked—even his love for a crusading woman lawyer may be gone forever. And his good and pure love for a crusading woman lawyer has been corrupted and may not survive. But even without the authority of a badge, Underhill knows that his only hope for redemption lies in following the investigation to its grim conclusion. But the hell to which he has been consigned for his sins is the perfect place to hunt for a killer who hungers but has no soul.
One of the earliest serial-killer novels, and still one of the best, Killer on the Road is a character study, not the story of a manhunt.
Martin Michael Plunkett has a genius intellect, a pitiless soul of brushed steel, and a heart of blackest evil. His criminal tendencies nurtured in a Los Angeles gripped by Manson Gang hysteria, he drifts to San Francisco where he indulges savage impulses that show him his true vocation as a murderer. So begins a decade of terror as he blazes a trail of carnage across the country, a saga pieced together in retrospect through Plunkett's own confession and police reports, media coverage, and the writings of True Detective magazine. Both fascinating and grueling, the novel lays bare Plunkett's internal workings—his mental brilliance and moral insanity—in a way and style that is only James Ellroy.
Book 1 in the Lloyd Hopkins Series
Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins can't stand music, or any loud sounds. He's got a beautiful wife, but he can't get enough of other women. And instead of bedtime stories, he regales his daughters with bloody crime stories. He's a thinking-man's cop with a dark past and an obsessive drive to hunt down monsters who prey on the innocent.
Now there's something haunting him. He sees a connection in a series of increasingly gruesome murders committed over a period of twenty years. To solve the case, Hopkins will ditch all the rules and risk his career to make the final link and get the killer.
Book 2 in the Lloyd Hopkins Series
A hero cop is missing. A botched liquor-store heist leaves three grisly dead. Nobody could see a pattern in these two pieces of information–no one except Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins, a brilliant and disturbed L.A. cop with an obsessive desire to protect the innocent. To him they lead to one horrifying conclusion—a killer is on the loose and preying on his city. From the master of L.A. noir comes this beautiful and brutal tale of a cop and a criminal squared off in a life-and-death struggle.
Book 3 in the Lloyd Hopkins Series
Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins is the most brilliant homicide detective in the Los Angeles Police Department and one of its most troubled. In his obsessive mission to protect the innocent, there is no line he won't cross. Estranged from his wife and daughters and on the verge of being fired for his transgressions, Hopkins is assigned to investigate a series of bloody bank robberies. As the violence escalates and the case becomes ever more vicious, Hopkins will be forced to cross the line once again to stop a maniac on a murder binge.