James Ellroy


Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic unfolds in shimmering Ellroyvision.

Wall Street Journal

Freddy Otash was the man in the know and the man to know in ’50s L.A. He was a rogue cop, a sleazoid private eye, a shakedown artist, a pimp – and, most notably, the head strong-arm goon for Confidential magazine.

Confidential presaged the idiot internet – and delivered the dirt, the dish, the insidious ink, and the scurrilous skank. It mauled misanthropic movie stars, sex-soiled socialites, and putzo politicians. Mattress Jack Kennedy, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson – Frantic Freddy outed them all. He was the Tattle Tyrant who held Hollywood hostage, and now he’s here to CONFESS.

“I’m consumed with candor and wracked with recollection. I’m revitalized and resurgent. My meshugenah march down memory lane begins NOW.

In Freddy’s viciously entertaining voice, Wide­spread Panic torches 1950s Hollywood to the ground. It’s a blazing revelation of coruscating corruption, of pervasive paranoia, and of sin and redemption with nothing in between.

Here is James Ellroy in savage quintessence. Freddy Otash confesses – and you are here to read and succumb.

More praise for Widespread Panic

Fast, snappy, and with a level of alliteration that dances between the brilliant and the ridiculous, Otash's voice is unlike anything else in contemporary fiction.

Gabino Iglesias, NPR

Wildly entertaining and memorable…[A] stunning explosion of language.


Graphic, stunning, and in many instances hilarious…No punches are pulled, and no literary expense spared.


Devious and delicious…Ellroy’s total command of the jazzy, alliterative argot of the era never fails to astonish. This is a must for L.A. noir fans.

Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

If you love Ellroy, you’ll love this wild ride.

The Washington Post

Wildly flamboyant…a spectacular explosion of language. For those with a taste for foulmouthed fireworks and free-form jazz solos…Ellroy is your man.


Widespread Panic is quintessential Ellroy, but with enough alliteration, Hollyweird flavor, booze, distressed damsels, communist conspiracies, and extortions to make this the most Ellroy novel he’s ever written…Otash’s voice is unlike anything else in contemporary fiction…This book packs in everything Ellroy has obsessed about over the course of his career. There are echoes of American Tabloid here, the Black Dahlia makes an appearance, and it’s a spiritual companion to L.A. Confidential…Ellroy makes it feel fresh.