The Big Sweep
Dennis Lehane on Perfidia:
Few writers, once established in the public consciousness, have changed their style as drastically as James Ellroy. In his early days, Ellroy wandered through the boneyards of 1980s pulp, channeling Jim Thompson and Dashiell Hammett before he found his own voice with a trilogy of contemporary novels about a troubled, racist genius cop named Lloyd Hopkins. Hopkins was morally despicable in the day-to-day, but compared with the monsters he fought in the neon-drench of underworld Los Angeles, he was quasi-angelic. When Ellroy closed out the Hopkins trilogy with ‘Suicide Hill’ in 1986, he shuttered his interest in topical culture as well and moved into the second incarnation of his career, that of the wildly romantic yet increasingly bilious chronicler of Los Angeles in the years immediately following World War II.