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Book Details

Title:   This Storm
Author:   James Ellroy
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   09.25.21

Other Books Read By This Author (3)
- Blood's A Rover
- The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
- Perfidia

Notes History
Date Read Note
09.25.21 Ellroy's next book is out so I figured it was time I got around to reading this. I remember how intensely I got into his original LA Quartet and American Tabloid in college. I gulped them down and read everything he'd ever written, but at some point I feel his work started to suffer. Cold Six Thousand was a little tough to get through, then there was a long period of nothing but short stories of varying quality. But then I really liked Blood's A Rover which surprised me, because Perfidia was quite a chore. Now This Storm is part 2 in his "new LA Quartet" prequel series that kind of ties the OG books and the "Underworld USA" trilogy together by spending WW2 in LA i guess. Perfidia was like 800 pages that took place in a month. This one is about 600 covering 4 months. I didn't dislike it but i am definitely happy to be done with it. There are so many characters, many of whom sound familiar but I can't remember where they've previously appeared or even what they did in Perfidia. I had to go find a chapter-by-chapter summary of Perfidia just to refresh myself because this book has almost no recap. Which is weird because it has 4 points of view and isn't shy about repeating information whenever each character learns about it, so it's this constant repetition that had me questioning if this was somehow new info or just rehash, then in general the book progresses in a spiral pattern of slowly coming around and around deeper and deeper until the mystery finally unravels in the last 50 pages or so. So, I do like Ellroy's no-time-for-extra-words prose style but it feels like it's getting more and more obtuse. And I've definitely never used kindle's dictionary function more... Ellroy's vocabulary is definitely better than mine, even though it kind of makes all the characters sound the same, with the exception of Elmer Jackson due to some colloquialisms that get repeated (ooga booga, woof-woof, etc.). I get that Dudley Smith would be speaking in fancy tones but he hardly says boy-o at all which I feel dominates the "later" books in this series and most of the other characters speak just like him, which is to say very formally. Toward the end of the book there's a small-town character that finally comments on this which I was grateful for. So I think the book itself is an achievement even if it was kinda hard to track what was happening sometimes. Like what the hell is terp? Had to look that one up. But I guess maybe that's also part of literature's mission? To impress the reader with the prose to the point where you're not sure what the hell is going on? Certainly most of the books I remember having to read in school were like that... fuckin Michael Ondaatje I'm looking at you. So I don't know if this is just me accidentally reading a more literary book than I'm used to? Either way, I'm really keen to re-read The Big Nowhere at some point just to see. It's also funny to note that Ellroy's new one is a break from this series. They seem like a ton of work... maybe he needed a break as well?



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