Other Books Read By This Author (6)
- American Tabloid
- Blood's A Rover
- The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
- This Storm
- Widespread Panic
| The new Ellroy, this one following Fred OTash in 62 around the death of Marilyn Monroe. This one is structured and styled more like This Storm and Perfidia (with chapter headings down to the minute and now trademark direct voice small impactful sentences) but more like the Underworld USA books where he weaves a crime mystery around historic figures and events. The cover for the book is a bit of a departure which I like but since I read on kindle it took quite a while to realize that the people on the cover represent most of the main players in the story. It's pretty crazy that so many characters in the book are real, including the protagonist! I watched some interviews with him from his book tour and Ellroy seems to admit more freely how at least 75% of the stuff in there is made up though. He talked a lot about finding dead zones in history where he could fill in with his story, so it's less a vibe like an Oliver Stone movie and more a fun jaunt like his better books a la Black Dahlia. I liked this quite a bit. The cast of characters is pretty huge so throughout I kept having to periodically pause and remember who was who, but there was a pace and momentum here which I didn't feel in his previous recent works, and without having to deal with the alliterative text of his last one the story flowed better. Special call out to his dramatis personae appendix where he frames each character as what they do in the book. For example: "FREDDY OTASH: Tainted ex-cop, defrocked private eye, dope fiend, and free-lance extortionist. The hero-narrator of The Enchanters." and "MARCIA MARIA DAVENPORT: Divorcee burglary victim. A pervert stalks her in The Enchanters." and "PAUL DR RIVER, M.D.: Corrupt and corrupting headshrinker. Don't go near his couch! A sinster aspect of The Enchanters." A very fun way to write up what's usually a super dry part of a book. I have to say though, another think Ellroy mentioned multiple times in the interviews I watched, he said he got bored writing about WW2 so his "Second LA Quartet" which was going to cover LA through that timer period is pivoting into a quintet in which this I guess is the third book followed by two more Otash books both taking place in the last two months of 1962 and they'd refer back to wartime... or something. He also mentioned wanting to write a huge book covering V-J Day in realtime, like the whole book being one day. I've got no problem with him writing whatever he wants to write and I understand him going from feeling like a new quartet of books sounding fun to more like a chore (I definitely remember This Storm feeling strained and not super fun to read which is a shame because it's the one I got signed by him), but shoe-horning what could just be a OTash series into whatever Perfidia and This Storm are seems forced to me. Again, this is just my weird OCD logic order brain talking... I don't want him to write 2 more slogs of books just to fulfill his commitments... but this book didn't feel connected to those other "second quartet" books at all. If anything it feels closer to American Tabloid since it's the same time and both books have the Kennedys (and Otash kinda sorta). In any case, I just hope whatever he writes next (which he says Nixon will be a sympathetic figure in) is as good and fun to read as this was.