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  • Crime Wave
  • Written by James Ellroy
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375704710
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Crime Wave

Reportage and Fiction from the Underside of L.A.

Written by James EllroyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by James Ellroy

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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

The police reconstructed the crime.



My mother went out drinking Saturday night. She was seen at the Desert Inn bar in El Monte with a dark-haired white man and a blonde woman. My mother and the man left the bar around 10 P.M.



A group of Little Leaguers discovered the body. My mother had been strangled at an unknown location and dumped into some bushes next to the athletic field at Arroyo High School, a mile and a half from the Desert Inn.



She clawed her assailant's face bloody. The killer had pulled off one of her stockings and tied it loosely around her neck postmortem.



I went to live with my father. I forced some tears out that Sunday--and none since.




My flight landed early. L.A. looked surreal, and inimical to the myth town of my books.



I checked in at the hotel and called Sergeant Stoner. We made plans to meet the following day. He gave me directions to the Homicide Bureau; earthquake tremors had ravaged the old facility and necessitated a move.



Sergeant McComas wouldn't be there. He was recuperating from open-heart surgery, a classic police-work by-product.



I told Stoner I'd pop for lunch. He warned me that the file might kill my appetite.



I ate a big room-service dinner. Dusk hit--I looked out my window and imagined it was 1950-something.

I set my novel Clandestine in 1951. It's a chronologically altered, heavily fictionalized account of my mother's murder. The story details a young cop's obsession: linking the death of a woman he had a one-night stand with to the killing of a redheaded nurse in El Monte. The supporting cast includes a 9-year-old boy very much like I was at that age.



I gave the killer my father's superficial attributes and juxtaposed them against a psychopathic bent. I have never understood my motive for doing this.



I called the dead nurse Marcella De Vries. She hailed from my mother's hometown: Tunnel City, Wisconsin.



I did not research that book. Fear kept me from haunting archives and historical sites. I wanted to contain what I knew and felt about my mother. I wanted to acknowledge my blood debt and prove my imperviousness to her power by portraying her with coldhearted lucidity.



Several years later, I wrote The Black Dahlia. The title character was a murder victim as celebrated as Jean Ellroy was ignored. She died the year before my birth, and I understood the symbiotic cohesion the moment I first heard of her.



The Black Dahlia was a young woman named Elizabeth Short. She came west with fatuous hopes of becoming a movie star. She was undisciplined, immature, and promiscuous. She drank to excess and told whopping lies.



Someone picked her up and tortured her for two days. Her death was as hellishly protracted as my mother's was gasping and quick. The killer cut her in half and deposited her in a vacant lot twenty miles west of Arroyo High School.



The killing is still unsolved.
James Ellroy

About James Ellroy

James Ellroy - Crime Wave

Photo © Jennifer Carroll

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz, and the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood’s A Rover. These seven novels have won numerous honors and were international best sellers. Ellroy currently lives in Los Angeles.

www.jamesellroy.net

James Ellroy is represented by Random House Speakers Bureau (http://www.rhspeakers.com).
Praise

Praise

"One of the best Amercan writers of our time." --Los Angeles Times

"A blood poet who writes as chain saws crank, Ellroy has vigorously redefined the well-shadowed turf of contemporary crime fiction." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Nobody in this generation matches the breadth and depth of James Ellroy's way with noir." --The Detroit News

"His spare noir style . . . hits like a cleaver but . . . is honed like a scalpel." --Chicago Tribune
James Ellroy

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James Ellroy - Crime Wave

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