The first novel in Ellroy's extraordinary Underworld USA Trilogy as featured on BBC Radio 4's A Good Read.
1958. America is about to emerge into a bright new age - an age that will last until the 1000 days of John F Kennedy's presidency.
Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era. Pete Bondurant - Howard Hughes's right-hand man, Jimmy Hoffa's hitman. Kemper Boyd - employed by J Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the Kennedy clan. Ward Littell - a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime.
The festering discount of the age that burns brightly in these men's hearts will go into supernova as the Bay of Pigs ends in calamity, the Mob clamours for payback and the 1000 days ends in brutal quietus in 1963.
________________________ 'Ellroy writes with raw power ... undeniably one of the most influential crime writers of our time' THE TIMES 'a tangled fever-dream ... Ellroy offers a grandiose, Wagnerian vision of wartime LA' SUNDAY TIMES ________________________ A brilliant historical crime novel, set in Los Angeles and Mexico during the pulse-pounding aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
January, '42. L.A. reels behind the shock of Pearl Harbor. Local Japanese are rounded up and slammed behind bars. Massive thunderstorms hit the city. A body is unearthed in Griffith Park.
The cops tag it a routine dead-man job. They're wrong. It's an early-warning signal of Chaos.
There's a murderous fire and a gold heist exploding out of the past. There's Fifth Column treason - at this moment, on American soil. There are homegrown Nazis, commies and race racketeers. There's two dead cops in a dive off the jazz-club strip. And three men and one woman have a hot date with History.
Elmer Jackson is a corrupt Vice cop. He's a flesh peddler and a bagman for the L.A. Chief of Police. Hideo Ashida is a crime-lab whiz, lashed by anti-Japanese rage. Dudley Smith is a PD hardnose working Army Intelligence. He's gone rogue and gone all-the-way fascist. Joan Conville was born rogue. She's a defrocked Navy lieutenant and a war profiteer to her core.
L.A., '42. Homefront madness ascendant. Early-wartime inferno - This Storm is James Ellroy's most audacious novel yet. It is by turns savage, tender, elegiac. It lays bare and celebrates crazed Americans of all stripes.
________________________ 'Epic crime writing from a master' DAILY MAIL 'Ellroy is unique. There is nobody writing this way ... Nobody has done or is doing what he is doing' BOOKMUNCH
America's greatest crime writer investigates his mother's murder. On 21 June 1958, Geneva Hilliker Ellroy left her home in California. She was found strangled the next day. Her ten year-old son James had been with her estranged husband all weekend and was informed of her death on his return. Her murderer was never found, but her death had an enduring effect on her son - he spent his teens and early adult years as a wino, petty burglar and derelict.
Only later, through his obsession with crime fiction, triggered by his mother's murder, did Ellroy begin to delve into his past. Shortly after the publication of his groundbreaking novel WHITE JAZZ, he determined to return to Los Angeles and, with the help of veteran detective Bill Stoner, attempt to solve the 38-year-old killing.
The result is one of the few classics of crime non-fiction and autobiography to appear in the last few decades; a hypnotic trip to America's underbelly and one man's tortured soul.
DALLAS, NOVEMBER 22ND, 1963.
Wayne Tedrow Jr has arrived to kill a man. The fee is $6,000. He finds himself instead in the middle of the cover-up following JFK's assassination. There follows a hellish five-year ride through the sordid underbelly of public policy via Las Vegas, Howard Hughes, Vietnam, CIA dope dealing, Cuba, sleazy showbiz, racism and the Klan.
This is the 1960s under Ellroy's blistering lens, the icons of the era mingled with cops, killers, hoods, and provocateurs. The Cold Six Thousand is historical confluence as American nightmare. Fierce, epic fiction. A masterpiece.