RARA-AVIS: Re: Ellroy

a.n.smith (ansmith@netdoor.com)
Thu, 30 Dec 1999 20:59:13 -0600

> It's very hard for me to like a a book whose protagonists and most
> major characters are morally bereft.

I find it surprising to see so much anti-Ellroy sentiment on the HB list, and some of that even from people who put him on the top 5! Personally, I think he's doing something very unique and interesting with the writing, which beats the standard detective yarn by a long shot. Anything to break up the formulas and stretch beyond genre (I love genre, but my love comes from seeing the edges pushed a lot, seeing how much it can take). But I can allow for different tastes and thoughts--sure, but being that's he "saved" crime fiction for me when I wasn't finding good stuff (just luck led me to the book, and that led me to dive into the HB pool completely), I like to keep his flag flying. I like the style, the shady characters, the convoluted plots.

Now, here's my beef with him: After MY DARK PLACES (great, powerful, unusual), he started doing all this GQ stuff that ended up in CRIMEWAVE, and I see it as dreck written for the cash. The non-fiction stuff is ok, but the fiction with the rag sheet editor, and all that awful alliteration. So, I'm hoping the next book shows me the Ellroy that I admired in WJ and AT.


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