Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V3 #259

From: James Rogers (
Date: 21 May 2000

    I actually agree with a fair amount of what you say. Ellroy's public persona is obviously an dreadful joke, and I am not very comfortable with his use of his Mother's death as material. On a more technical level, I would also agree that he could use a few hours of concentrated work with a copy of Strunk and White. In his defense, however, I would point out that this could also be said of a few other powerful writers - Jim Thompson, for instance, who has numerous annoying and sometimes amateurish stylistic tics. For me, Ellroy's obvious deficiencies are usually outweighed by his ability to write about really ugly characters with a certain degree of symapthy and understanding. Of course, if I had to hang out with him much I might be less tolerant.



At 01:43 AM 5/21/00 EDT, Bob Randisi wrote:

> I will have to admit that I have known James since before BROWN'S
>REQUIEM was published. He called me one day, out of the blue, to ask
>about an agent he was considering approaching. I answered as best I could,
>and he went on from there. He ended up at the Mysterious Press, where Otto
>Penzler, for some reason, also became an "enthusiast." But Otto didn't work
>on the books, and only saw them after they were edited. The simple fact of
>the matter is that, technically--no, I won't say it's a fact. That would be
>pretentious of me. In my opinion he has never been technically sound as a
>writer, relies too heavily on shock value--not only in his writing, but in
>his personal appearances. All that howling . . . yes, I have found James
>pretentious, but while I may admire his passion, I have never actually been
>able to see it come across in the work. I will aoso admit to not having read
>a lot of his recent work, but our opinions are often formed early on, aren't
> I was never able to get into T. Jeff Parker's work until I read WHERE
>SERPENT'S LIE and THE BLUE HOUR. I gave him a second chance. So I may have
>give James one--someday. For now, I think he has gone very far on passion
>and shock value, and has--luckily for him--struck a chord with the right
>people, "literary" people--not to mention movie people.
> James has worked very hard for his success, and probably deserves it--I
>just don't think he's the Literary Icon a lot of people seem to think he
>There are better writers out there than James--just as there are a LOT of
>better writers out there than me. That IS a fact.
>Bob Randisi
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James Michael Rogers

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