Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy reviewd at Salon; Spillane still not dead

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 14 Jun 2001

<He did it, as he told me years ago he would, by making each succeeding book "bigger, denser, more complex, more multilayered, more multiplotted, richer, darker, more stylized, dare I say it, more profound.>>

No, more shallow. Excuse me, but mentioning Ellroy in the same breath with James Joyce strikes me as a bad joke. Ellroy is a good ultrahardboiled writer, but he doesn't have an ounce of subtlety and his gallery of characters is remarkably narrow. His action-writing is good, but his characterization is very crude. After White Jazz, he abandoned one of the most important tools for a musician or a writer, namely contrast. Everything seems shouted, with no relief. The theme gets lost in the noise.

I'm not handing in my card as an Ellroy admirer, but he's no Joyce and, more to the point, he's not as good as the best writers of hardboiled and noir fiction (Hammett, Chandler, Willeford, Himes, with a big pack following some distance back).



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