Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy

From: Chris Martin (
Date: 22 Nov 2002

Joy asked:
>So, again, what's the best fiction that's not historical to try?

Suicide Hill is far from being Ellroy's best work, but it was written in the early eighties and the setting is contemporary. I reread it for Police Procedural Month and enjoyed it again the second time. Though it is the third novel in the Lloyd Hopkins trilogy, it is so much better than the previous two that having a knowledge of the others is not neccessary.

Brown's Requiem, Ellroy's first novel, was also contemporary. It's a pretty good first novel that foreshadows that better novels will follow. (A Firing Offense by Pelecanos struck me the same way the first time I read it. The difference being that I read Brown's Requiem after reading most everythign else by Ellroy). But if Brown's Requiem and Suicide Hill are all you read of Ellroy, Joy, you could easily be left wondering what the big deal is (of course, some would say you could read everything by the man and still wonder what the big deal is).

All that aside, The Black Dahlia (though set in the 50s) is the best introduction to Ellroy.

Thanks to everyone who's weighed in so far on Ellroy. He's definitely one of the more polarizing authors discussed 'round these parts and I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments.


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