Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled genealogy

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 07 Feb 2006

Bill Denton wrote:

> Did you read the LA Quartet in order, or did you jump to WHITE JAZZ out of
> sequence? Going in order and watching the language change from book to
> book was a great experience, and I loved them all. Skipping to the last
> without preparation might confuse a reader.

Read them a bit out of sequence:


I don't think I was confused. I think I wasn't entertained. I thought DAHLIA was a great book. I liked LA CONFIDENTIAL, but confess to enjoying the movie made from it more (when was the last time you heard someone say the book wasn't as good as the movie? Last time for me? PATRIOT GAMES). I liked THE BIG NOWHERE less than the previous two, and WHITE JAZZ not at all. A coke-snorting, corrupt cop, with the hots for his sister.*sigh* I suppose that Ellroy had to go somewhere in this vicinity eventually. After all, he'd left himself nowhere else to go with it anyway, had he?

Of course it could just be me. Like I said, your mileage may vary. On a first reading I liked Ellroy's MY DARK PLACES memoir of his mother's murder and his own subsequent attempt to solve it years later. In fact, I liked it immensely. But it didn't stick with me. I suspect the knowledge of his background and his own personal demons when it comes to female relatives might have colored my view of WHITE JAZZ, which I read after I read MY DARK PLACES.

It could be like Ross MacDonald's obsession with young people who go missing and how their current problems nearly always tie in with some crime committed a few decades earlier. He was clearly exorcising some demons in riffing on that theme over and over and over (and over and over). I didn't mind that nearly as much as I did WHITE JAZZ.

Just my .02-

Brian Thornton

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Feb 2006 EST