Re: RARA-AVIS: Still on early Ellroy

From: James Michael Rogers (
Date: 12 Oct 2010

  • Next message: Ron Clinton: "RE: RARA-AVIS: Still on early Ellroy"

    I don't think the Hopkins books are all that different from the LA Quartet. The main difference seems to me that Ellroy replaced the half-crazed Hopkins with the wholly-crazed and even more compromised protagonists of the later books.. Other than that the books seem to share the same strengths (narrative drive, a really natural style, a very disturbing sensibility) and the same weaknesses (implausible plotting, ridiculous Grand Guignol violence, a sometimes cartoony and self-conscious darkness). Obviously, I like the Ellroy books but I can see how they could leave some folks cold.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Patrick King
      Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:42
      Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Still on early Ellroy


      BROWN'S REQUIEM is his first novel. As career kick-offs go, it's a field goal. It's too close to his real life, all the golf course stuff. But I didn't know that when I read it. The discovery of the corpses in the Mexican hovel is a great creepy moment. That seemed real to me. Not implausible at all, except to the extent that any crime of that sort is surreal. I think perhaps surreal is a better term for Ellroy's over-the-top elements rather than implausible. Agatha Christi is implausible. Ellroy is surreal. I know the implausible when I see it too, and I run into it less in Ellroy than in most other modern crime writers.

      Patrick King

      --- On Tue, 10/12/10, Juri Nummelin <> wrote:

      From: Juri Nummelin <>
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Still on early Ellroy
      Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 6:44 AM



      I think BROWN'S REQUIEM is an okay book, but it's too deep in the clich├ęs

      and stereotypes of the typical private eye novel, even though there are some

      moments in which Ellroy tries to go for something new. As for KILLER ON THE

      ROAD, I'm sorry to say I haven't read it.

      I was thinking mainly about the Lloyd Hopkins trilogy. Some of the books are

      better, but - the titles escape me and I can't bother to look them up -

      there's always the feeling Ellroy just wanted to go over the top. I don't

      the same feeling from the LA Quartet, even though the books are full with

      grizzly and grotesque stuff.

      I can't go into the discussion over implausibility in crime fiction. Suffice

      to say: I know it when I see one.


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