Brianna Heckman Heckman itibaren Lalpur, Chhattisgarh, Hindistan
love this series
Consistent with the rest of the Babymouse books, which is to say cute (but now Owly-cute), funny, and a fun title for kids.
It could be that this is the pinnacle, or near pinnacle, of the gothic crime novel, if that strange beast exists at all. Perhaps less stylistically innovative or weird than the more well-known LA Confidential, the tauter American Tabloid, and the nearly unclassifiable White Jazz, this novel is James Ellroy's attempt, I think, at fusing the kind of dread so evident in Poe with the "policier" -- and he succeeds beautifully, entertainingly, with more than a hint of the style that he would perfect in later books like LA Confidential. In essence this novel follows the trajectory of several corrupt policemen as they become involved in a murder at the height of postwar Los Angeles, just at 1949 turns into 1950. Their corruption is sexual, financial, and ideological (the Red Scare plays a large part in the plot), and fueled by the personal ambition of 3 main characters whose lives intersect: Danny Upshaw, a young, intelligent detective whose sense of justice is out of place in the cauldron Ellroy creates for him; Mal Considine, an ambitious Captain and conflicted figure just returned from the ruins of Germany; and Buz Meeks, a former cop whose has become a slave to his appetites. Over the course of the book, which in Ellroy's phrase tells the tale of the "legbreakers of history," a lively and compelling re-creation of Los Angeles as a kind of authoritarian dream is constructed — weaknesses are exploited, bones broken, teeth chipped to noisy squalls of jazz. We follow the 3 principals in a fever as they chase leads, argue, join forces, and wallow in their corruption during the search for the aptly named Wolverine (the killer who initiates the plot of the book). The story turns and churns, twisting to the breaking point by involving historical personages like Howard Hughes and Mickey Cohen, but always snaps back to the scramble for a killer. Ellroy handles the complex web commendably and the outlandish story is acceptable on its own terms, and utterly pleasurable. Some of the more interestingly drawn supporting characters include a sexually voracious heiress with Communist sympathies, a plastic surgeon (with the disconcerting habit of picking his fingernails with a scalpel) whose clients include movie stars and gangsters, and the absolute apotheosis of corruption, the smiling, blarney-slinging monster cop, Dudley Smith. Very highly recommended for those interested in good writing and a good story, or in crime fiction more specifically.