February 08, 2008

Books: The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy

Part of the LA Quartet, The Big Nowhere is set in Los Angeles in 1950 ~ a world of Hollywood sleaze, corrupt police, influential gangsters and the communist purges. Against this backdrop wee have a young cop hoping to make his name cracking a series of gay killings; a member of the D.A.'s office trying to climb the ladder on the red purge; and an ex-cop-cum now working as pimp to Howard Hughes who will take on any kind of work for a fast buck. The three are drawn together in a web of deceit and corruption as they each pursue their goals.

However this is more than just a straightforward crime novel. It is a masterful recreation of an era gone by with an insightful look at the society of the day. The characterisation is superb and Ellroy has a good grasp of the period vernacular, meaning that it is easy to lose yourself in the pages. Totally unputdownable.

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