Read Los Angeles strettamente riservato by James Ellroy Carlo Oliva Online

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Tre uomini di legge, tre poliziotti. Ognuno di essi è ossessionato da un incubo, da un segreto. Presto si ritrovano in una spirale di violenza, in un dramma che mette a dura prova lealtà e coraggio, che non dà spazio alla pietà, che non garantisce salvezza....

Title : Los Angeles strettamente riservato
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788804368120
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 378 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Los Angeles strettamente riservato Reviews

  • Dan Schwent
    2018-11-04 14:39

    In the aftermath of the Bloody Christmas, the lives of three cops are forever entwined; Ed Exley, the by the book cop who is forever in his father's shadow, glory hound Jack Vincennes, and Bud White, the man forever avenging his dead mother. After six people are killed in the Nite Owl Massacre, can the three men co-exist working the same case or will they all go down in flames?L.A. Confidential is an epic crime tale spanning nearly a decade, a tale of corruption, greed, drugs, pornography, and murder upon murder upon murder. In many ways, it's The Big Nowhere 2.0. Ellroy once again uses the hell's trinity of three cops with varying degrees of dirtiness to explore Hollywood's filthy and infected underbelly.The story started simply enough. A bunch of cops got tanked at a Christmas party and beat the shit out of some prisoners. Ed Exley snitched, setting the tone for most of the rest of his role in the book, that of an overgrown kiss ass hall monitor. Well, that's unfair, I guess. He's a pretty good detective for a daddy's boy rat. As with previous Ellroy affairs, two of the cops are pretty dirty. Jack Vincennes sells dirt to tabloids and Bud White's a heavy handed guy with a never ending beef with wifebeaters.Once the Nite Owl Massacre hits and the smut magazines rear their creepy masked heads, Ellroy shows just how dirty cops can be, with lots of withholding evidence and backstabbing. The three leads prove themselves to be multi-faceted characters, all three with likeable and deplorable traits. Structurally, it's very similar to The Big Nowhere, only richer, more nuanced, and grimier. James Ellroy's Los Angeles is a cesspool with a thousand decaying corpses bobbing just beneath the surface.I had a feeling who the mastermind was but was in the dark about a lot of the rest of the dirty deed doers until the trinity finally got on the same page just before the pages were torn out for good. For most of the book, I was happy to be on Ellroy's sightseeing tour of Hollywood hell. His punchy use of language was something to behold, a machine gun of poetic yet brutal short sentences.The ending was pretty hard. I knew the ending would be rough, considering the previous two books in the LA Quartet, but this one was a bloody train wreck. There were some great character moments in the final pages and it's left me ravenous for White Jazz.I guess I can finally join the nearly 20 year old party and see the movie now. Five out of five stars.

  • Kemper
    2018-10-18 15:40

    We’ve all heard of the Good-Cop/Bad-Cop routine, but when you read a James Ellroy novel it’s more like Bad-Cop/Worse-Cop/Crimes-Against-Humanity-Cop.This third installment in the L.A. Quartet introduces us to another trio of police officers who wouldn't last ten minutes on the job if there were smart phones in the 1950s which could have recorded their many misdeeds. Ed Exley is a brilliant detective, but his physical cowardice is exceeded only by his ruthless ambition. Bud White is a thug who never met a suspect he couldn’t beat into talking, and he’s got a special hatred reserved for men who hurt women. Jack Vincennes has gone Hollywood with a side gig as the technical advisor for a TV cop show, and his reputation as a relentless narco officer is mainly due to him taking payoffs from a scandal rag to arrest movie stars to create juicy stories.The three cops end up involved in a police brutality scandal dubbed Bloody Christmas which leads to drastic changes of fortune for each of them. Then a shocking mass murder in a coffee shop in an apparent robbery gone wrong draws all of them into the orbit of the investigation. Driven by their obsessions and haunted by secrets all of them will follow separate trails through a tangled web of pornography, drugs, prostitution, rape, and murder. Ellroy had used similar elements of historical fiction that combines the seedy history of L.A. with his own epic crime stories in previous books, but I think this is where he perfected the idea and really soared with it. It’s the first time he fully deployed a unique style that is essentially a stream of consciousness that shifts among the three leads that uses clipped sentences to form a patter that makes everything feel more as if it’s being experienced instead of a narrative you’re reading.The main appeal for me is the three main characters. These are not nice guys. They are utterly amoral and unrepentant racists who cause an enormous amount of damage in pursuit of their own agendas. What saves them (And this is what usually redeems Ellroy’s characters.) is their ultimate realizations that they’re pawns being used by a system that is far more criminal and corrupt than anything they’ve done, and that they’re willing to destroy themselves and everything around them in bids for redemption.This is a brutal, vicious crime novel filled with shocking acts of violence and offensive language. It’s also an extremely complex and dense book with multiple confusing sub-plots spinning off the main Nite Owl story. I’ve read it multiple times, and I’d still be hard pressed to explain everything that happens and why. Despite all of that it remains among my favorite novels because it is such a bold attempt to do something different that is mostly successful. I also credit the movie as being one of the best adaptations of a book I’ve seen. There’s only about 40% of the plot from the page on the screen, but they did a masterful job of combining and condensing elements while preserving the essential feel of the book and smartly keeping the focus on its three flawed main characters.

  • Richard
    2018-10-24 23:03

    L.A. Confidential feels like the book that James Ellroy has been preparing for and working up to during his entire career up to this point. He takes all of the themes he explored in previous novels and packs them into a book that's an even larger, more epic tale of crime, perversion, and Hollywood corruption than any of his previous books. L.A. Confidential tells the story of three LAPD officers who are initially at odds with one another after the infamous Bloody Christmas police brutality scandal and once again cross paths after a bloody massacre at the Nite Owl coffee shop in Hollywood. At first, each of them are involved in separate investigations. Slowly these mysteries all seem to connect to the Nite Owl in some way and ultimately, the men must learn to put their differences aside as they realize that they are neck deep in a scandal bigger than anything they could've imagined, one that goes beyond the Nite Owl Massacre, one that involves filth porn, heroin, tabloid extortion, a popular kid's theme park (Disneyland anyone?), and high-class whores cut to look like movie stars.I mentioned before that the novel is even more epic than the previous ones in the L.A. Quartet, but is so huge that it's hard to keep track of at times, which makes for a slower read than the more focused stories in The Black Dahlia and The Big Nowhere. It has the most complicated mystery and conspiracy that I've ever read, so complicated that it seems to involve ever person living in L.A. County, and even the characters sometimes have to create graphs to keep track of everything. But no one could've wrangled all of these threads into something coherent other than author James Ellroy, showing his tremendous skill as a writer. And this is the novel where he begins his experimentation with his writing style, moving toward the clipped, manic, jazzy prose that he uses in later novels. Here, in order to cut down on page-count in order to get published, he cut out all unnecessary words.As usual, the characters in this were fascinating, strong men with weaknesses and dark secrets, who through their investigation, seek something close to redemption. Edmund Exley is a young officer living under his father's shadow and a war hero reputation based on a lie, and who is an ambitious, by-the-book, do-gooder who believes in the pursuit of absolute justice and willing to rat out his fellow officers and be hated by everyone to move up in the department. Wendell "Bud" White is a bruising, hard boiled cop, haunted by witnessing the violent murder of his mother by his father, and takes it out on woman beaters that he arrests. He hates the fact that he's seen as lacking the intelligence to be a good detective and only good with his fists, and he becomes obsessed with privately investigating a string of hooker murders. And finally there's "Trashcan" Jack Vincennes, a Narcotics officer with his own skeletons in his closet, who's dead set on arresting drug users, but more importantly, he strives for Hollywood stardom, consulting on a hit cop show, rousts celebrity druggies, and gives exclusive dirt to tabloid writer Sid Hudgens and his Hush Hush scandal mag in exchange for cash, article write-ups, and a photo op. He begins investigating the production of porno picture books, and we realize that Trashcan Jack might also have an unhealthy obsession with what's between the pages of the books that he finds. The way that each story evolves and interconnects is truly something to behold! This book has enough story for 5 novels, but somehow it's told in about 500 pages. How that's even possible is beyond me...The movie based on this book is one of my top five favorites, and reading this novel made me appreciate it even more. I've realized it's probably the best movie adaptation of a book to date. How it takes this loaded story that could be adapted into a 10-part miniseries, and successfully converts it into an exciting and engaging 2 hour, 20 minute movie is a feat that really should be recognized. Obviously the movie is missing lots of the story from the book, but the movie really stands on it's own, and skillfully combines multiple characters and creates new scenes and themes that still works to tell the story in an effective way. Although it's sadly missing much of Jack Vincennes's intriguing storyline, it introduces new backstory elements that I wish were in the book (Rollo Tomasi), strengthens the Bud and Exley dynamic, and makes Lynn Bracken an even stronger character. The fact that the movie is at times even better than the book and can stand on it's own really says something about the adaptation. I would suggest both seeing the movie and reading the book, as there is something to be gained by both.James Ellroy is quickly becoming one of my favorites and I can't wait to soon read White Jazz and his other books. Anyway Dear Reader, that's all the dirt that's fit to print. And you heard it here first, off-the-record, on the QT, and very Hush Hush.

  • Cathy DuPont
    2018-10-26 14:47

    1) Yes, this was excellent.2) Yes, this was hard-boiled.3) Yes, this had confusing storylines.4) Yes, this book needed a list of characters (unless you have an incredible memory.) 5) Yes, I wanted to give this book a solid five stars. I have been wanting to read this great book for years, then when I saw I had 10 friends who read it, it became a must read now. Of those 10 friends, five gave it four stars and five five stars, so I knew it was great. Ellroy wrote The Black Dahalia which I loved, giving it five stars and I fully expected this book to live up to my five star expectation. However, I found the characters very confusing. I wondered, how does Ellroy expect the reader to remember John Doe who was mentioned on page 25, then repeated again on page 158? So who is John Doe? Then begin flipping back the pages to see when he was mentioned. Although the storyline was about the Night Owl massacre of six people in an all night coffee shop, there were multiple storylines revolving around that event. There are three main characters and they weave back and forth...good, yes, he's a good guy then hell no, he's a bad guy. So, in my mind there are no clear cut good guy/bad guys in the entire book. And that is not a complaint but if you need a clear delineation of good/bad guys, it's not here. Needless to say, this is no pansy ass book with warm and fuzzies. It's dark, pitch black dark and that's why it's called noir. A great word for this book.I still wish that Goodreads would allow us readers to give half stars but no. Changes in GR, as we all know, but not there. With that said, I would give this one three and a half, but I do round up so I'm tipping the scale of my circle of friends with six now giving it four stars and five reviewers, five stars. No, it didn't amaze me. Hopefully, the next Ellroy will. I'm expecting it but will begin my list of characters on page one like I should have done here. hint, hint

  •  amapola
    2018-11-04 15:41

    Rollo TommasiBisogna essere in perfetta forma per leggere questo libro: occhi, cuore, cervello, fiato, nervi, fegato, stomaco. Ambientato nella Los Angeles degli anni ’50, è un romanzo intricatissimo, con una trama principale e decine di sottotrame che si intersecano, con tre protagonisti e una miriade di comprimari (poliziotti, gangster, divi del cinema, giornalisti, puttane, spacciatori, ecc.). Non affezionatevi troppo a qualcuno di loro, potrebbe essere fatto fuori una decina di pagine più in là.Come Ellroy abbia potuto concepire una trama così ingarbugliata, dominandola alla perfezione dall’inizio alla fine senza perdere il bandolo della matassa e riuscire a realizzarla mantenendo il ritmo della narrazione sempre al massimo, per me è sbalorditivo.Poi verranno anche “American Tabloid”, “I miei luoghi oscuri”, “Sei pezzi da mille”, ma questo rimane a tutti gli effetti il mio Ellroy preferito. Geniale!Molto bello anche il film di Curtis Hanson.https://youtu.be/ZE8NFujbeic

  • Darwin8u
    2018-10-21 18:46

    "Whatever you desire.""...safe passage for ruthless men in love."Like Fight Club, 'L.A. Confidential' is one of those contemporary novels that provides a certain literary difficulty for readers who come to it AFTER the film dropped because the directors (David Fincher, Curtis Hanson) created such large, iconic images out of the novels. L.A. Confidential's major characters are all very similar to the movie, but there are some major omissions and changes made in the movie that keep Elloroy's urtext both novel and different enough, to warrant your buck and your time.Ellroy is a modern master of the slow build, the dark, back motives, the inevitable bloodbath. I think of the image of three big waves cresting together when I think of Edmund "Ed" Exley, Wendell "Bud" White, John "Jack" Vincennes, and their personal demons, all coming together to exact justice, each for their own reasons and with their own baggage and agendas. Anyway, it was all deftly done. The novel also contains many of the usual Ellroy tropes: pornography, children haunted by the actions of their parents, prostitutes, vice-in-general, the mob, corrupt cops, heroic cops with fatal flaws, femme fatales, queers, shrinks, plastic surgery, and a dark undercurrent that cuts thorough the heart of both L.A. and Hollywood. The world Ellory paints is dark, harsh, and often perverse. It isn't a place you want to raise a family or even walk a dog.

  • Kasia
    2018-11-11 22:45

    The never-ending parade of homogenous macho cops; the weak, dependable women - perfect victims for any crime; the overwhelmingly complex story line, sub-plot within sub-plot, twist upon twist - all that delivered in a flat, dry style. That's an Ellroy novel for you. I know that it's supposed to add up to this intricate, dark story interwoven with sex and violence and thus gripping, like nothing else. But I, frankly, was bored to death. The scheming was a tad too elaborate for my taste. After a while I stopped caring when yet another layer to the story was revealed; there's only so much dry plot that I can take. Plot on itself won't keep me on the edge for long. A list of names straight out of phonebook won't do it for me either. Violence and sex will keep me interested for a little while, but unless it's happening to a well fleshed-out character that too will eventually start to disappoint. And that's what happened. I've ended up being disappointed. I wanted to like this book, I loved the movie, and I do get the appeal of this gritty, brutal writing. But despite some enjoyable moments, getting through L.A. Confidential felt like a chore. So I cannot say that I liked it. Hence the 2 star rating.

  • Steve
    2018-10-19 14:46

    I had seen the superb movie many times (it's in my top five) before reading this book, and wondered how the two would compare. Ellroy's novel is also superb, and in some ways the movie reads directly from it (much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim) but there are huge differences. Fit into a couple hours and what feels like a year's worth of time, the movie is much more concise. The book is far more sprawling, taking place over almost a decade, connecting to both the prequel (The Big Nowhere, outstanding) and sequel (White Jazz, which is up next). The screenwriters did a fine job capturing the essence of the book while truncating the plot.The book is far more involved, with more seamy threads, the plot much more byzantine. I was having a tough time figuring out how the evil scheme tied together, but Ellroy does a surprisingly good job of tying it together in a short time at the end, so read closely and stick with it. The details and threads are there to allow an observant reader to tie it together. The book's larger scope lets the three main characters get more face time and more depth. Not to slight Guy Pearce's fine performance, but Ed Exley is a whole new level of fascinating here. Jack Vincennes isn't the super-slick hepcat that Kevin Spacey memorably embodied. Bud White is far less restrained than Russell Crowe made him. The actors who played smaller roles in the movie (James Cromwell, Danny Devito, and David Straithairn) were dead on.Ellroy's prose is a thing of beauty, with its raw expose of violence and corruption and 50s slang. While the movie was chock-full of badness, it didn't come close to the book. For those unfamiliar with the author: putting it mildly, he doesn't have a good opinion of human nature. No nice guys (or gals) here at all: everyone is broken and disturbed to some extent. If you like down and dirty crime fiction or film noir at all, this is the book for you. The movie, too.

  • Nate
    2018-10-27 16:05

    Since at least The Black Dahlia Ellroy has been kicking at the walls to the crime genre with a gleeful gleam in his eye, going for more and more setting, characters, scope and layers upon layers of plot as well as honing and shaping his prose into something more quick and lethal. The Big Nowhere was a major step in this direction and by the prologue of this book the walls are shattered and Ellroy's off and running with his sprawling vision of L.A. from '50 to '58 and an utterly complex series of intertwining stories. Honestly, I thought Big Nowhere was a maze but this shit knocked me on my ass a handful of times with its utter lack of sympathy for my fuzzyheadedness. Sure, the number of crimes and mysteries the protagonists face (and perpetrate) are grimly fascinating, but there's also a tremendous focus on the characters that inhabit Ellroy's L.A. netherworld. It is for these reasons that I call James Ellroy out as a full-blooded writer of historical fiction, not just crime or mystery!We stick with the three-character setup of the preceding book; again, all three are cops and they're even more interesting and complex than the previous three. We have Bud White, an angry, violent thug of a police officer with a fixation on wife-beaters; Ed Exley, a goody two-shoes rich boy Captain America type; and Jack Vincennes, a greasy narc that courts Hollywood and the gossip mag Hush-Hush. Again, these dudes are interesting characters before they even start to do shit in the story! Ellroy has a gift for creating these unique wrong-side-of-the-tracks cop and criminal types and then just letting them react as they will to the varying circumstances thrown at them. You might not like ANY of these three dudes but I can almost promise you will want to keep turning the pages, watching them stumble ahead, set in their bad ways. Of course, the tertiary characters remain varied and interesting too, including the familiar Ellis Loew and Dudley Smith.So what is the book actually about? Well, like I said it covers eight years and pretty much everything major that happens in these characters' lives. There's some Big Nowhere followup, a police scandal, a brutal and mystifying mass murder, a gang rape case, a porn ring investigation and even a love story or two as well as probably eight or nine other smaller plots that may or may not have to do with each other. Ellroy fires all of this story at the reader like a full drum magazine from one of the era's famous Thompsons at a merciless pace and with a leaner, more staccato and brutal prose than the preceding books in the L.A. Quartet. Honestly, a lot of these sentences are boiled down to a noun and a verb or even just an adjective. The language of the preceding books stays musical, but it's more sharp and brutal--Ellroy might describe it as more Ornette Coleman than Stan Getz. Dude seems to love his jazz talk.The environment and setting continues to feel sharply realistic and lived-in, so much so that I could possibly even seeing readers more attuned to fantasy or again, historical fiction really getting into it. The locales are becoming familiar to even a non-L.A. resident like myself; the maze of the inner city, the sprawl of the hills and the void of the desert. Grauman's Chinese Theatre (pre-Mann's), the Pacific Dining Car and the Mocambo. A lot of the descriptive language has been hewn away but Ellroy's masterful hold of the era never lets the environment fall away from the reader for a second. By this point the setting functions as a wonderful living setting and even a kind of character in its own right. It's super grimy and completely seductive. You will probably feel like you need a psychic shower after a stroll through one of these stories. It's fun, but gross.I really love these books and am glad I found them, even if I am a bit wary that I have to leave the comforting world of crime soon for the confusing, harsh world of politics if I want to keep with Ellroy after White Jazz. They're pitch black and filled with bad people doing bad things, but they grab me and demand to be read like no other. They're consistently growing and challenging the reader in content and style. They resurrect a dead time like the best historical novels. I can't say enough good things about them! They're not for everyone, but everyone should give them a try, excluding the particularly sensitive. It's like... imagine if you were walking somewhere and took a shortcut through an alley, and came across a five or six-feet long object wrapped in a rug and dumped on the side of the wall. It's vaguely human-sized, smells horrible and is covered in flies. Do you look under the flap on the corner of the rug? Do you even consider looking? If so, these books are for you!That's right! If reading about corruption, sustained and blatant racism and homophobia, gruesome murder and/or sex crimes profoundly bothers you then yeah, you need to avoid Ellroy's shit like the plague. That's not to say that these books in any way condone or endorse these things, Ellroy self-identifies as a Lutheran moralist and the bad guys often get theirs...but if you wanna read a realistic, unflinching look at a merciless world of crime this kinda shit is gonna go down and this is the guy to tell you about it. I wanna see the movie now! It's one of my dad's favorites but I never paid attention, probably because even the movie's plot was too confusing to keep a dumbass kid like myself's focus. I'm kind of wondering how the hell someone would turn this twelve-headed hydra of a book into a concise two-hour movie...EDIT: I watched the movie last night. It was excellent. Obviously massively scaled down and cleaned up for the silver screen, but on the whole a great adaptation. I don't really wanna watch Black Dahlia, Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson are both attractive people but terrible actors. They need to make a Big Nowhere movie now.

  • Michael Hughes
    2018-10-30 19:02

    Ellroy excels at depicting a realistic picture of Los Angeles in the late 40s and early 50s in this novel. Corrupt LAPD officers, pornographers, and mobsters all make an appearance, with not a little gore and sex thrown in for good measure. A great neo-noir novel (published in 1990).

  • Leonard
    2018-11-02 15:39

    No redemption in James Ellroy’s L.A. ConfidentialMore corrupted cops, conniving DAs, ruthless gangsters, psychopathic killers. Less truth and even less justice in the City of the Angels. Welcome to the world of James Ellroy. More setups, more cover-ups, more fall guys, more hush-hushes. Likeable characters? Not in this novel. Heroes and good guys? Sure, plenty in the news (besides here at Hush-Hush). Just don’t look in the closet or underneath the carpet. Redemption? Only if you’ve been living under a rock. This is La La Land, Hollywood Land, Dream-a-Dreamland. LA City HallThe main event: Night Owl Shooting, 1824 Cherokee, 6 dead in food locker, gore, mutilations, blood two-feet deep. Spotted: purple ‘48-’50 Merc Coupe outside the shop. Make: three black young men discharging shotguns into the air in Griffith Park. Fall guys for a cover-up. Lieutenant Detective Ed Exley--ambitious, straight shooter, son of real estate magnate and former police detective--intends to solve the case, his meal ticket up the ladder to captain, then inspector. Eclipse his dead brother: competing with the dead, a sure loss, to seek his father’s approval, the great man who solved the famous Atherson case (hush-hush on the cover up). Never mind Ed faked his heroism during W.W.II to get a medal. Very hush-hush. Officer Wendell (Bud) White--speaks with his fists, speaks with fists again before speaking with his mouth, watched his father beat his mother to death while chained to a bed, then watched her rot--intends to solve a string of prostitute killings: his obsession, his search for redemption. If only his brain could react before his fists do. Not in this novel, not in Ellroy’s world.Sergeant Jack Vincennes aka Trashcan Jack--celebrity cop, self-interested, killed an innocent couple while on dope, but hush-hush--investigates the making and distribution of pornography. Sets up the D.A. for a scandal during a campaign so his friend wins the election, in exchange for favors. Feeds dirt to Hush-Hush for sin-sational news (thanks, Jack). DisneylandLikeable they aren’t, but colorful and struggling for their souls. And losing. In the end, they go to hell, literally or figuratively. You may want them redeemed, but remember, this is the world of James Ellroy. All the slurs against blacks, Mexicans and gays, all the blood and gore for realism, they could be too much. Sure, James Ellroy was building a canvass: pornography, prostitution, heroine trafficking, police extortion, political corruption--a dark portrait of the City of Angels in the 50’s. But the excesses can be a turnoff. What keeps the readers turning the pages? The plot, the plot, the plot. Multiple cases converge, involving the cast of criminals--cops, gangsters, production cast, psychopaths. Main plot and subplots interweave to form a tapestry of crime and sin and corruption and conspiracy. One of the most satisfying plots in a mystery/crime novel, complex enough to keep the reader from dosing.Just too bad about not having a shootout between Ed Exley and Bud White. The quick and the dead. Would’ve been the pivotal scene.James Ellroy (Photo: Mark Coggins)Still, all the details that’s fit to print, in a fast-paced writing style, minimalism to the Nth order. Yes, style, style, style, either you love it or you hate it. Or you love it but hate it. But it fits well with the plot and theme. And lad, even after Trashcan Jack kicks the bucket and Bud White becomes a cripple, your beloved Captain Dudley Smith is alive and well though he couldn’t become inspector. Containment. Contained. Wink, wink.Remember, dear reader: you heard it here first, off-the-record, on the Q.T., and very Hush Hush.

  • Ginny_1807
    2018-10-21 15:02

    Un atroce fatto di sangue al quale fa seguito una inarrestabile esplosione di violenza; un'indagine che tra alti e bassi si prolunga per circa otto anni; una vicenda torbida che ha contorte ramificazioni anche nel passato e una serie nutritissima di personaggi coinvolti in maniera più o meno diretta. La complessità della trama, tortuosa come l'insospettabile rete di connivenze e responsabilità che verranno gradatamente alla luce, si regge su un impianto narrativo di assoluto rigore. Nulla è lasciato al caso ed ogni più minuscolo tassello troverà infine la sua logica collocazione, in un clima di tensione via via crescente e in un sapiente intreccio tra fiction e realtà. Anche la prosa si fa potente strumento espressivo, passando da un registro più formale e articolato nelle parti denominate "Calendario" - che riportano atti d'ufficio, relazioni riservate o articoli di giornale - ad una forma sintetica, colloquiale e fortemente ellittica nel racconto vero e proprio dei fatti "dal vivo". Una scelta stilistica, quest'ultima, che asseconda con straordinaria efficacia la concitazione del ritmo narrativo, la fulmineità dell'azione e dei processi deduttivi, l'intensità delle emozioni. Le figure principali, nitidamente scolpite a tutto tondo nella loro forza, così come nella fragilità dei loro umani impulsi, si incuneano nel cuore del lettore come presenze vivide e reali, perché reale è il bivio in cui si trovano nell'eterna lotta tra bene e male. Una lotta senza eroi assoluti, ma costellata di piccoli grandi gesti di coraggio a contrastare l'allettamento e il predominio della corruzione e del crimine. Non esiste neppure una netta distinzione tra buoni e cattivi, in quanto si può essere grandi o meschini, leali o inaffidabili, nobili o sciagurati sia nel perseguire la giustizia che nel violarla. Così tre poliziotti che si servono della legge per motivi personali, spesso in feroce competizione tra loro, possono scoprire di avere in comune più di quanto loro stessi avrebbero mai immaginato; un agente rude e pieno di rabbia può rischiare la carriera e la vita per farsi paladino in difesa delle donne maltrattate; un delatore rampante e calcolatore può rivelare inattese doti di altruismo; e una prostituta somigliante a Veronica Lake rifiutare la soluzione più comoda e redditizia avventurandosi in un futuro incerto soltanto per amore. Si lasciano dietro una orrenda scia di sangue e ognuno porta in sé i segni del dolore, ma in ogni caso "giustizia assoluta" è fatta. Crudo, amaro, frenetico, inquietante, entusiasmante. Anche più del film di prim'ordine e dall'eccezionale cast che ne è stato tratto.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-10-31 21:59

    couldn't get past the racial epithets and cynicism about the human race. i read enough about such misery in headlines.

  • Roman Clodia
    2018-10-21 16:39

    So, my first Ellroy and I can say with certainly that I'll be back. Make no mistake, this is a raw, brutal and uncompromising tale of crime, corruption and conspiracies interspersed with some harsh morality and scenes of shocking violence (view spoiler)[ the waste disposal scene - oh my! (hide spoiler)]. Despite the length of the book, Ellroy's prose is so abbreviated, so fast-paced, that it propels us through the story at a breakneck speed: it has energy and velocity and a kind of dynamism about it; all show, no tell - if you're the kind of reader who wants your hand held by a narrator who tells you what's going on then Ellroy might not be for you - there's no exposition here, just scene after violent scene that builds up a picture of dirty deals, compromised police officers, abused women, betrayal, ambition, secrets and a search for some kind of redemption. The plot is convoluted and unrolls over an 8-year period but this book is as much about atmosphere and character as about the unravelling of a crime. There's a cynical, sceptical wit here too: the satirical take on Disneyland, the dark side of Hollywood, the interspersed extracts from the most prurient newspapers on a moral crusade which is based on uncovering as much dirt as possible. So a wonderfully sleazy, grimy, grubby, world with characters who come to morally-ambiguous life on the page: the noir-est of noir.

  • Gemma
    2018-10-15 19:50

    I can't do it. I hate the jivey style-- it tries too hard. It is a parody of itself. I know that white cops in the 50s were racist-- I get it-- but the racism is almost sadistic in this book. Like, did we really need all that detail? All those epithets? Really?Maybe I started reading this under false pretenses. I was like "Old Hollywood! True crime! Pavement-pounding cops!" I love the idea of L.A. in the 50s, the seedy underbelly of all that glamor. I love crime writing, I love portraits of killers, and investigations of motive. But... I do not like this book. It's more about racist, lonely cops and less about Humanity, or Murder Itself, or even The Glamorous Lifestyle And How It Can Lead to Being Crazy. I gave it 100 pages, and I am not reading the rest. Sorry, Ellroy.

  • Orsodimondo
    2018-10-18 19:49

    Goduto molto. Come pure l'ottimo film che ha lanciato quell'attore sopravvalutato che è Russell Crowe.

  • K Kamath
    2018-10-17 15:52

    The fiction I can think of, short-stories and novels, which is worse in prose than rendered on the screen includes, The Godfather, LA Confidential, The Duellists, possibly Ben-Hur. To Have and Have Not offers a case where the film shares the same title as the novella but is just different. One could argue that is true a lot, most movies are different from the literary sources, but to leave the thinking only that far would be a sign of mental laziness, a common condition among our contemporaries. A bad piece of fiction in writing can become a great movie, the way a silly story set to great music turns into an opera and becomes an entertainment far better than its libretto. The movie "L.A. Confidential" is not only structurally better conceived and rendered than the book, but also is informed by a more integrated and mature mind, ironically, ironic because a movie is, of course, collaborative, while most novels come from the mind of one person. In this case the book is a rambling farrago in need of editing. There are whole sections which are irrelevant either to the art or to the creation of verisimilitude. They are not even entertaining. They are just a waste of words. Sections presented as police reports, news reports, headlines. In a tighter work, those might function a useful alternative to narrative, description, dialogue, but mostly in this book they are superfluous. The are hundreds of pages which re-hash the same details which come out later and are repeated in unskilled prose, crude dialogue, to no esthetic effect. This book is the epitome of a kind of semiliterate writing for an audience that likes to read words and let words pass indiscriminately through its mind, "A page turner." It's okay not to pay attention, eyes passing over the sentences, flipping, skipping, not knowing some words or following the sense of the ideas. It will come out again later. In addition to the use of devices which are not innovative or new and are handled clumsily like letters, reports, news articles, the sense of place and space and time is completely distorted. There is no operating principle behind the choice of one technique or another, and likewise no principle in the choice of whether the chapter breaks or the we stay with a character, or there's a break in the middle of the chapter, and the narrative of events in some places does not match any passage of actual time. An example of the last flaw, a character in Hollywood or downtown talks on the phone with another character in San Bernardino. One or two pages of dialog later, the distant character arrives at the station with a witness, and the only action in between is that short interrogation, a real-time bit of action which a reader understands. Phone call. Hang up. A conversation with no other time in between, no more than ten minutes, and suddenly the other guy on the phone is there. Even allowing for undescribed time, which is another noticeable reading experiential flaw, this would make a reader believe everywhere in the world is a short distance from everywhere else. Characters go from San Quentin to San Francisco back to LA in a time frame impossible even by private jet, and this is the 1950's, so it is noticeable and clearly just a case of an inept writer and an author with a sense of time and space verging on mental illness. At some points we get minutiae of thoughts and impressions, and then there's unrelated details as a character again rushes here, there, drives to Lake Arrowhead, no break in the chapter, no break on the page. It's as if the author is just writing and has no idea of the conventions of fiction he's using. This is a professional writer, a successful writer, and he is completely inept. The chapters break and we move around from character to character, place to place, and there are huge leaps in the book from year to year in sections so labeled, but also time passes in the middle of section suddenly as if the character we're with just blacked out and came back suddenly somewhere else, sometimes with breaks in the prose, sometimes not. Bud White is at house in Los Angeles as a neighbor is getting milk, and then is suddenly at the Lake Arrowhead arriving as Lynn Bracken is out walking and Ed Exley has returned to his Los Angeles office. Bud reads Lynn's diary, then calls Ed downtown. They must have passed on the road, a comedic notion. Then after another little break in the prose, Bud is back in Chinatown rousting a junkie musician. There are no connecting descriptions of the significant drive time. Whether the reader shares the impatience of the writer at those moments or not, the fictional time could be used to relate thoughts, feelings, etc., which are related in other places wastefully and without any concept of economy or even of coherent consciousness of character, psychology, flow of narrative events, you name it. Does the author believe readers share his interest in the stupid unnecessary sections which break up the flow of action and suspense for no apparent reason other than the author's whim? I don't think so. My impression is this guy is mentally ill and he just writes the way his readers read: Words on the page, sentences, look at me, I'm a writer, two more chapters before a do a line and jerk off to pornography. I think a lot of writers are like that. Which brings us to Ellroy's telling choices of content suggestive of an abnormal interest in certain sexual possibilities, of peculiar relationships, and his own twisted psychology stuck onto characters at random without any idea of unity. Characters as disintegrated as his own writing style. Motive and intention are veneer thin. Isn't this supposed to be a police thriller? A TV crime show has more coherent notions of personality and psychology. Stereotypes would be a step up for this guy. What fascinates me about this book, and The Godfather, is that other persons read it and extracted components to create something good in an even tighter narrative medium. I am also using the book to exercise my near vision. Too much computer time, reading too far away. To be just, it is not that a dreadful piece of writing lacks moments of impact. This horrid work has little bits which are moving. But if I were to go into the choices, the proclivities of the author's psyche for subjects and sideshows, there would be no doubt, this man just needs help. His work is perhaps best described as a cry for help, not a desire for accolades.

  • Steven Belanger
    2018-10-17 14:45

    In terms of perfection, I give this one a slight nod over The Black Dahlia, and the only reason I can give you is that I got that feeling as I was reading it. You just get this strong sensation that you are reading something great, something unique that will stand as the best of its type. Perhaps some of it is in retrospect, as I finished this long ago, and certainly the excellent movie helps the idea. (The movie is perhaps a classic of its type as well.)To give you an idea of how complex the plot is, the movie based on it was dumbed down in a severe way, and those I watched the movie with in the theatre said it was one of the more complicated films they'd ever seen. I don't know about that--Chinatown also seemed a bit convoluted to me--but these people were not morons by any means. The kitchen scene with Spacey and James Cromwell was too simplistic for me, but what else can you do to get the Rollo Tomassi thing out there? The plot as in the book certainly had to get watered down. No complaints here about that, and I usually will harp on that.And casting James Cromwell, the farmer from the (very good) talking-pig movie Babe, was inspired casting.Ellroy's other books pale in comparison to L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia, but in this genre, whose wouldn't? Though it is slightly disturbing to admit that his writing was more...energetic, lucid, inspired, and, yet, fluent...while he was spiraling out of control. Life inspires art, right?

  • Lauren
    2018-10-31 18:54

    L.A. Confidential begins by clearing away any hope you had left after the end of The Big Nowhere. Then Ellroy rubs his hands together and really gets going, with this shaggy, incredible novel of justice, violence, politicking, and redemption.Our LAPD trio here is Edmund "Ed" Exley, Wendell "Bud" White, and "Trashcan" Jack Vincennes. Vincennes is a consultant for the upright TV show Badge of Honor and the darling boy of Hush-Hush magazine, but even though he makes frequent appearances as a heroic cop righteously busting "hopheads," he's not all on the up-and-up, and certainly not all free and clear. The drug busts are motivated in part by his own past addiction, which led to a catastrophic mistake--that Hush-Hush editor Sid Hudgens may know about, meaning Jack never feels like he can say no to any requests for a photo-op bust. Bud White is honorable but rough. He's been able to direct most of his violence towards battering men who batter women, but Dudley Smith, knowing a good set of fists when he sees them, would like to promote him to bigger and more unsavory business. Bud, though, is starting to chafe at never being allowed to use his brain. Ed Exley is the son of cop-turned-millionaire-developer Preston Exley and the brother of fallen-in-the-line-of-duty Thomas Exley, and he's determined to make a name for himself as a brilliant, ruthless pursuer of "absolute justice." He wants to prove himself, and his morality falls, oh, just slightly behind his ambition to make his rise and make it fast. He's a mid-century cop Machiavelli who would definitely tell you it's better to be feared than to be loved.The plot spans years, beginning with the real Bloody Christmas and the fictional Nite Owl murders, and encompassing prostitution, pornography, gang rape, Totally Not Disneyland, Mickey Cohen, gangland power vacuums, Dudley Smith's ruthless corruption, Ellis Loew's political maneuvering, and more, and like a lot of Ellroy, it excels at piling complications on and on and then actually sorting them out in a logical and emotionally satisfying way. (When I think about how hard it must have been to manage that, I'm not at all surprised that Ellroy legendarily developed his telegraphic prose style here in part because he was asked to make cuts and couldn't trim out scenes and so cut individual words instead--everything here feels inseparably tied to everything else.) There's also that same feel of history-as-Gothic, where the past just won't leave the present alone, and secrets can go back generations and even be hidden in the landscape itself because, per American Tabloid, "America was never innocent."The book's heart, though, is made up of the rises and falls of its three leads and the enormous cast swirling around them. It's Mickey Cohen sitting in a cushy prison and seeing his empire fade, it's recovering addicts succumbing almost incidentally to the desire for another hit and another drink, it's Bud White taking criminology classes, it's marriages and affairs, it's the inexorable force of Ed Exley's career. Ellroy knows the pathos of every fall and the cost of every rise (the last two lines of this book are a perfect account of that cost). The result is a genuine American epic.Before I get into spoilers, I'll just add: also, the movie is incredible (and very different) and one of my favorites.(view spoiler)[* Russ Millard dying of a heart attack after being set up to take the fall for the Nite Owl suspects escaping is an absolute gut-punch of a moment if you've read The Black Dahlia: it feels like you just got a throwaway line about the death of decency. He gets a nice moment here, too, in writing a fair, evenhanded assessment of Jack's tenure in Ad Vice.* RIP Buzz Meeks, who didn't even get to not get "done slow" at Mickey Cohen's own hand.* A lesser novel would have had Exley Learning to Love and Discarding His Ambitions, and I love that Ellroy has him forging genuine connections (one of his best moments is when he's not even on the page, it's when Karen writes the letter to Jack and tells him that Exley knows the worst of him and doesn't care anymore than she does, and that "he's not as bad as [Jack] said he was") without abandoning his pragmatic, unstoppable rise. In fact, his absolute worst moment comes when he lets emotion overrule his normal chilliness--when his bottled-up anger over being perceived as a "sissy" and his frustration over Inez's preference for Bud and his retributive violence towards the men who hurt her explodes at the worst possible moment, and he shoots the unarmed, surrendering Nite Owl suspects, in a moment that certainly hasn't lost any horrific plausibility over the years.* Jack's obsession with the Fleur-de-Lis pornography feels very reminiscent of The Black Dahlia, especially as he starts trying to recreate it. Similarly, Inez revealing to Exley that she lied to him about her rapists' alibis on the night of the Nite Owl Massacre, and so taking away the consolation that he'd killed the "right" men, reminded me of Mal's ex in The Big Nowhere yanking the rug out from underneath him about the man he killed for her.* I like that you hit a point in the Dieterling strand of the plot where it becomes, "Oh, okay. That's why he wasn't just using Walt Disney." I'd imagine the Disney estate is more litigious than Howard Hughes's, Jack Kennedy's, or J. Edgar Hoover's, but I like that in a series filled with real-life personages, the name change here acts almost as subtle foreshadowing that there's more to Totally Not Walt Disney than meets the eye.* Some great lines in the epilogue: “Some men get the world, some men get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona. You're in with the former, but my God I don't envy the blood on your conscience.” And, of course, "Gold stars. Alone with his dead." (The image of Exley running alongside Bud and Lynn's car, his hand on Bud's through the glass, is also beautiful and heart-wrenching.) (hide spoiler)]

  • Michael
    2018-10-19 19:54

    I remember the movie from a while ago, and I do enjoy a good James Ellroy novel, so I was excited to read LA Confidential. To my surprised this book seems a bit all over the place, more so than usual and at times I struggled to keep up with what is happening. I know Ellroy likes to have a lot happening at his complex plots do come together but I did feel like it was a bit too much like a chore to keep up in this book. LA Confidential is about organized crime, politics, corruption, drugs, pornography, prostitution, racism and like other books in the LA Quartet series, it is centred around a real crime; this time it’s the Bloody Christmas scandal. It’s an interesting technic Ellroy uses; true crime as the bases of his novels. I always enjoy reading his novels, but sometimes I think he goes over the top with the racism and the abuse towards homosexuals; I know and understand it was a sign of the times, but sometimes I wish it was just toned down a little, it doesn’t seem necessary. One think I did find interesting, is the use of Mickey Cohen in the book, and the more I read about this gangster the more I think Patrick Fischler was just a perfect choice for him in the game L.A. Noire.While I think the three protagonists was a good way to do a complex storyline, I did feel lost at times. I would recommend the Black Dahlia as a better choice for someone new to Ellroy. After reading this book, I sat down and rewatched the movie. I’m pleased that the movie did do the book justice and I’m pleased to have read this book. I can’t wait to read more.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-20 18:46

    It should be noted this is a genre book, that the dark and twisted streets here aren't for everyone. If as a child you weren't willing to poke corpses with a stick or pick up rocks to watch the squirming, seething masses of insects swarm - maybe you should pass on Ellroy.Darker than dark, Ellroy's noir makes other noir books look like silver in comparison. He's true to his era - go watch some movies from the 50s if you don't agree. I'll wait. See how the slang was different? Yeah, that happens.As a fan of minimalism, I didn't find the sentence structure choppy at all. Like the faux magazine inserts put into the pages, like the catchphrase for Dragnet (the TV show that Badge of Honor so brilliantly spoofs) - just the facts, ma'am.Some writers ask their readers to take a certain amount of responsibility while they read their books. You're following their car, and they assume you're smart enough and fast enough to keep up. And if you're not, you probably shouldn't be on this ride. There's taxi services you can call. So yes, if you don't want to keep up with a web as tangled as any spider's, this book isn't for you. But if you want to go on the adventure with him (I took notes while I read and made my own outline) - Ellroy will make sure that he swings past some of the darker scenery while he shows you around LA.

  • Serena.. Sery-ously?
    2018-11-05 18:06

    Mi chiedo sinceramente come possa aver letto questo libro solo a 25 anni compiuti..L.A. Confidential è un pilastro. Punto.Uno di quei pilastri che TUTTI dovrebbero leggere, non so se rendo.. Crudo, cattivo, scorretto, impietoso ma intelligente, adrenalico e CAVOLI se è un "OMG"!. Nota di grande biasimo per il traduttore che spero stia passando il resto della sua vita a Guantanamo per crimini contro l'umanità, perché se avessi voluto un libro tradotto come avrebbe potuto fare un cane usando google translate.. Lo avrei fatto, grazie. Non so sinceramente come la gente non si vergogni a presentare un lavoro simile.. "Sugar ti prendeva in giro perché sei un culo"... Sei un culo? Ma seriamente? Cioè, "You are an ass" me lo traduci alla Google translate? -__-

  • Ffiamma
    2018-10-21 18:52

    imponente e ambizioso, nella struttura: trame e sottotrame, storie intricatissime che s'intrecciano e si ricongiungono nel finale che risolve ogni interrogativo e chiude il cerchio. personaggi che sono, allo stesso tempo, archetipici e vivi: poliziotti corrotti, gangster, spacciatori di qualunque cosa e sostanza, prostitute (nessuno è come sembra, poi- e questo li rende umani). impianto narrativo d'altri tempi ma stile da romanzo di genere- ecco il voto appena più basso di quel che dovrebbe essere. ottima lettura, in ogni caso.

  • Aries
    2018-10-15 22:59

    Aneddoto: tanti, tantissimi anni fa, quando ancora non avevo quasi mai letto thriller, mi fu regalato "Io uccido" di Faletti. Mi piacque molto e mi colpì soprattutto lo stile. Quando, tempo dopo, iniziai a leggere Deaver mi resi conto che quello stile che avevo trovato così nuovo e interessante era, in realtà, derivato (con una perdita nel processo, c'è da dirlo) proprio dal buon Jeffery; Faletti (che era anche amico di Deaver) era figlio dello stile e della narrazione dell'autore statunitense.Bene, la sensazione che si ha leggendo L.A. Confidential è esattamente la stessa se sostituiamo a "thriller" "noir/hard-boiled", a Deaver James Ellory e a Faletti una buona parte degli autori che sono venuti dopo.Non mi ero mai avvicinato a Ellroy, per me è sempre stato uno di quegli autori famosi, rinomati, adorati dai suoi lettori a cui prima o poi avrei dato una possibilità, possibilità che è giunta ora nella forma di L.A. Confidential.La prima impressione (che richiama quanto detto sopra) è che probabilmente su un'enciclopedia, alla voce "hard-boiled" dovrebbe comparire la foto di Ellroy: è il suo stile che ha posto le nuove basi per il genere, le ambientazioni, il modo di narrare secco e diretto, le immagini forti trasmesse senza un eccesso di descrizioni eppure vivide.Colpisce per immediatezza ed efficacia, così come colpiscono i suoi personaggi. Il bianco e il nero non esistono. Esistono grigi chiari, scuri, ma solo tanti, infiniti grigi che cambiano tonalità durante lo svolgimento della vicenda e degli anni che copre: ci si può trovare a detestare un personaggio, a disprezzarlo e poi a fare il tifo per lui oppure, all'inverso, a provare empatia per un altro finché non rivela i suoi lati peggiori. Come nella vita reale, no?E come nella vita reale la quantità di personaggi che si susseguono è impressionante e molti appaiono per sparire poco dopo o, magari, ricomparire centinaia di pagine (e/o diversi anni) dopo.Il risultato è per certi versi caotico, non posso negarlo: abituati come siamo a seguire pochi personaggi, ricordarne le caratteristiche, affezionarci o odiarli e, spesso, a non scoprire il nome dei secondari, qui si ha quasi un eccesso di informazioni; tanti nomi, viene da dire istintivamente troppi nomi, arrivano e inizialmente si cerca di dare loro il posto a cui siamo soliti: poi si impara e si capisce che con questo romanzo (e, immagino, con Ellroy) non è possibile, non funziona così. Le informazioni arrivano e vanno fatte scorrere, quelle importanti da ricordare rimarranno, le altre diventeranno una cornice, un sottofondo, un ingrediente speziato per la vicenda principale.E la vicenda principale, quella, vi rimarrà: nella sua complessità, nei suoi colpi di scena, nella meticolosità degli incastri adeguatamente costruiti ma, soprattutto, nella sua realtà.Se, come me, non lo conoscevate e avete voglia di fare un viaggio sporco, difficile, appiccicoso, violento e amaro nella Los Angeles degli anni '50, fatelo senza dubbi. Io, di certo, tornerò prima o poi in quel mondo.

  • Scott Sigler
    2018-11-13 15:45

    I loved this book. I'm probably going to mainline the rest of the series in short order. Ellroy's writing style is fantastic: concise and punchy, with only the bare minimum words needed to communicate the message. I've never read anything quite like it, and it's already had an impact on my writing style. Why only four stars? I'm not a big reader of the crime genre, and I wasn't prepared for the density and intricacy of this plot. Honestly, I had only a general idea of what was going on most of the time. If you are the kind of person that can keep straight an avalanche of facts and retain that knowledge for as long as it takes you to get through this book, you probably won't have that issue. My scatterbrain couldn't keep up with the massive amount of characters, subplots, and contrivances to bring it all together at the end.I actually listened to the abridged audiobook first by mistake. AVOID THIS LIKE THE PLAGUE! THE ABRIDGED VERSION OF LA CONFIDENTIAL IS THE WORST BOOK OF ALL TIME. They cut six hours out of a nine-hour book — you do the math. I then tracked down the full-length audio, which for some insane reason isn't available on Audible or iTunes. The full-length overwhelmed me, and in short order I understood why this book is a modern classic. The characters are fantastic. They are all a hot mess. The book doesn't translate that well to modern-day, though. It was hard to suspend my disbelief that cops could get away with the stuff they get away with in this book, but that's definitely part of the point: this is close to the way things used to be. Much of the book is an awful slap in the face to the concept of the "good old days" of America — they were only good for some people.

  • Bruce Beckham
    2018-10-22 15:39

    Perhaps I've been reading too many Agatha Christies, but this one defeated me almost from the word go.Now I really enjoyed 'The Black Dahlia' by the same author, so I couldn't quite understand what my problem was with 'L.A. Confidential' - such a famous title, and all that.I thought I could deal with the 1950s west coast cop and narco jargon - though it comes at you like a hail of bullets - not easy for a Limey accustomed to bobbies armed strictly with truncheons and the occasional "Cor blimey". (Probably one to read on a Kindle, with a dictionary and Wiki to hand.)On reflection, however, it wasn't the strange lingo that did for me. I just went back over the first 15 pages and counted the names of characters that were mentioned. How many would you guess? Five? Ten? Fifteen? Surely not?No, because the answer is 40.Call me forgetful, but I hope you can understand why I lost the will to continue. (The death knell being a sneak preview of the page count: a whacking 480.)I used to run a little training session for budding copywriters, concerning effective headlines. This was based on a piece of well-founded research: learning declines when the number of words in a sentence exceeds 7.One bright spark pointed out that I ought to find a shorter way of expressing it! I agree.

  • Krok Zero
    2018-10-19 15:03

    I was debating between 3/5 or 4/5...I'd go with 3.5/5 if I could. But as good as Ellroy is, L.A. Confidential seems really structurally problematic to me. The plotting is insanely intricate, yes, which isn't really a demerit in itself. Ellroy is such a plot machinist that at times it is impossible to keep up with him. And I'm not entirely sure that he kept up with himself, in this case. But for most of the way I was happily trusting him and letting myself get swept up in the world of the story. Until...At a certain point the plotting basically forks into two branches. One of those branches is never, to my mind, satisfactorily resolved or explained, despite the twists that keep getting piled on. And the other branch is subjected to nothing but explanation, seems to exist only for the sake of a couple of long expository monologues. It's a juicy, satisfyingly Ellroyish sidebar--but why's it occupying the same book as the other stuff? There's so much plot here that none of it is entirely given its due, and the poignant character drama of The Black Dahlia is a distant memory.The earlier parts of the novel are as vivid, disturbing and engrossing as the best of Ellroy. But I think his desire to write the great epic of crime fiction caused him to overreach a bit.

  • Meghan
    2018-11-03 22:39

    Reading this made me appreciate just how good a job the screenwriters did when adapting it for film. Don't get me wrong, the book is good--suspenseful, expansive, a proper *big* novel--but it feels, particularly at the end, like everything including the bloodied kitchen sink has gone into it. Drugs? Check. Prostitution? Check. Child molesters, women haters, police corruption, organised crime, Los Angeles highway system? Cheeeeck. Also, a few of the characters feel like near-carbon copies of each other: Inez Soto and Lynn Bracken are nearly interchangeable, Ed Exley and Jack Vincennes are both defined by a terrible secret they've been concealing. It's a very enjoyable read, but once it's done, it's entertainment. It doesn't stick with me as speaking to the human condition--and that's fine, except I think Ellroy intended it to be more profound, and more lingering, than it is.

  • AndrewP
    2018-10-19 16:45

    The first thing that strikes you about this book is the writing style. The staccato, abbreviated language that Ellroy uses in this book takes some getting used to. But, it's perfect for this down and dirty noir story of LA cops in the 1950's. This is story of corruption, greed, extortion, pornography and murder (plus a whole lot more). I would not read this unless you are comfortable with the language that was commonplace in the 1950's. The first few pages alone pile on the racial and ethnic slurs to insult just about everyone. There were quite a few I had never heard before.Don't compare this with the movie. It's very different in style and of course much more complex. The length of the book and the convoluted story did get a bit wearing after a time, that's why I'm only giving this 4 stars instead of 5. There are a lot of characters and they are sometimes referred to by first name, sometimes by surname and sometimes by one, or more, nicknames. Quite a few times I had to re-read a page to figure out who was who.At double the length of most noir books this one took some work to get though, but in the end I'm glad I read it. It's a masterpiece of dirty, tough, period crime books.

  • Sean
    2018-10-24 19:05

    In my view one of only very few modern classics, a powerful, profane, terrifying yet often hilarious morality play, set against the most unique city in the world in its heyday. It uses much the same technique as American Tabloid in its use of 3 main characters and points of view who eventually rediscover a kind of skewed decency in a world of almost stupefying corruption. And in the end, most of the less culpable characters receive some satisfying justice in the shape of their own shame becoming to much for them, a much more realistic conclusion for me than the film of the same name. The fact Captain Smith and David Mertens/ Douglas Dieterling escape justice because the latter is insane and the former unwaveringly thinks he is morally correct to me is one of the starkest indictments of our morality and the brutal truth behind it ever attempted. It is an extremely unsettling thought, but unfortunately this scenario seems to play out daily in our society. Ellroy's feel for L.A is unrivalled in its scope and sense of style, and his realistic portrayals of love between damaged people and the moral consequences of making quick money any way possible create the perfect backdrop for this authentic and haunting tale of corruption and redemption in a city built entirely on dreams.