I don’t necessarily agree with the title, which comes from the famous exchange from season one of the TV show True Detective. But since it’s thematic of the three books I read recently, I decided to go with it. I hate coming up with titles.
Corruption City *****
A fun crime tale that should have been better. McCoy lays out a good story but halfway through, it’s like an editor reminded him it’s a pulp novel so he has to take shortcuts. Still an entertaining tale. McCoy might be my favorite of that particular hardboiled golden age. I always enjoy his books.
Blood on the Moon ***
Having worked my way through the essential James Ellroy texts, as well as his fascinating autobiography, I decided to go back to the near beginning. I was especially curious to read these after Tom Hanks expressed interest in developing them for the screen.
These are better read if you’re familiar with Ellroy’s oeuvre. I wouldn’t use them as a gateway. It would have been impossible for me to appreciate it had I not read “My Dark Places.” The dialogue is expository and needlessly loud, the prose is clunky and there’s almost no atmosphere. Yet the book hums with the manic energy of its writer. Ellroy didn’t know yet what he wanted to be; there’s a story here and it would be better told later in his career. In the meantime, while this is for completists, I still think it’s important to read in order to understand and appreciate the Demon Dog of Crime Fiction. Still, you would not come away from this book thinking that this man would some day become the genius who would write LA Confidential. You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, kids. Keep practicing.
L.A. Confidential *****
Still great. I reread it for an essay I’m working on featuring the book, the movie Chinatown, and the unwieldy power of white male masculinity in the Trump era.