February’s book for Literature to Film Club is a piece by James Ellroy titled L.A. Confidential. Oh the memories… Back in 1997, when the film adaptation was first released in theaters, I was visiting the campus of North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina) and ended up going to the midnight showing. Absolutely loved it. IMDb‘s reviewers gave the film 8.4/10 stars.
I am enjoying what I can only attempt to describe as staccato-style voice (definitely not mezzo staccato) and, of course, the storyline – sans racial slurs. It has been quite some time since I have picked up a piece of fiction like this as I prefer more artsy literature – perhaps since my Jeffery Deaver kick almost 10 years ago. Readers please be advised, the story contains lots of expletives and racial slurs. Arts Desk blog writer, Mike Riggs, described Ellroy in a blog titled “James Ellroy: Brilliant Author. Snappy Talker. Unchallenged Racist?” as having “professed a love of racist language.” The last line of the Publisher’s Weekly review (posted below) should also serve as an advisory: “… maniacal schemes make a compelling read for the stout of heart.”
Intellectual freedom. Censorship. Hmmmm…
Review from Publisher’s Weekly
“Ellroy’s ninth novel, set in 1950s Los Angeles, kicks off with a shoot-out between a rogue ex-cop and a band of gangsters fronted by a crooked police lieutenant. Close on the heels of this scene comes a jarring Christmas Day precinct house riot, in which drunk and rampaging cops viciously beat up a group of jailed Mexican hoodlums. But, as readers will quickly learn, these sudden sprees of violence, laced with evidence of police corruption, are only teasers for the grisly events and pathos that follow this intricate police procedural. Picking up where The Black Dahlia and The Big Nowhere left off, the book tracks the intertwining paths of the three flawed and ambitious cops who emerge from the “Bloody Christmas” affair. Dope peddling, prostitution, and other risky business are revealed as the tightly wound plot untangles. Ellroy’s disdain for Hollywood tinsel is evident at every turn; even the most noble of the characters here are relentlessly sleazy. But their grueling, sometimes maniacal schemes make a compelling read for the stout of heart.”
“1950’s Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.” –Greg Bole