THIS STORM

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James Ellroy


Short, sharp sentences. Each word weighed. Then bricked. Into the wall.

‘Demon Dog’ Ellroy sure can write. Think The Black Dahlia. Think L.A. Confidential. A Lucky burning down in an ashtray. A highball to guzzle. He’s still got his fedora on. Squinting over a typewriter. Clackety clack.

We’re in L.A. WWII has witnessed the indignity of Pearl Harbour. Japanese residents are being rounded up. Persecuted. Someone’s killing them. Someone’s killing cops. Someone’s selling drugs. Someone’s selling guns.

There’s a fifth column meeting somewhere. Nazi regalia. Soviet regalia.Positioning themselves for either side to win this damned war.

Look there, Chinese up to no good. Mexicans traffic human beings [and heroin]. Somewhere there’s gold.

There are women everywhere. Sex workers lurk in the background. Ruined wives in the middle distance [with a back story]. In the foreground, strong, intelligent, forceful women getting things done.

And it’s raining. And it’s night time.

Everybody’s in the shadows with an extra gun in a sock. And mostly, they’re cops. And they’ve all got a side hustle. And they’re all wrong. I took on This Storm as an antidote to reading stuff that was good for me. Well, that worked. A 600-page full frontal attack that kept me up late. Then I had to read ten pages back just to get a grip on the deluge before climbing back on.

This is a book for our times. This is a lockdown pandemic book. Menace everywhere. Go on. I dare you. JD  

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