Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 19-20

ACADEME BLOG

Ellroy, James.  L.A. Confidential.  New York: Mysterious, 1990.

A strong case can be made that in the last quarter of the 20th century, James Ellroy has stylistically influenced the American mystery-detective novel more than any other novelist of the period.  After writing seven other crimes novels in six years, Ellroy focused his energies on his “L.A. Quartet”—The Black Dahlia (1987), The Big Nowhere (1988), L.A. Confidential (1990), and White Jazz (1992).  In this tetralogy, Ellroy has transformed narrative into an amalgam of the rhythms of the popular press, of the electronic media, and of the cacophony of voices that has aurally defined the Los Angeles landscape just as the mixture of architectural styles has visually defined it.

L.A. Confidential is the most widely known novel in the tetralogy, in large part because of its adaptation to an Academy Award-winning film starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Kim…

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