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Clandestine by James Ellroy

Clandestine (original 1982; edition 1999)

by James Ellroy

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593616,560 (3.54)29
Authors:James Ellroy
Info:Harper Paperbacks (1999), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Clandestine by James Ellroy (1982)



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Showing 5 of 5
Clandestine by James Ellroy is set in 1951 Los Angeles. The author effortlessly recreates the grit, violence and sordidness of the dark side of this city. Frank Underhill is an ambitious young policemen who allows his suspicions to lead him into an alliance with an unstable and shady detective that has disastrous effects on his life. When a very similar murder takes place a few years later, he is compelled to investigate even though he is no longer a policemen.

This is one of Ellroy’s earlier books and all the plot points that make him such an excellent noir writer are there but the book has a tendency to drag and at times I thought I would never reach the end. However, the author’s in depth exploration of the main characters’ motives and actions raised this book far above normal crime fiction. The author’s vivid descriptions of 1950’s LA and his casual references to the corrupt police practices that were prevalent in those days gave the story a gutsy reality.

Although a little rough around the edges, the twists and turns in Clandestine totally drew me in. With it’s deeply flawed characters and engrossing story the author has evoked a very compelling and disturbing period LA history. As I am a huge fan of noir fiction and I admired the author’s writing style, James Ellroy is certainly an author that I will be visiting again. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 14, 2016 |
didn't like the narrator at all, very monitone ( )
  Claudia.Anderson | Feb 7, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed “L.A. Confidential” and “American Tabloid” that I read many years ago. I caught L.A. Confidential on cable a few weeks ago and that whet my appetite for an Ellroy novel. While I was in the bookshop I stumbled across “Clandestine” and realized that several if the characters from the L.A. novels were also in this one.

I was not disappointed. This story introduces a young cop named Freddy Underhill. He is on the rise in the Wilshire district and in an effort to become one of the youngest detectives in the L.A.P.D., he pursues the possibility of a serial killer while finding love with a local District Attorney.

In so doing, he is introduced to Dudley Smith and his underlings. These cops are not exactly squeaky clean in the manner in which they extract confessions from defendants. Underhill falls in with them as Stakes him as a possible protégé. Underhill, knowing that Smith will try to grab the glory, attempts to out maneuver him and ends up being triple crossed and the defendant comes to an unfortunate end. This ends up with Freddy losing his job as a member of the L.A.P.D.

Flash forward four years and Freddy sees yet another murder that appears to be related to the previous ones that Freddy investigated. An intricate series of events of unfolds that tie together several of the events and individuals discussed in the earlier part of the novel.

What I love about his writing, aside from these complicated plots, is the realism of the language he uses. It is era appropriate and locality appropriate. I also enjoy the style. It is unique and if you haven’t read any Ellroy, it may take you a few chapters to get used to the flow.

This is easily a four star read. I recommend any of his books. L.A> Confidential is a wonderful place to start but there is a substantial body of his work that will keep a reader interested and engaged for some time to come. ( )
  ozzieslim | May 3, 2015 |

This book came along as a ring book. Will be reading it soon.

At first I had a little difficulty getting into this book. A diiferent style of writing / placed in a different period with habits and objects I know the name of in Dutch but I'm not familiar with in English.
When I read over / through that, I liked the story.
Somewhere half way though, I thought of putting it down. It as quite violent, brutal and I started to dislike the book because of it. Not because of the bloodyness or the not so explicit sexual contents that the writer talked about in the introduction. No, it was the atmosphere, the 'normality' of the violence and how a man was dragged into that that shok me.

I finished it after all and I'm glad I did. I liked it that the pieces came together, that a , however fired as a cop, never forgets what happened and after many years still tries to make right what went wrong either for himself or for the people still alive that are involved too, that did not matter to me very much.

All in all it was a nice read :-)
( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
For Ellroy I found it to be pretty awful. It was fun to read some early Ellroy though. ( )
  DinosaurSayRawr | Apr 23, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Ellroyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Perria, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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During the dark, cold winter of 1951 I worked Wilshire Patrol, played a lot of golf , and sought out the company of lonely women for one-night stands.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380805294, Paperback)

Fred Underhill is a young cop on the rise in Los Angeles in the early 1950's -- a town blinded to its own grime by Hollywood glitter; a society nourished by newspaper lies that wants its heroes all-American and squeaky clean. A chance to lead on a possible serial killing is all it takes to fuel Underhill's reckless ambition - and it propels him into a dangerous alliance with certain mad and unstable elements of the law enforcement hierarchy. When the case implodes with disastrous consequences, it is Fred Underhill who takes the fall. His life is in ruins, his promising future suddenly a dream of the past. And his good and pure love for a crusading woman lawyer has been corrupted and may not survive. But even without the authority of a badge, Fred Underhill knows that his only hope for redemption lies in following the investigation to its grim conclusion. And the Hell to which he has been consigned for his sins is the perfect place to hunt for a killer who hungers but has no soul.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A murder investigation nearly drives a beat cop to madness Despite the sunshine, high necklines, and demure purity of its silver-screen goddesses, Los Angeles in the 1950s is not a gentle place. Even as a young cop, Freddy Underhill knows this. Patrolling one of L.A. & rsquo;s roughest districts, he sees the lust, rage, and madness that permeate the city & mdash;and stands in wonder and dismay at it all. He covers the beat with his partner Wacky Walker, a World War II veteran with a Medal of Honor, a drinking problem, and a serious obsession with death. When an old flame of Freddy & rsquo;s is murdered, the investigation takes them deep into the shadiest part of the city, where Freddy will have to embrace the darkness if he wants to emerge with his life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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