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L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy

L.A. Confidential (original 1990; edition 1997)

by James Ellroy

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2,570302,335 (4.1)74
Title:L.A. Confidential
Authors:James Ellroy
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1997), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Novels

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L. A. Confidential by James Ellroy (1990)



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English (26)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (30)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
One of the very few good "recent" noir crime novels I have read. Complex in every way to read but by shifting gears to accommodate the writing style one could go along with what was an experience, not just a story. ( )
  rwt42 | Apr 23, 2017 |
This book is just incomprehensible. I saw the movie first, and it was much much better. ( )
  ramon4 | Nov 1, 2016 |
I read this book, not sure what I was getting into. All I knew about it is that this is the book that the movie of the same name is based on. Which I hadn't seen.

And I liked it, really I did. But between the length of the novel, the incredibly complex story with a mystery that kept changing (is it a porn thing, or a drug thing, or a mobster thing, or prostitute thing...) I found it hard to follow. Once I got the main characters figured out, initially, I found the change of perspectives difficult to follow, they were what made this book from a mess, into a solid novel. Each of the three characters, Bud White, Jack Vincennes, and Ed Exley, are all very different characters.

This book is dark, violent, and full of non PC language. Yes, its set in the 50's, when the division between races are very clear cut and a person does not cross that line or your career and character are in ruins. It is hard to read at times. Yes, its a work of fiction, but I have no doubt the sentiments in this book are true to the source. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 19, 2016 |
I had seen the superb movie many times (it's in my top five) before reading this book, and wondered how the two would compare. Ellroy's novel is also superb, and in some ways the movie reads directly from it (much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim) but there are huge differences.

Fit into a couple hours and what feels like a year's worth of time, the movie is much more concise. The book is far more sprawling, taking place over almost a decade, connecting to both the prequel ([b:The Big Nowhere|36058|The Big Nowhere (L.A. Quartet, #2)|James Ellroy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348561244s/36058.jpg|972626], outstanding) and sequel ([b:White Jazz|101000|White Jazz (L.A. Quartet, #4)|James Ellroy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328662450s/101000.jpg|1122011], which is up next). The screenwriters did a fine job capturing the essence of the book while truncating the plot.

The book is far more involved, with more seamy threads, the plot much more byzantine. I was having a tough time figuring out how the evil scheme tied together, but Ellroy does a surprisingly good job of tying it together in a short time at the end, so read closely and stick with it. The details and threads are there to allow an observant reader to tie it together.

The book's larger scope lets the three main characters get more face time and more depth. Not to slight Guy Pearce's fine performance, but Ed Exley is a whole new level of fascinating here. Jack Vincennes isn't the super-slick hepcat that Kevin Spacey memorably embodied. Bud White is far less restrained than Russell Crowe made him. The actors who played smaller roles in the movie (James Cromwell, Danny Devito, and David Straithairn) were dead on.

Ellroy's prose is a thing of beauty, with its raw expose of violence and corruption and 50s slang. While the movie was chock-full of badness, it didn't come close to the book. For those unfamiliar with the author: putting it mildly, he doesn't have a good opinion of human nature. No nice guys (or gals) here at all: everyone is broken and disturbed to some extent.

If you like down and dirty crime fiction or film noir at all, this is the book for you. The movie, too. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 31, 2016 |
Such a dark but compelling read. I really enjoy thrillers that deliver a sense of place and time and Ellroy is really good at this. Loved the glimpse into the underbelly of the glam life 1950s L.A.. Cop corruption, Hollywood scum, wanna-be-actors prostituting on the side for survival, corrupt politicians (really?) - depicted very well by Ellroy, who is a master at showing not telling when it comes to characterizations.

(The film version of this book was actually so well done - a pretty rare occasion of the movie doing as well as the book. Yes, there were differences, but Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger were so good in their respective roles.) ( )
  cjazzlee | Nov 13, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Ellroyprimary authorall editionscalculated
James Ellroymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliva, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A glory that costs everything and means nothing --
Steve Erickson
Mary Doherty Ellroy
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An abandoned auto court in the San Berdoo foothills; Buzz Meeks checked in with ninety-four thousand dollars, eighteen pounds of high-grade heroin, a 10-gauge pump, a .38 special, a .45 automatic and a switchblade he bought off a pachuco at the border -- right before he spotted the car parked across the line: Mickey Cohen goons in an LAPD unmarked, Tijuana cops standing by to bootjack a piece of his goodies, dump his body in the San Ysidro River.
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Roem die alles kost en niets betekent. (Steve Erickson)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446674249, Paperback)

James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential is film-noir crime fiction akin to Chinatown, Hollywood Babylon, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Jim Thompson. It's about three tortured souls in the 1950s L.A.P.D.: Ed Exley, the clean-cut cop who lives shivering in the shadow of his dad, a legendary cop in the same department; Jack Vincennes, a cop who advises a Police Squad- like TV show and busts movie stars for payoffs from sleazy Hush-Hush magazine; and Bud White, a detective haunted by the sight of his dad murdering his mom.

Ellroy himself was traumatized as a boy by his party-animal mother's murder. (See his memoir My Dark Places for the whole sordid story.) So it is clear that Bud is partly autobiographical. But Exley, whose shiny reputation conceals a dark secret, and Vincennes, who goes showbiz with a vengeance, reflect parts of Ellroy, too.

L.A. Confidential holds enough plots for two or three books: the cops chase stolen gangland heroin through a landscape littered with not-always-innocent corpses while succumbing to sexy sirens who have been surgically resculpted to resemble movie stars; a vile developer--based (unfairly) on Walt Disney-- schemes to make big bucks off Moochie Mouse; and the cops compete with the crooks to see who can be more corrupt and violent. Ellroy's hardboiled prose is so compressed that some of his rat-a-tat paragraphs are hard to follow. You have to read with attention as intense as his—and that is very intense indeed. But he richly rewards the effort. He may not be as deep and literary as Chandler, but he belongs on the same top-level shelf.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:19 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Three troubled cops-- Ed Exley, desperately seeking glory; vengeful Bud White, a witness to his mother's murder by his father; and Jack Vincennes, a shakedown artist with a dark secret-- tread a fine line between right and wrong in 1950s Los Angeles.

(summary from another edition)

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