I love James Ellroy’s writing…most of the time. With White Jazz, he went too far into incoherence, but LA Confidential is still on of my favorite books of all time. But one of the things I hate in genre fiction is the prequel (and not just because of George Lucas). With a prequel (especially in crime fiction), you start losing people who’s lives you can threaten. You know that Dudley Smith won’t be severely injured or killed because he’s still around in the future. You also know the future of the characters. The book starts being more of a spot-the-reference game than a story. So it was with these worries that I started reading James Ellroy’s latest LA novel Perfidia.
For the last couple of weeks, the ID network hasn’t shown the new episodes of James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons. The speculation about the reason has been identified, it was canceled:
Mr. Ellroy’s early January tour was part of his selling of “James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons,” a television series that aired on cable’s Investigation Discovery until it was canceled last week midway through its run due to low ratings. The series recounted Los Angeles crime stories, many from the 1940s and 1950s, through re-creations, interviews and Mr. Ellroy’s barked, almost yelling-at-the-audience narration. A talking, animated dog named Barko appeared in some segments with Mr. Ellroy, but the less said about Barko, the better.
But there is some hope for it coming back:
According to Investigation Discovery, the show was pulled due to low ratings but will hopefully be relaunched at another point: “We fully stand behind the strength and uniqueness of the show though and are hoping to find a new home for it later this year,” a spokeswoman said.
Is anyone else watching James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons? Or a better question might be, why am I still watching this? The subject matter is wonderful with great clips and photos about the crime from the time. They bring out interviews with people who were involved and generally do a wonderful job covering the topics. Then what’s the problem?
The ID network (which apparently stands for Investigative Discovery) has a new series coming out: James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons. It starts tomorrow (1/19) night and is scheduled to run through at least the end of February. The first episode deals with The Black Dahlia (the murder, not his great book or the bad movie) and Ellroy’s mother’s murder (as well as a couple recent murders) and Ellroy is off from there with Lana Turner, Confidential Magazine, LA Police, LA Gangs and a whole lot of other things you only read about in Ellroy’s LA Quartet (and you did read them didn’t you?).
It should be a fun ride.
The Hilliker Curse is a new memoir/psychoanalysis session by James Ellroy. Ellroy clearly has a fascination with and issues around the murder of his mom. His previous memoir, My Dark Places (review), dealt with Ellroy hiring a private investigator to find our who killed his mother, Jean Hilliker, 40 years after her murder. The investigation was the framing device around a history of his life. The Hilliker Curse is slightly different view into Ellroy’s life, this time through his relationship with women.
American Tabloid by James Ellroy was a giant curveball by the hard-boiled detective writer. Those of us who loved his L.A. Quartet didn’t know what to expect when Ellroy finished with the 50s and started on the 1960s. The writing stayed as hard-boiled as ever, but Ellroy upped the scope from Los Angeles to the entire nation with a book that covers Kennedy’s campaign through his death. And what a ride we are on.
My Dark Places by James Ellroy is part murder mystery and part biography. For people wondering how Ellroy can write so wonderfully about Los Angeles in the 1950’s, you’ll see that he lived through it. The seedy places and heartbreak that were hidden by the Dragnet sheen and are depicted in Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet are shown here, only in real life. Because James Ellroy’s mother was murdered in 1958 Los Angeles and it affected his life and writing.