Books by James Ellroy

SHAKEDOWN by James Ellroy
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Most definitely not nice, though if you like your language salty enough to float on without ever hitting water, then this is just the thing. Just don't let the person next to you on the bus or train catch a glimpse of what you're reading."
Need paint peeled? Skin flensed? Zombies repelled? Expose the problem to Ellroy's scabrous, excoriating look behind the curtains of golden-era Los Angeles and presto—solved. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN NOIR OF THE CENTURY by James Ellroy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 2010

"Most of the others are worth your time as well—unless, or maybe even if, you've already caught them in previous Penzlers."
A star-studded memorial, thick as cement overshoes, to an oddly shaped century. Read full book review >
THE HILLIKER CURSE by James Ellroy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"A fervent portrait of the artist as a young screw-up—an old one, too, who writes like an avenging angel."
Noted crime writer Ellroy (Blood's a Rover, 2009, etc.) presents a sharp-tongued, acidic memoir of his life and loves. Read full book review >
BLOOD’S A ROVER by James Ellroy
THRILLERS
Released: Sept. 22, 2009

"The book is repetitious in places and confusing in others. Still, you won't easily put it down."
Ellroy calls this third leg of "The Underworld USA Trilogy" (American Tabloid, 1995, The Cold Six Thousand, 2001) an historical romance, but it's also very much a gangster novel, a political novel, a tragic-comedy, a poignant love story—and remarkably entertaining no matter how you slice it. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2002 by James Ellroy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 15, 2002

"A capacious, varied grab-bag to dip into when you feel the urge for trouble."
The worst writing in this anthology comes courtesy of its two editors. Read full book review >
THE COLD SIX THOUSAND by James Ellroy
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: May 15, 2001

"A chilling tapestry of fact and fiction, an exhilarating read, and an informed, deeply disturbing speculation regarding the ties between criminals and America's shadow government. "
Picking up roughly where American Tabloid (1995) left off, Ellroy's big, ambitious new novel, bristling with violence, rockets through the 1960s naming names and weaving a terrifyingly believable tale of linked conspiracies in the three assassinations that shook America to the core. Read full book review >
THE BIG NOWHERE by James Ellroy
Released: Sept. 12, 1998

More noir bombast from Ellroy (The Black Dahlia, etc.), who sets this cops, Commies, crooks, and creeps saga in 1950 L.A. When upright, uptight Sheriff's Deputy Danny Upshaw catches the squeal, it's particularly gruesome: someone removed the victim's eyes, ejaculated into the sockets, shredded his back with a "Zoot Stick," then chomped on the innards with wolverine teeth. Read full book review >
MY DARK PLACES by James Ellroy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 12, 1996

"Fanatics will undoubtedly savor the facts behind Ellroy's fiction (and his murder riffs), but those expecting autobiographical expos‚ of the writer's psychological clockwork will feel stonewalled by macho reserve."
The man who reenergized the hard-boiled detective genre (American Tabloid, 1995, etc.) delivers a true-crime noir unflinchingly detailing his mother's murder and his own belated but obsessive investigation of it. Read full book review >
AMERICAN TABLOID by James Ellroy
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Feb. 27, 1995

"Ellroy reins in the more flagrant stylistic excesses of his L.A. Quartet (White Jazz, 1992, etc.), but indulges every overripe subplot you can imagine, in this lurid, volcanic historical epic."
It's the Kennedys versus Jimmy Hoffa, Fidel Castro, and J. Edgar Hoover in this blistering, sprawling slice of Americana from the comic-book Dos Passos of our time. Read full book review >
HOLLYWOOD NOCTURNES by James Ellroy
Released: June 1, 1994

"Nothing here like the power of Elroy's LA quartet; but all the stories are effective as genre pieces, and most of them equally interesting for their manic ambivalence toward postwar California."
Ellroy marks time between installments of his outsized LA saga with a slender collection of crime fiction — a novella and five stories (1986-94) — all reeking of his trademark corruption and stylistic flamboyance. Read full book review >
WHITE JAZZ by James Ellroy
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Sept. 10, 1992

"Ellroy's been cooking up these overseasoned ragouts too long to change his recipe now; if you don't already know him, a page or two will convince you whether he's genius or a poseur, or both."
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL by James Ellroy
Released: June 4, 1990

"The rat-a-tat style can be headache-inducing, as can the intertwining cases and ever-shifting focus; still, underneath all the verbiage and bombast, there's force and a bravura that demands attention along with editing."
Energetic, sprawling and often stylistically irritating police procedural that follows three LAPD members over a ten-year period, beginning in 1950. Read full book review >
THE BLACK DAHLIA by James Ellroy
Released: Sept. 22, 1987

Tim real-life unsolved "Black Dahlia" case (L.A., 1947), source material for several novels and films, get another go. round from hard boiler Ellroy (Blood on the Moon, Because the Night), in a long, earnest, overwrought novel that concentrates on the dark psychosexual hangups of two L.A.P.D. cops. Read full book review >
SUICIDE HILL by James Ellroy
Released: April 17, 1986

"So, though excessive and densely unpleasant, this dank cops-and-robbers drama has undeniable edge and punch—at least for readers eager to plunge deep into a world of seamy criminals and even seamier policemen."
The return of the LAPD's Sgt. Read full book review >
CLANDESTINE by James Ellroy
Released: June 30, 1985

"And, too, with an ending that just rings too untrue to be good."
Another from the author of Because the Night (1984). Read full book review >
BECAUSE THE NIGHT by James Ellroy
Released: Dec. 18, 1984

Cops. vs. sicko-psychos in L.A.—in a pulpy melodrama (no mystery) that has a certain creepy appeal in the first half, but then becomes increasingly contrived and belabored. Read full book review >