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CLANDESTINE by James Ellroy


by James Ellroy

Pub Date: June 30th, 1985
ISBN: 0380805294
Publisher: Schocken

Another from the author of Because the Night (1984). Here the year is 1951, and the cop at the center of this mystery--set in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles--is Freddy Underhill. He is passionate about golf and picking up lonely ladies on Wilshire Boulevard for one-night stands. He is also ambitious with a capital A and wants to go from rookie to detective faster than you can say "freeze." When one of the women he has spent the night with is found strangled, he uses some clues she dropped when they were together plus some hunches to lead the Big Guy in homocide to a suspect. This gets him on the Big Guy's team. The Big Guy is a God-fearing Irishman, a legendary cop, and a sadist. Underhill joins in the particularly revolting fun and games to force a confession. But he tries to double-cross the Big Guy to get all the glory for solving the case, and instead of being promoted he gets thrown off the force. So for the next four years he bums around on golf courses and takes odd jobs. Along the way he acquires a wife and a dog that takes up a great many pages and is a cross between cutesy and gross. Finally, the long arm of coincidence--and in this case it is a long ann--leads him to another murder, which connects back to the one that got him bumped and which will lead, finally, to the real solution. Overlong and repetitious, and with characters that are both unsavory and uninteresting. And, too, with an ending that just rings too untrue to be good.