The book, published in September by Knopf, follows a fictionalized version of Freddy Otash, the infamous Los Angeles private detective and fixer, as he investigates the death of Marilyn Monroe and the kidnapping of a B-movie actor. A critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “The climax might well leave the reader as breathless as Ellroy’s prose, and in need of a good shower.”
Ellroy talked about his versions of Otash and Monroe with CBS correspondent Jeff Glor. “I made [Otash] into something that he wasn’t because my prerogative is always to fictionalize,” he said. “And with me, creating fiction, historical fiction, is 75% distortion and 25% truth. What I look for in research is blank spaces that give me the latitude to fictionalize, and they are all over Marilyn Monroe’s death.”
Glor asked Ellroy about his writing process, noting that the author doesn’t have a television, cell phone, or computer.
“I got white notebook paper, I got a black pen,” Ellroy said. “I got a red pen to correct with, I got a landline telephone.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to use a computer?” Glor asked.
“I don’t know,” Ellroy replied with a shrug. “I haven’t used one.”
Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.