James Ellroy biography

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James Ellroy

James Ellroy

James Ellroy Biography

Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy is known for a telegrammatic prose style, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in particular for the novels The Black Dahlia (1987), The Big Nowhere (1988), L.A. Confidential (1990), White Jazz (1992), American Tabloid (1995), The Cold Six Thousand (2001), and Blood's a Rover (2009).

When his parents divorced in 1954, his mother got custody and moved to El Monte (a low income area in L.A). His mother was murdered there in 1958. James Ellroy's attempt to solve this still unsolved murder was the subject of his 1996 nonfiction work My Dark Places. After his mother's death, he moved in with his father.

Ellroy claims to have been turned on to crime fiction by The Hardy Boys. At the age of ten, his father bought him Jack Webb's The Badge, a history of the LAPD. He became obsessed with the book and studied it repeatedly. In this book, he discovered the story of the Black Dahlia, as well as the cops and crime figures he would later write about in the L.A. Quartet.

At the age of thirty, he wrote and sold his first novel.

He lives in Kansas City.

James Ellroy's website

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Interview

Join us for a conversation with Ellroy about his belief that 'America was never innocent' because, in his words, it was founded on a bedrock of land grabs, slavery, religious extremism, colonial ambition, and genocide.

In the opening paragraph of American Tabloid you write that "America was never innocent." How does this theme further evolve in The Cold Six Thousand?
America was founded on a bedrock of land grabs, slavery, religious extremism, colonial ambition, and genocide. The notion that America was innocent prior to Jack Kennedy's murder is preposterous; by the rules he lived by, Jack got what he deserved. He took aid from organized crime during the 1960 election; he repaid the debt by siccing his kid brother Bobby on the Mob at large. He betrayed the Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. He pissed off a hot-headed troika of mobsters, exiles and renegade CIA men involved in the Cuban cause. They whacked him for it. His death derived from the perennial motives of money and turf. It was a gaudy homicide that set the stage for the out-of-control America that I portray in The Cold Six Thousand.

So you really think the Mob called the hits on JFK, Martin Luther King Jr, and Bobby Kennedy?
I'm convinced that the Mob, in cahoots with Cuban exiles and renegade CIA elements, whacked Jack Kennedy. That said, I'm a novelist -- and my job is the creation of verisimilitude, not the exposition of literal truth. There is no ...

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Books by this Author

Books by James Ellroy at BookBrowse
Perfidia jacket The Hilliker Curse jacket Blood's A Rover jacket The Cold Six Thousand jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for James Ellroy but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Joe Gores

    Joe Gores

    Joseph Nicholas Gores (1931-2011) was born in Rochester, Minnosota and educated at Notre Dame University and Stanford University. He also served in the US Army, where he wrote biographies of generals. After earning a master... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Cold Six Thousand

    Try:
    Spade & Archer
    by Joe Gores

  • Walter Mosley

    Walter Mosley

    Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. A Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, he has won numerous awards, including the Anisfield-Wolf Award, a Grammy, a PEN USA's Lifetime ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Cold Six Thousand

    Try:
    Fear Itself
    by Walter Mosley

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