Excerpt from The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Cold Six Thousand

by James Ellroy

The Cold Six Thousand
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2001, 688 pages
    Jun 2002, 688 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

November 22-25, 1963

Chapter 1
Wayne Tedrow Jr.
(Dallas, 112263)

They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it.

The Casino Operators Council flew him. They supplied first-class fare. They tapped their slush fund. They greased him. They fed him six cold.

Nobody said it:

Kill that coon. Do it good. Take our hit fee.

The flight ran smooth. A stew served drinks. She saw his gun. She played up. She asked dumb questions.

He said he worked Vegas PD. He ran the intel squad. He built files and logged information.

She loved it. She swooned.

"Hon, what you doin' in Dallas?"

He told her.

A Negro shivved a twenty-one dealer. The dealer lost an eye. The Negro booked to Big D. She loved it. She brought him highballs. He omitted details.

The dealer provoked the attack. The council issued the contract-death for ADW Two.

The preflight pep talk. Lieutenant Buddy Fritsch:

"I don't have to tell you what we expect, son. And I don't have to add that your father expects it, too."

The stew played geisha girl. The stew fluffed her beehive.

"What's your name?"

"Wayne Tedrow."

She whooped. "You just have to be Junior!"

He looked through her. He doodled. He yawned.

She fawned. She just loooooved his daddy. He flew with her oodles. She knew he was a Mormon wheel. She'd looove to know more.

Wayne laid out Wayne Senior.

He ran a kitchen-help union. He rigged low pay. He had coin. He had pull. He pushed right-wing tracts. He hobnobbed with fat cats. He knew J. Edgar Hoover.

The pilot hit the intercom. Dallas-on time.

The stew fluffed her hair. "I'll bet you're staying at the Adolphus."

Wayne cinched his seat belt. "What makes you say that?"

"Well, your daddy told me he always stays there."

"I'm staying there. Nobody consulted me, but that's where they've got me booked."

The stew hunkered down. Her skirt slid. Her garter belt gapped.

"Your daddy told me they've got a nice little restaurant right there in the hotel, and, well . . ."

The plane hit rough air. Wayne caught it low. He broke a sweat. He shut his eyes. He saw Wendell Durfee.

The stew touched him. Wayne opened his eyes.

He saw her hickeys. He saw her bad teeth. He smelled her shampoo.

"You were looking a little scared there, Wayne Junior."

"Junior" tore it.

"Leave me alone. I'm not what you want, and I don't cheat on my wife."

1:50 p.m.

They touched down. Wayne got off first. Wayne stamped blood back into his legs.

He walked to the terminal. Schoolgirls blocked the gate. One girl cried. One girl fucked with prayer beads.

He stepped around them. He followed baggage signs. People walked past him. They looked sucker-punched.

Red eyes. Boo-hoo. Women with Kleenex.

Wayne stopped at baggage claim. Kids whizzed by. They shot cap pistols. They laughed.

A man walked up--Joe Redneck--tall and fat. He wore a Stetson. He wore big boots. He wore a mother-of-pearl 45.

"If you're Sergeant Tedrow, I'm Officer Maynard D. Moore of the Dallas Police Department."

They shook hands. Moore chewed tobacco. Moore wore cheap cologne. A woman walked by-boo-hoo-hoo-one big red nose.

Wayne said, "What's wrong?"

Moore smiled. "Some kook shot the President."

Most shops closed early. State flags flew low. Some folks flew rebel flags upright.

Moore drove Wayne in. Moore had a plan: Run by the hotel get you set in find us that jigaboo.

Excerpted from The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. Copyright 2001 by James Ellroy. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.