Our list of some of the best James Ellroy books & series in recent years. Get inspired by one or more of the following books.
1. Perfidia (2015)
Los Angeles. December, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. War fever and racial hatred grip the city. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. LAPD captain William H. Parker is superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith—Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a twenty-one-year-old dilettante looking for…
2. The Black Dahlia (2006)
On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia — and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history. Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia — driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead…
3. American Tabloid (2001)
We are behind, and below, the scenes of JFK’s presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination–in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C. . . . Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy . . . Where the right drugs, the right amount of cash, the right murder, buys a moment of a man’s loyalty . . . Where three renegade law-enforcement officers–a former L.A. cop and two FBI agents–are shaping events with the virulence of their greed and hatred, riding full-blast shotgun into…
4. The Big Nowhere (1998)
Los Angeles, 1950 Red crosscurrents: the Commie Scare and a string of brutal mutilation killings. Gangland intrigue and Hollywood sleaze. Three cops caught in a hellish web of ambition, perversion, and deceit. Danny Upshaw is a Sheriff’s deputy stuck with a bunch of snuffs nobody cares about; they’re his chance to make his name as a cop…and to sate his darkest curiosities. Mal Considine is D.A.’s Bureau brass. He’s climbing on the Red Scare bandwagon to advance his career and to gain custody of his adopted son, a child he saved from the horror of postwar Europe. Buzz…
5. L.A. Confidential (1997)
L.A. Confidential is epic “noir”, a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants no survivors….
6. My Dark Places (1997)
In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb. Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In 1994, Ellroy quit running. He went back to L.A., to find out the truth about his mother–and himself. In My Dark Places, our most uncompromising crime writer tells what happened when he teamed up with a brilliant…
7. Hollywood Nocturnes (2007)
Dig it. A famous musician-cum-draft dodger is plotting the perfect celebrity snatch–his own. An ex-con raging on revenge in High Darktown becomes a cop’s worst nightmare. While chasing kidnappers, two cops stumble on an okie town as bloody as the O.K. Corral. A strongarm for Howard Hughes and mobster Mickey Cohen finds himself playing both ends against the middle, all for a murderously magnificent moll. This is L.A., Ellroy style–corrupt cops, goons with guns, rattling roadsters–and all in the staccato rhythm of the streets. Hollywood Nocturnes shows us the seedy side of glamorous Hollywood, laid…
8. Blood’s a Rover (2010)
.A rip-roaring, devilishly wild ride through the bloody end of the 1960’s. It’s dark baby, and hot hot hot. Martin Luther King assassinated. Robert Kennedy assassinated. Los Angeles, 1968. Conspiracies theories are taking hold. On the horizon looms the Democratic Convention in Chicago and constant gun fire peppers south L.A. Violence, greed, and grime, are replacing free-love and everybody from Howard Hughes, Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover to the right-wing assassins and left-wing revolutionaries are getting dirty. At the center of it all is a triumvirate: the president’s…
9. White Jazz (2001)
.Los Angeles, 1958. Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns–it’s standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD. He’s a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer–a power in his own small corner of hell. Then the Feds announce a full-out investigation into local police corruption, and everything goes haywire.Klein’s been hung out as bait, “a bad cop to draw the heat,” and the heat’s coming from all sides: from local politicians, from LAPD brass, from racketeers and drug kingpins–all of them hell-bent on keeping their own secrets hidden. For Klein,…
“Well worth its impressive weight in gold, it would be a crime not to have this seminal masterpiece in your collection.”—New York Journal of Books In his introduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, “Noir is the most scrutinized offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It’s the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It’s the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes…
11. Clandestine (1999)
Fred Underhill is a young cop on the rise in Los Angeles in the early 1950’s — a town blinded to its own grime by Hollywood glitter; a society nourished by newspaper lies that wants its heroes all-American and squeaky clean. A chance to lead on a possible serial killing is all it takes to fuel Underhill’s reckless ambition – and it propels him into a dangerous alliance with certain mad and unstable elements of the law enforcement hierarchy. When the case implodes with disastrous consequences, it is Fred Underhill who takes the fall. His life is in ruins,…
12. The Cold Six Thousand (2002)
.In this savagely audacious novel, James Ellroy plants a pipe bomb under the America in the 1960s, lights the fuse, and watches the shrapnel fly. On November 22, 1963 three men converge in Dallas. Their job: to clean up the JFK hit’s loose ends and inconvenient witnesses. They are Wayne Tedrow, Jr., a Las Vegas cop with family ties to the lunatic right; Ward J. Littell, a defrocked FBI man turned underworld mouthpiece; and Pete Bondurant, a dope-runner and hit-man who serves as the mob’s emissary to the anti-Castro underground.It goes bad from there….
13. Mis rincones oscuros (2018)
Best James Ellroy Books Worth Your Attention
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James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction
Author(s): Steven Powell
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK, Year: 2016, Size: 836 Kb, Download: pdf
Author(s): James Ellroy & Los Angeles Police Museum & Glynn Martin
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Year: 2015, Size: 16 Mb, Download: epub
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are truly record-breakers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are composed by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.