Sorry, I haven't been around here enough to know if this will be (1) a worn out subject, or (2) of interest. Nevertheless:

Are there any other frustrated James Ellroy fans out there? If so, what are your thoughts? What consolation or advice can you offer?

Basically, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz and American Tabloid of three of my all time favourite novels. I read crime fiction widely, but struggle to find anything that (for me, given my taste) can compare. And, bottom line, I find myself unable to read Ellroy's more recent work because of THAT STYLE! 

Seems to me that Ellroy's style is his great achilles heal. I made it halfway through The Cold 6K and couldn't go on. I couldn't make it through the first few pages of Blood's A Rover. Then, before Perfidia came out, I read the Shakedown novella. The style here is, to my taste, very good: nice balanced sentences; stripped and immediate, with impact, but fluid, readable, variable.

I hoped Perfidia would be the same, but no. We're back to short sentences – or rather, short sentences together with occasional longer sentences, which amount to three short sentences broken up with listing commas. We don't see commas other than listing commas. And it is all so repetitive! Short sentence, short sentence, longer sentence with listing commas, short sentence, repeat, repeat!

It is possible to write stripped, high impact prose without extreme punctuation; to write in a way that ADAPTs the prose and to suit character mood, or situation, or the level of emphasis/impact desired in the specific instance. I wish someone could convince Ellroy of that **sigh**.

Anyway, your thoughts? Any suggestions re. authors of a similar calibre?


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I made it a personal point of honor to get through The Cold Six Thousand. Among my least enjoyable reading experiences. It was my first Ellroy, so I'll take part of the blame for that. I enjoyed Blood's a Rover a lot, and think American Tabloid is a masterpiece of both style and content. I'm currently halfway through the LA Quarter, with LA Confidential up next, and I can hardly wait. I expect I'll give the Underworld trilogy another shot someday, reading them in order. I'm curious how I'll feel about TC6K then. (Even Ellroy has been quoted as saying he went too far with the style on that one.)


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