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Dudley Smith Trio: The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, White Jazz [Paperback]

James Ellroy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Nov 1999
The Big Nowhere: In 1950s LA three men are drawn into the shadow of communist witch hunts and violent killings that force each one to confront his own personal darkness. But none is prepared for the maelstrom that awaits them. LA Confidential: LA Christmas 1951. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAD cops involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they built their corrupt and voilent careers. White Jazz: LAPD Lieutenant Dave Klein made the mean streets he works on mean. But now the FBI are out to get the cops who murder, bribe and beat to serve their corrupt careers and Klein is hung out as bait. Big fish leap at his throat - racketeers, narcotic kings and scum with skeletons they would kill to keep hidden. Three of the most epic and powerful crime novels ever written, this volume is an explosive journey through the dark side of recent American history, and crime writing at its best.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1344 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 1st edition (4 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099406381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099406389
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed LA Quartet, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz, as well as the Underworld USA trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood's a Rover. He is the author of one work of non-fiction, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women.

Product Description


"The most original crime writer of our time" (Michael Carlson, Spectator)

"One of the great American writers of our time" (Los Angeles Times)

Book Description

Three of James Ellroy's most gripping crime novels featuring Lieutenant Dudley Smith in one volume

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extremely exciting lead up to Underworld USA 28 Nov 2002
The first in the series, "The Big Nowhere", follows on very loosely from "The Black Dhalia" and follows its style closely. It is a chilling study of corruption as are all of Ellroy's works. By the close of this book we know Dudley Smith is a bad, bad man. But so are all of the other characters. Smith just happens to be much badder. As we move on into the brilliant "LA Confidential" we are guided by a man who could be even badder, but his work with Dudley turns him into a better person. Ellroy skillfully opens up the narrative threads, allowing his protagonists their full voice and giving us clearsight into their actions. If you've seen the film of this book pretend it's a film of a different book. The protagonists are even badder again but by now you are so desensitised to the pervasive baddness of LA in general that you root for them all the same.
I love Ellroy's work. The Dudley Smith trio allows him to segue from almost pure crime writing to historical fiction and sets the stage perfectly for his as yet infinished "Underworld USA" trilogy that begins with "American Tabloid". "American Tabloid" was the first James Ellroy novel I ever read, followed by "The Cold 6 Thousand", so when the character Pete Bondurant turned up in "White Jazz", my pulse raced. I can't remember the last book I read that has an actual physiological effect on me. I was so excited because, having read the later books, I knew where he was going, and it was great to see how he was going to get there.
One of the brilliant things about the Dudley Smith trio as whole is that we never see the world from Smith's perspective. He is just there, a lurking evil. Rather we get to know him though his interactions with Ellroy's detailed, troubled protagonists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What were they thinking? 11 Oct 2012
By T'Lil
I do not think that it is very clever to use a plot spoiler as the title of a compilation. The books themselves are gritty Ellroy at his best. A previous compilation included the Black Dahlia as well and was called the LA quartet. I think the four books fit together well although each can stand alone.
The basic theme that unites the tales is 'white men behaving badly'. Ellroy understands psychopaths; their superficial charm, narcissism and lack of conscience. Dudley Smith is one of modern literature's great psychopaths and yet is a periphral character in all the books. He is more fully described in the earlier Clandstine. Ellroy paints Smith subtly and he lurks in the background; all bonhomie and immeasurable menace, unspeakable acts left to our imagination.
Smith is right up their with Andrew Vachss' Wesley
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This trilogy comprises The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz, which along with The Black Dahlia make up James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet. Taken together, these blood-soaked crime thrillers are nothing less than a history of that quintessential post-war American town, Los Angeles, as told from the viewpoint of rogue cops, killers, prostitutes, junkies, movie starlets, Mafia strongmen, Cold War crusaders, politicians, lawyers and other such lowlifes. The Dudley Smith Trio is a great introduction to the unique work of James Ellroy and a must for fans of crime fiction.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grand Read Lad! 6 Feb 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dudley Smith is a cop's cop. He makes no compromises in his dealings with either the criminal fraternity or his fellow police officers. He uses and abuses both with equal disregard. On the surface he is a God-fearing family man who puts family values above all else. But his alter-ego shows a vicious, sadistic man. A man on the take. A man who would use every means at his disposal to further his own criminal ends. Make no mistake, anyone who crosses Dudley Smith must have a death wish. He has his finger in more crooked deals than you could imagine. He will tramp over the reputations if not the bodies of his fellow police officers in his quest to climb the promotion ladder. A move designed to give him unparalled power within the LAPD and in his nefarious illegal activities. Each of the books in the trilogy reveals further sordid facets of Dudley Smith's checkered career. The culmination of his way of life had to be explosive, and in the final part, Dudley Smith faces his nemisis in true DS style. Death would have been too good for him, given the grief which he had visited on others both in the line of duty and in the furtherance of his criminal goals. As DS would so easily say in his soft Irish brogue, "Ah, grand lad, grand!" I have read and reread this trilogy and I can always manage to come up with some new perspective on DS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A warm bath of man's inhumanity to man 25 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you like it, you'll love it. Ellroy gets right until American underworld. The writing is terse and poetic. The moodiness of it all will have you reaching for your trilby hat. If there were ten stars, I would give it 11.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ellroy is addictive 19 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He's an acquired taste, for sure, but like anything requiring a bit of effort, Ellroy rewards you in spades. His characters are deeply flawed, complex, racist, violent and very much a product of the era in which these books are based, but once you get into the rhythm of it all you can't help but love them all, reflecting the honest admiration his enemies often acquire for each other over time. I wish I'd read these three and then read American Tabloid et al, but I did it backwards. Next time I'll read them in order, a future pleasure extant.
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