This was my introduction to Ellroy, and crime writing in general. I was encouraged to read the book as a result of watching the film, and was more than rewarded, as the scope of the book far surpasses the film. Nothing is wasted, after the first read the novel seems amazingly complex, yet nothing is unnecessary, this is a tightly written book. It survives and improves on re-reading, as further links between characters and events are discovered. The characterisation is enough to keep you interested, they are beautifully rendered and provoke strong emotion in the reader, you actually care about them. While graphic at times and quite dark, the novel does not depress, it is realistic. Ellroy portrays his LA world in such depth that I was strongly encouraged to read more of his work, and was similarly encouraged by The Black Dahlia, and now intend to work through pre-LA Confidential Dudley Smith work.