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L.A. Confidential (Film Tie in) [Paperback]

James Ellroy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Oct 1997 Film Tie in
In 1951 six prisoners in Los Angeles - a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals - are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the LAPD detectives involved, the events will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers.

Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (16 Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099255081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099255086
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,506,687 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


"Ellroy writes as if driven by demons. His brutal, staccato graffiti tips over into art'" (Sunday Times)


'No emotion is spared; the writing is sparse, the plotting controlled. Not for the faint of heart, this is a big, powerful crime novel and possibly the first important example of the genre in the 1990s' Sunday Telegraph



'Empty of any unessentials and full of wise-cracking wit' Mail on Sunday


"'Unputdownable' Time Out" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

The bestselling cult classic of murder, corruption and brutality - on the QT and very hush-hush --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Bud White in an unmarked, watching the "1951" on the City Hall Christmas tree blink. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
How can anyone say that the film stuck closely to the book? They are completely different and both completely amazing works of art in their own medium and own right. For a start, the film as I remember it is over a time span of, at the msot, 2 years whereas the film is vitually the whole of the 1950's.
As this is a review of the book, I will shut up about the film, but you should see it.
The book is quite simply the best novel I have ever read. I am scared to read any other Ellroy novels, for fear that they just will not compete.
It takes a while to get used to the staccato style but once you do, you realise the brilliance in it - it makes you think in the main character's thought processes, not in narrative action. The character development is quite stunning, one minute you side with Exley, the next with White, the next with Vincennes. and none of them are anywhere near perfect, all flawed characters, we empathise and sympathise at different times. One minute I hated Exley, the next I was almost crying for him.
The ending is, in my mind, better than the films, although (and I am trying not to spoil it for you), there is some unfinished business that makes you mad, until you realise that it is more realistic. The last paragraph before the short ending chapter is quite magnificent in summing up Los Angeles in the 1950's, using the metaphor of 2 of the less major characters.
When I first read it, I was actually in LA which made it all the more real, and it was only after I had travelled up to Alcatraz and seen that Mickey Cohen was a real person (he did time on the island), that I realised some of the bit-part players were 'real-people'.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece - tread warily 20 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Definitely a masterpiece. Superlatives become a bit useless when you're this affected by a book. I had weird dreams whilst reading it and every now and then particularly nasty scenes still pop into my head. All in all it's not a particularly 'nice' book - but the style, rhythm and language are so well delivered that I found it impossible to stop reading, once I'd got used to the slang (an arcane mixture of 50's Americana and cop-speak e.g. cooze, statch rapo) The slang examples give you a taste of the subject matter, I don't think the film really does - the whole novel is so much darker and intense. I find that statement quite surprising since when I saw the film I was staggered by how dense it was. The novel is just so much more.
A few statements:
Complex - understatement of the year! I thought the film was complex! The screenplay has stripped away vast tracts of criminal conspiracy. If they'd been more faithful they would have had a 16 hour masterpiece, but I guess it would have been difficult to sell!! It's worth using a notepad to keep track of characters names and details. Every character has some role to play.
Punchy - no wasted dialogue, in fact no wasted adjectives or other grammatical niceties. A scene from the film that lasts ten minutes is dispatched in one page (chapter 20 I think). I re-read that chapter about ten times, showed it to my friends who had also seen the film. That single chapter is the best example of Ellroy's writing. He builds characters, motives and locations so well that every so often he can accelerate the action by stripping away everything until all that's left is the core action. And, man the action is good!
Dark - there are no such thing as goodies and baddies for Ellroy.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 28 Nov 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you've seen the film, the book tops it. If you haven't seen the film, then read the book and then watch the film. Anyone with any interest in crime fiction, or fiction, or just in life, should read this book.
Ellroy is fascinated by the intrigues of fifties LA, crooked politicians, celebs with secrets, cops with agendas, what happens in hotel rooms you rent by the hour.
Despite all this grime, there's a human heart beneath it. Exley, Vincennes and Bud White all have some redeeming features in their flawed characters and the prose is so pacey and heavy with atmosphere that two changes of shirt are required whilst reading the book.
Although this is one of a series, it stands alone and it also stands head and shoulders above any other piece of crime fiction in the last sixty years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb
Absolutely brilliant, a defining book in so many ways and it's Ellroy's best ever.
Published 12 days ago by Jon Chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book arrived in good condition, as quoted and on time. Thanks.
Published 1 month ago by Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
A great gripping story. Unique and brilliant style.
Published 1 month ago by CL
5.0 out of 5 stars book gift
purchased as a gift so cant comment myself but the recipient was very happy with the book
Published 3 months ago by happyshopper
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Not for the faint hearted'
A very pacy,strangely compelling, dark & complex detective story capturing a real feel for how it was in sunny L.A. in the late 1940s to the late 1950s. Read more
Published 6 months ago by S. J. Hannaway
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece.
Couldn't put the book down.
Ellroy is a master of his genre, you won't regret reading L.A. Confidential. And remember, a book is NOT the movie you probably watched.
Published 6 months ago by divxalex
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters
that didn't need to be in the book. I honestly felt I was ploughing my way through this. I really didn't like the racism and homophobia which constantly seemed to be in your face... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bellebookandcandle
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother!
You either have to be American, stoned, drunk or preferably all three to get into this book. The style is AWFUL. Stoccato sentences, weird words and a difficult intro
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. E. Benson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a review of the book, but the product
I will stress this review is not of the novel, which is fantastic, but of the product I ordered from amazon to my kindle. Read more
Published 9 months ago by onemanlandslide
5.0 out of 5 stars A 20th century masterpiece
There's a raw beauty to the writing here. Brutal, authentic, bleak, wickedly funny and always utterly compelling, flowing like the purest rap poetry, I can't think of any novel I... Read more
Published 10 months ago by daveevans
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