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My Dark Places Paperback – 5 Jun 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Jun 1997
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New edition edition (5 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099549611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099549611
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,019,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The outstanding American crime writer of his generation" (Independent)

"A gripping and quite awesome form of literature" (Express)

"Stunning...extraordinary" (Observer)

"A tour de force of confessional writing" (TLS)

"Ellroy proves that he is more than just a crime writer, he is one of the best and most important writers in America today" (VOX)

Book Description

America's greatest crime writer investigates his mother's murder

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By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
To better understand (if not enjoy) My Dark Places, I would suggest that you need to have read at least one Ellroy novel. It will help to put this semi-autobiography into perspective, and if you're already an Ellroy fan it will make a great deal more sense. It's an extraordinary piece of work, so ruthlessly exhaustive in its detail that I for one felt almost physically tired by the time I had finished. Not tired of reading the book itself, but tired just to think of the incredible lengths Ellroy went to in order to track down his mother's killer some 37/38 years after her death in 1958. Although the book is dedicated to Ellroy's wife Helen, it could just as well have been dedicated to Bill Stoner, the retired ex-detective who committed himself absolutely to the cause of helping Ellroy in his unusual quest - but this might be an opportunity to mention two of Ellroy's greatest works American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand, one a sequel to the other; the latter was in fact dedicated to Stoner and deservedly so.

In one sense I feel that this book was written almost exclusively for Ellroy himself to read, I'm sure that he had little commercial incentive or reasoning to do it. Yet the raw, body-pummelling honesty of the book from start to finish makes for fascinating reading for those who, like myself, have ever wondered what made Ellroy write in the way he does in such classics as The Black Dahlia or The Big Nowhere. I have to admit that the short sentence style adopted in My Dark Places does irritate at times, in spite of the fact that the writer explains this after the end of the story. It gave me the impression that what we are reading, much of the time, are either his own or Stoner's investigatory notes and copied to the page verbatim.
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3 Comments 15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on 15 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
You might wonder how anyone could write publicly about such a brutal murder of his own mother and investigate the case, unflinchingly, with the police years later. However, this memoir is an excellent explanation of why Ellroy was compelled to delve further and further into his own history and attempt to unravel or "solve" his mother's past. He is refreshingly candid about his own failings, motives, and desires. Somehow he manages to maintain his very high standard of writing despite the upsetting material. I found the book gripping and throughly absorbing. Certainly regular readers of Ellroy's fiction will enjoy it, but I'd also recommend it to newcomers provided that they have a strong stomach.
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By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a very disturbing, yet compelling book. I found the author's honesty about his past really refreshing and strangely hopeful. The story of the search for his mother's murderer is heart rending and bleak and yet brilliant because it has no neat ending, so you really feel the aching void inside of him like he must feel it himself.
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Format: Paperback
James Ellroy's "My Dark Places" will guide you through some of the murkiest details of America's crime history. Indeed, I was terrified by this book - and yet I couldn't stop reading it. I was fascinated by the account of the author's life -had it been a work of fiction, I never would have believed it. James Ellroy's dark places are noir, much like his novels, which you will be scrambling to read having devoured this very personal, and entirely unique, piece of writing.
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By A Customer on 31 Jan. 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Ellroy tackles his feelings surrounding the murder of his mother in the 1950s. He talks about the time of the event, his life from his then nine years old to late 20s, then detailing his 1996 investigation into his mothers death with LAPD detective Bill Stoner. It's an incredibly honest book, Ellroy doesn't pull any punches with his own reckless youth and later confrontations with his feelings for his murdered mother. It's intense, dark, often disturbing and a very enlightening read. Fans of Ellroy will recognise where he has drawn his myriad of characters from for his later novels, those who don't know his work will find it an excellent introduction to his fiction novels. It's well worth a read but not for the emotionally sensitive. Seeing a man lay his heart so bare is often uncomfortable.
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By A Customer on 19 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Crime non-fiction doesn't come any more personal or heart-felt than this. The lack of obvious ending lends an unusual edge to the book. Loads of different techniques and approaches to the task in hand, maintaining the interest in a book where frequently very litte is actually happening. James Ellroy is not a fantastic crime writer. He is a fantastic WRITER with such a vast array of abilities as shown in the variety of his work; from a straight crime novel 'Clandestine' to the conspiracy theorising of 'American Tabloid' to this autobiographical tale of a boy who lost his mother.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the past few months I have devoured everything Ellroy has written, but somehow I insisted on keeping this one for last, and I am glad I did!

The Hilliker curse was beautiful, but had more of a narrative. This book is harder, colder, less satisfying, but ‘truer’ perhaps.

There is no straight narrative or happy ending, just a man facing up to his question, and throughout, taming and warming up to the memory of his mother.

A beautiful book, which I strongly recommend!
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