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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you all kidding me?
The book is a masterpiece and I can't understand that the critical faculties ofthe reviewers have taken a day off.It's his usual nearly incomprehensible and weird story line,but can this boy write? Astonishing breadth of event and character in post war American political and military machinations.Gobsmackingly good.
Published on 12 Nov 2011 by henrymiller the second

versus
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A course of American Tabloid methadone
Short version: good read, but not as good as American Tabloid (the first instalment in the trilogy).

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Long version:

I came to James Ellroy via American Tabloid, and I found it fascinating. There seemed to be an almost electric hum in his style with its many viewpoints, journal-like entries, inserts from low-life slur-rags and the rest...
Published on 26 July 2010 by M. Sundström


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A course of American Tabloid methadone, 26 July 2010
By 
M. Sundström (Lund, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
Short version: good read, but not as good as American Tabloid (the first instalment in the trilogy).

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Long version:

I came to James Ellroy via American Tabloid, and I found it fascinating. There seemed to be an almost electric hum in his style with its many viewpoints, journal-like entries, inserts from low-life slur-rags and the rest. If Charles Bukowski chronicled the nether regions of America, then this seemed to be the same restless drivers at work on major movers and shakers - and the upper crust certainly seemed just as prone to follow base instincts. The many prominent historical figures and spliced-in historical events boosted the effect further. It was hard to follow the many twists and turns, but that too provided raw nerve. It was one hectic ride, and a class-A reading experience.

I then read most of Ellroy's corpus, and while most books were good, some very good, they never really reached the heights of American Tabloid, and they seemed slowly but steadily to grow worse. Then I read A Cold Six Thousand, purportedly a sequel to AT. I couldn't finish it - Ellroy seemed to have reached the end of a stylistic cul-de-sac where he had pared down individual sentences to an absolute minimum (three word sentences seemed to his desired and often attained norm). It was thus with some trepidation I picked up Blood's a Rover, which was labelled the third instalment in the American Tabloid trilogy.

Stylistically we recognise American Tabloid. It is a pan-american vista dotted with famous figures, and their many quirks and weaknesses. Journal entries and quick cuts between characters and sub-plots provide the familiar restlessness. But it must at the same time be said that it is a weaker reproduction of its great forebear. Compared to the high-power Cuban sub-plots in AT, the Caribbean excursions in Blood's a Rover seem weak and inconsequential. Most major characters are less extreme, but are at the same time less interesting (even mob-figures seem unduly watered down). Supplementary inserts carry less authenticity and less energy. This is a methadone kick - not the real thing.

Paradoxically, I think that Ellroy's development as an author can be blamed. The characters in AT were in many cases one-dimensional freaks. The 6'3'' men willing and capable of killing anyone with their bare hands (and with no remorse) are, with few exceptions, gone, and so are their similarly unswerving and unsophisticated ambitions. Much has been made of the fact that Ellroy now lets "strong women" into his stories. In my opinion these characters are often simplistically drawn (they are like the men used to be), but they do add a dimension to the way the men act and think - and they hold back their fierceness. I submit that the closer look at certain characters sometimes fails completely. From a private journal entry where a mother talks about her child: "Eleanora rules my days. She is a mighty empress and imperious ruler of my heart, as well as an exhausting bundle of ceaseless energy and need. She focuses me and deflects my actions and thoughts not directly related to her" Say what? Is this a private journal made by a parent or a medical journal made by a theoretical psychiatrist? And regrettably this is not a one-off - Ellroy falters when he tries to gauge the depths of the human heart.

American Tabloid worked so well because oafishly extreme wills and characters clashed, and sometimes crashed and burned as a result. It did not need an underpinning story - its electricity became its own story of the hind side of the American Dream. Blood's a Rover, by contrast, has as an undercurrent a specific storyline that resurfaces from time to time. This too is a sign of authorial maturity, but in my view, it does not improve the book. Sometimes a novel's very format demands a specific balance between energy and "maturity"/sophistication, and Blood's a Rover is not quite spot on, whereas American Tabloid is.

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To buy or not to buy?
The blurb informs me that this is a masterpiece, and had it not been for American Tabloid, which is far better, I might have concurred. By all means buy it and read it, but promise to buy AT first.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Style. Content. Triumph of first over second., 11 Jan 2011
By 
R. Danes (Bedford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
Ellroy. A great american writer. Genius overstates it. But a great writer. Style. That's what it's all about. I'm telling it like it is. History in fiction. The novel written as haiku. Longest sentence: 21 words. And that's a quote. And the language. I yukked. Whatever that is. Don't be English, like me. Or a second-language reader. Ellroy shags langauage. Whatever that means. Characters? Don't look for them. You won't find any. Plot. That's where it's at. Movement. Fast. Racism heavy to make it clear these guys are baaaaad. Big violence like Ellroy likes it. The more pointless the better. Lots of pages. Confused? Expect to be. But not bored. Oh no, not bored. Ellroy is a great american writer. Did I mention the repetition? I'm telling it like it is. Real people get a look in. Hoover. Reagan. Nixon. You won't recognize them. They're there to serve the plot. The plot's where it's at. Characters: cardboard isn't in it. Style. Telling it like it is. Ellroy pares down language. Reducing it. Next: the novel as full stop. Period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you all kidding me?, 12 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
The book is a masterpiece and I can't understand that the critical faculties ofthe reviewers have taken a day off.It's his usual nearly incomprehensible and weird story line,but can this boy write? Astonishing breadth of event and character in post war American political and military machinations.Gobsmackingly good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ellroys Blood's A Rover, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
The first Ellroy book i read, marvelous, interesting about who's who in fifties-sixties-seventies USA (did I recall the decennia right?). Anyway, great stuff, recommended so we understand what's going on in US and, in fact, in Ukraine, Syria, right now,,,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grower, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Kindle Edition)
After American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand this felt like a disappointment (JFK, MLK, RFK all dead, Hoover on the wane), but when I read all there again it came out as possibly the best of the three for the same reasons. Freed from the need to illuminate the horrible truths of history the first two books cover it arcs off into pure storytelling, and it is fabulous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ellroy does black power, 17 Jun 2012
By 
J. S. Dixon "Jeremy Dixon" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
This book gives the Ellroy treatment to The Black Panthers, Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover. It has a lot of Elroy's trademark tics - short punchy sentences, extreme violence and central characters getting bumped off before the end of the book.

The book centres on corrupt cops and radical black power groups and it is sometimes hard to know where Ellroy's sympathies lie. Whilst several characters are clearly racist, the narration itself has a tendency to refer to black areas by descriptions like "darktown" and "coonsville". I suspect that this ambiguity is deliberate, although it does make you wonder what point Ellroy wishes to make. Although it is often claimed that Ellroy is "telling it like it is", his style could not be described as realism. This is particularly the case in sections where Hoover or Nixon are seen as talking to central characters, which tend to be incongruously comic. Whilst I'm sure that these figues were pleasant, they tend to come across as comic book baddies here.

Ths is a very long book which is complexly plotted but worth sticking with, although it may not appear so at first. It is often hardgoing as most chracters are seemingly immoral or amoral, but having said this, I did get swept up by the plot. Furthermore, I did think that the book had an overall point to make. Overall, worth giving time to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Baaaaaad, 25 Sep 2011
This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
Hard work in parts. Perhaps familiarity with the style that made Cold Six Thousand a sordid yet compelling read leaves the reader less inclined to be dazzled by style alone. What more about the chimera of the Great American Dream is Ellroy hoping here to expose, however breathlessly, however brilliantly? Some sympathy for the characters would help, particularly in a novel as inexplicably long as this. But nothing doing there. And yet stick with it; there is the hope of redemption for the cast, if only in death, there is some arch humour, some explosive cinematic action and there is in the end the simple, touching realisation that, at the conclusion of his nihilistic howl, Ellroy is a very clever boy missing his Mum.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "CLAY LIES STILL, BUT BLOOD IS A ROVER", 1 Jan 2010
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blood's a Rover (Hardcover)
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, America is a lie, wrapped up in a deception, inside a thin shell of morality. And James Ellroy keeps taping that shell, testing for weak-points and showing us it is hollow. Do you have the stomach to see what they have been feeding us all this time?

DIG IT: any bootlegger's son can become the President - assassination will automatically activate sanctification. Organized crime does not exist - but that never stopped it from running the country. And elections are not easy to fix - but in any case easier to fix than the World Series.
DOCUMENT INSERT: the most powerful man fighting Communism is a cross-dressing director with a wiretap fetish - morality standards and irony galore. Dominican Republic is the new location-location-location for blackjack-tables and chorus-line girls - if el Jefe can thwart the voodoo-slaves from revolting. And Tricky Dick's price is 5 million - uncontrolled scatology at no extra charge.
CAREFUL NOW: infiltrate means collaborate; collaborate means condone; condone means finance; finance means plan; plan means precipitate - at which point did the investigation turn into instigation?

This is the third installment of the American-Underbelly trilogy (the masterpiece American Tabloid being the first and the excellent The Cold Six Thousand being the second). One does not necessarily have to read them in succession - but it surely helps. This is not an easy read, the story will serpent back and eat any one of its multiple tails, more than once. A second reading is recommended. And it will up the pixel-count of the images projected. In CinemaScope and Technicolor.

As the trilogy goes, this is the weakest of the three books, mostly because Ellroy hesitated in taking up major players with his brush painting the picture. Hoover and Nixon make cameo appearances - and sprinkles cannot be as filling as a square meal. I also missed the cool tabloid excerpts. The story is dark enough, some direct humor (even of the hush-hush kind) could be used.
Other than that, expect the familiar hard-boiled noir story. Where men are complicated and cruel yet witty and dames are desirable and decisive yet in constant distress. And no one is innocent.

There be time enough to sleep. For now, let James tell you (almost) everything.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sad its come to an end. Magnificent trilogy, 6 Jan 2014
This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
Ignore some of the poor reviews on here, the book is an absolute gem and a great conclusion to a majestic trilogy. Great collection of flawed characters here and some great dark moments! Great piece of Americana by one of the best writers around. American Tabloid, the first of the trilogy is the best, a five star that one with The Cold Six Thousand and Bloods a Rover both four star sequels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too long and not long enough, 21 Mar 2012
This review is from: Blood's A Rover (Paperback)
I wanted this to keep going. The end jump is too quick for me. The getting there inspired.
The book creates some wonderful fiction, interspersing characters and history with a scorching rakes progress style that is often (as previously) breathtaking.
The after Cuba excursions and investments are scary and hilarious. The various loops, double, triple and self crosses of the three main protaginists work (until what I feel is the rushed end).
Therefore = Excellent (till the very end where it loses a star). Sorry Mr E but looking forward to any future instalments / work.
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Blood's A Rover
Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy (Paperback - 3 Jun 2010)
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