JAMES ELLROY: THE REAL PULP FICTION

JAMES ELLROY CALLS HIS RUDE, VIOLENT, BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AMERICAN TABLOID A SEWER CRAWL THROUGH HISTORY. HIS OWN LIFE HAS BEEN NO WALK IN THE PARK

A FEW YEARS AGO, JAMES ELLROY picked up a copy of Libra, Don DeLillo's 1988 fictional meditation on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At the time, Ellroy was a writer with a growing cult reputation; his crime novels, set in his native Los Angeles--The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential--had shown up on paperback best-seller lists and inspired much chatter among mystery fans: here was a guy who had pushed the genre way, way past hardboiled, into the realm of the terminally scalded. Ellroy seemed set on a path toward at least a shot at the ambition he had...

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