'Ellroy satisfyineg dissects glamour and glitz and the whole Tinseltown nightmare. 'LA’, he says, 'is where you go when you want to be somebody else.‘ Ian Rankin

‘white-trash postgrads’. His cop friend is Bill Stoner. who features in the confessional My Dark Places. helping Ellroy in the investigation of his mother's murder. Crime Wave calls itself ‘reportage and fiction from the underside of LA'. In reality. it‘s a collection of disparate essays and stories. mostly culled from American (IQ.

There are a few pieces on unsolved murders. including that of his mother. a terrific take on the OJ. Simpson case. notes on a school reunion. and a sampling of his attitude towards the film of LA Confidential (the book is dedicated to director Curtis Hanson).

In the OJ. Simpson section. Ellroy satisfyineg dissects glamour and glitz and

Ian Rankin

the whole 'l‘inseltown nightmare. 'l.:\'. he says. ‘is where you go when you want to he somebody else’. which seryes also as commentary on his LA noyels. filled with fake movie stars. hustlers. shysters and heat cops. It might explain why l-illroy. Los Angeles horn. now makes his home in the unlikely setting of Kansas. a place which. eyer since The ll'izunl ()f 0:. has come to represent all that's most ordinary and stable in American life.

A couple of pieces ahout musician l)ick (‘ontino will come as old news to fans who bought Dick ('(mn'nn's Blues. but the real cream in this collection comes in a section headed ‘(ietchell'. two long stories about Hush-Hush magazine's prime dirt-digger

(remember Danny l)e\'ito in [A

Confidential?). and involying the likes of Rock Hudson. I’rank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr. This is profane. scurrilous stuff. and part of lillroy‘s success is surely down to the material that's ayailahle to him. Can anyone seriously imagine a heist story inyolying Rikki Fulton and Andy Stewart'.’

iillroy is in love with the language of the street. and he Iiyes to entertain. But he is a passionate writer. too. This new collection exhihits playfulness and serious intent in equal measure. and whets the appetite for Volume two of his projected ( 'm/ern'm'ld (182-1 trilogy.

James Ellroy's Crime Wave is published by Century on Thu 4 Mar, priced £15.99.

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