Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blood's A Rover

So I've finished Blood's A Rover and I am happy to say that my initial enthusiasm carried throughout the entire read. I was so sad to see it finish, which is rare for a crime novel. While I tend to think the best crime novels are the equal of the best litfic, there are those that disagree. Genre snobs should consider the book a literary work and note that while its story line is like that of a thriller, the depth of character, the singular use of language and syntax and the emotional depth of the story will win over the more effete readers. Unless of course you can't stand the over the top vulgarity.

Past fans of Ellroy will note many consistencies with his earlier books. There are a pair of men with a complicated relationship who weave back and forth across the good and evil line. There is an unsolved crime scene around which much of the plot revolves, although it is often unclear why. There is the uneasy sense that the power structure is completely corrupt and there is little chance for hope for the good.

If you want to scare yourself this Halloween, but don't like traditional horror stories, you should pick this up. All the conspiracy theories that nagged you about the 60s and early 70s are true. What's more, in Ellroy's dark world, no one is truly innocent. The left is populated by the deluded, the self-important, the idiotic and the ineffectual. The right is populated by a range of terrifying monsters perfectly happy to grind up anyone in their path. The path chosen by the book's few survivors makes perfect sense after the hell they have been through.

My only regret after reading the book is my fear that Ellroy now has no place to go. He has completed his major work started with the Black Dahlia, the first in the LA Quartet and continued with the Underground America trilogy. His story line has been so epic for so long, I am not sure how he goes back to simpler plots or how he would continue this story. My only solace is that his creativity and vision are strong enough to do just about anything.

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