My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a bummer.
Yes, because the rest of Ellroy’s writing is full of joie de vivre, right?
Nope. This is a complete bummer. But it’s essential if you’ve enjoyed any of his work in the past, because this book is an honest, gruelling examined of how he became who he is. If you’ve ever had a feeling there were some weird peccadilloes in his writing, they’re at least ameliorated a little here.
The book chiefly concerns three people: Ellroy’s mother, Jean Hilliker, Ellroy himself and Bill Stoner, a detective. Each is separately considered – first Hilliker’s murder; Ellroy’s childhood and adolescence; Stoner’s work as an investigator – but latterly combine when Stoner and Ellroy reopen the unsolved case. It’s part confessional, part police-procedural and part ghoulish tourism. (more…)