Thursday, October 18, 2012

Finally Got To: "Blood's A Rover" by James Ellroy

Finally Got To: Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy, 2009, 9780679403937.

Took me three years to finally get to this.  Ellroy's novels are usually so dense and byzantine I put this off.  When I did get to reading this I took a while to finish because I like to have time to read more than a couple pages. I want to concentrate on what I am taking in.

This was not as good as previous novels.  I cannot explain why.  Maybe the characters were not as interesting to me.  Maybe I waited too long and my expectations were too high.  Even so, this was pretty good.

Post JFK, RFK, and MLK murders and Dwight Holly and Wayne Tedrow are still in play and still doing evil shit.  Holly is tasked by the hateful and vile J. Edgar to undermine the black militant movement. Holly needs to find a couple people to go undercover with the local Los Angeles militant groups.  Tedrow has killed his evil father in Las Vegas and started working for the Howard 'Dracula' Hughes.  Wayne and Holly start working together again.

Don Crutchfield is 23-years-old (or so) and a window peeper.  Crutch works for PIs in Los Angeles as an on-call driver for divorce cases.  Crutch helps a wealthy dentist and known right-winger in finding a gal who ripped him off for several thousand.  Crutch digs older women. Crutch's mother ran off when Crutch was a kid.  Crutch's dad is a drunken, live-on-the-street bum.  Crutch tries to follow the gal, Celia, and slides into Wayne's orbit.

Crutch starts working with Wayne and the evil Frog who was the triggerman on the JFK hit.  Frog is a Fidel hating nut.  The mob want more southern casinos and focus on the Dominican Republic (DR).  Holly's female spy is a Red.  Her name is Joan.  Joan and Celia are tied into the DR and Haiti and Red Revolution.

Holly's black guy spy is a LA cop, Marsh.  Marsh and LA Detective and Happy-Shooter-of-Robbers Scotty both have a yearning to solve a famous armored car robbery that left several people dead.  Both guys want the stolen cash and emeralds.

All these things run together as the characters move across Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  They are all chasing each other and do not always know it.  The reader often sees the missing links but Ellroy slowly parses out the details.  His characters always change, sometimes making a 180 degreee turn - they do so here with Wayne and Holly.

1. Ellroy writes short sentences.  I love Ellroy's writing.  I love Ellroy's pacing.  I love Ellroy's slang. I love Ellroy's humor.
2.  The late sixties and early seventies setting did not draw me in like the JFK era novels, or Ellroy's 1950s novels.  He peppers his story with the usual fact and fiction.  Real characters like Sonny Liston, Hoover, Sam Giancana, Hughes.
3.  Ellroy is always worth a read.
4. Character Pete Bondurat - the gigantic French Canadian goon has retired. and barely appears.
5.  Most everyone dies in the end.  Most everyone deserves it for one reason or another.

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