I've been aware of James Ellroy's reputation as an influential author of LA noir fiction for some time but had never read any of his books until this one (though I had seen the film version of LA Confidential). As a former Angeleno who loves LA history and who loves certain genres of mystery (Scandinavian crime fiction in particular), I was hopeful about This Story, as it's set during WWII.
But I've given it 150 pages (out of a whopping 577), and I can barely force myself to keep reading. The issue isn't Ellroy's writing, which is very terse ad staccato, and not really my thing, but the fact that I have yet to encounter a single sympathetic character in the entire book. They're all corrupt and self-serving, and there are so many that Ellroy supplies a Dramatis Personae at the end to help readers keep them all straight. That's a lot of corruption.
It's hard to provide any kind of synopsis because the story is very episodic, and there are so many threads to the plot, including dirty LA cops and politicians, Mexican state police, Chinese proprietors of opium dens, Japanese gangsters, real or imagined, and various real-life characters like William Parker, Fletcher Bowron and Orson Welles. Plus hangers-on.
If you're already an Ellroy fan, perhaps you'll enjoy this, but it was decidedly not my taste, and I didn't see the point of devoting more time to it than I already had. I'm disappointed. I'd wanted to like it more.
- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone (30 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0434020583
- ISBN-13: 978-0434020584
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.1 x 24 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 980 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)