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Secret History Lessons

James Ellroy, the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction", is probably best known as the writer behind the novel "LA Confidential" which was turned into a 1997 Academy Award nominated film. While LA Confidential is a fantastic novel (even better than the stellar film), it's not Ellroy's strongest work, at least not in this writer's opinion.

Ellroy's best work has to be the American Underworld Trilogy. The trilogy consists of three novels American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and the long-awaited Blood's a Rover, which concludes the trilogy and is released next month. In each of these novels readers swim along with a number of protagonists (some are lawmen and lawmakers, some are lawbreakers, and some are both), in the various strong and sinister currents of American history. Each novel has these fictional characters bumping into and up against some of the major players in America's past like J Edgar Hoover, John F Kennedy, Howard Hughes, Lee Harvey Oswald, and many of the biggest names in Organized Crime.

"American Tabloid" covers 1958-1963. It ends on a certain "fateful" day in Dallas. "The Cold Six Thousand" picks up almost immediately after the events of the Kennedy assassination and runs till 1973, following such things as the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations. And "Blood's a Rover" will look at things from 1968-1973 tackling things the death of J. Edgar Hoover and the administration of President Richard Nixon.

Each of these novels are epic in length and immensely satisfying. So if you like you're historical fiction blended with the morally murky elements of crime and noir fiction, the books in James Ellroy's American Underworld Trilogy are literary cocktails that you'll definitely enjoy