Friday, 3 February 2017

Dull snaps and tedious text

Like several other reviewers I was disappointed with this book. The premise turns out to be very thin, police snaps from LA are probably not too different from any other large city and as these are photos of record any artistic interpretation is more or less forbidden. I was attracted to the title because of James Ellroy, a master of the LA crime writing genre but I found his text rather tiresome though he didn't have much to go on with these photos.

Ellroy wasn't able to create sparkling fiction in these pages, instead he delivers a rather threadbare hip style of writing with short tabloid style sentences and the vocabulary of thirties hard-boiled 'tec paperback fiction. Here's an example:

Bunker Hill is gone now. Bunker hill shabbily thrived in 1953. It was slated for ultimate bulldozing then -- because LA had to build up and out.There were terraced hillsides full of flophouses. They were inhabited by rumdums, hopheads, slatterns, pachucos, fruit hustlers, cough syrup guzzlers and hermaphrodite he-shes. The cribs had to go. The denizens, ditto. Urban expansion beckoned. Development gelt speaks big bucks. Check that dead ginch sprawled in the weeds on West 4th Street. It looks like a sex-snuff snapped by Weegee.

The book must have been a breeze for Ellroy to write, no need for dialogue, a carefully crafted plot, credible characters as in his fiction. As a book I'll get my roscoe and put a slug through it.

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