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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Originally published in 1984, the second volume in James Ellroy's trilogy of novels featuring the brilliant and outspoken LAPD Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins is a noir classic. In Because the Night, Hopkins matches wits with a criminal mastermind in a bloody battle that will push the already unstable investigator "beyond the beyond."
Those who know Doctor John "The Night Tripper" Havilland see him as a self-made spiritual guru, a maverick psychologist who caters to those at the extremes of Southern California society -- from the disaffected rich to the impoverished poor. But when Hopkins, investigating a botched liquor store robbery that left three dead, runs across Havilland in his inquiries, he too gets pulled into the doctor's evil plans. A master of manipulation and mind control, Havilland quickly finds Hopkins's weakness: beautiful women in need of protection. With the help of drop-dead-gorgeous prostitute in his thrall, the deranged doctor draws Hopkins into a winner-take-all match of wits that includes missing cops, brainwashed killers -- and lots of dead people.
Set on the sleazy streets of Los Angeles and featuring a plethora of unsavory characters -- prostitutes, drug fiends, pimps, thugs, psychos, et al. -- Ellroy's three Hopkins novels (Blood on the Moon, Because the Night, and Suicide Hill) are archetypal contemporary crime fiction. Ingeniously narrated in tightly woven, brutally realistic vignettes and filled with profoundly moving (and sometimes sardonic) metaphors and symbolism. Because the Night is as much crime fiction as it is literary fiction. Intense, abrasive, and compelling, this is Ellroy at his very best. Paul Goat Allen