The Cold Six Thousand (American Underworld Trilogy #2)

( 23 )

Overview

In this savagely audacious novel, James Ellroy plants a pipe bomb under the America in the 1960s, lights the fuse, and watches the shrapnel fly. On November 22, 1963 three men converge in Dallas. Their job: to clean up the JFK hit’s loose ends and inconvenient witnesses. They are Wayne Tedrow, Jr., a Las Vegas cop with family ties to the lunatic right; Ward J. Littell, a defrocked FBI man turned underworld mouthpiece; and Pete Bondurant, a dope-runner and hit-man who serves as ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$14.26
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (66) from $1.99   
  • New (17) from $9.21   
  • Used (49) from $1.99   
The Cold Six Thousand: Underworld USA 2

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

In this savagely audacious novel, James Ellroy plants a pipe bomb under the America in the 1960s, lights the fuse, and watches the shrapnel fly. On November 22, 1963 three men converge in Dallas. Their job: to clean up the JFK hit’s loose ends and inconvenient witnesses. They are Wayne Tedrow, Jr., a Las Vegas cop with family ties to the lunatic right; Ward J. Littell, a defrocked FBI man turned underworld mouthpiece; and Pete Bondurant, a dope-runner and hit-man who serves as the mob’s emissary to the anti-Castro underground.

It goes bad from there. For the next five years these night-riders run a whirlwind of plots and counter-plots: Howard Hughes’s takeover of Vegas, J. Edgar Hoover’s war against the civil rights movement, the heroin trade in Vietnam, and the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Wilder than L. A. Confidential, more devastating than American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand establishes Ellroy as one of our most fearless novelists.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
James Ellroy's aptly named American Tabloid was a gaudy, audacious account of crime, scandal, and politics that ended in Dallas on November 22, 1963, seconds before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Cold Six Thousand begins just minutes later and takes us on a wild, surreal ride through the period of violence, trauma, and civil unrest that followed in the wake of Kennedy's death. Like its predecessor, The Cold Six Thousand is an astonishing book, the largest, most ambitious work to date by our greatest living crime writer.

The story begins when Las Vegas policeman Wayne Tedrow Jr. arrives in Dallas. Kennedy is dead, Oswald is in custody, and turmoil reigns. Wayne arrives bearing $6,000 in bounty money, his fee for the projected execution of fugitive criminal Wendell Durfee. Against a backdrop of escalating chaos, Wayne succeeds in locating Durfee and then permits him to escape, a decision that will haunt him in the years to come. At the same time, he finds himself caught up in the brutal aftermath of the Kennedy killing. In an act of synchronicity that will alter his life, Wayne falls under the influence of two of the assassination's principal conspirators, Pete Bondurant and Ward J. Littell.

Bondurant, a former employee of Howard Hughes, is a pimp, drug dealer, hit man, and extortionist. Littell is a former FBI agent who now works for Jimmy Hoffa and assorted members of the Mob. He is a man driven by massive contradictions and by his increasing desire for personal redemption. Ellroy follows Wayne, Littell, and Bondurant as they make their way -- sometimes in concert, sometimes individually, -- through the twisted history of the 1960s. The sprawling narrative ranges from Dallas to Cuba, from Washington to the Klan-dominated South, from Las Vegas to Vietnam. Along the way, Ellroy illuminates the arcane world of organized crime, the inner workings of the Southeast Asia heroin trade, and the virulent racism that characterized the era. He also examines, in speculative but plausible fashion, the forces he believes responsible for the back-to-back assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Cold Six Thousand is told in Ellroy's patented staccato style, a style that delivers huge amounts of information without pausing for breath or wasting a word. With almost effortless authority, Ellroy merges his convoluted fictional scenario with the actual material of modern history. In the process he creates a memorable gallery of real and imagined characters, including such grotesque, stranger-than-fiction figures as the demented, drug-addicted Howard Hughes and the rabid, racist, dictatorial schemer J. Edgar Hoover. The result is an authentically nightmarish vision that transcends the limits of traditional crime fiction, offering us a portrait of our recent past that is disturbing, compelling, convincing, and absolutely impossible to put aside. (Bill Sheehan)

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).

From the Publisher
“Ellroy rips into American culture like a chainsaw in an abbatoir. . . . Pick it up if you dare; put it down if you can.” –Time

“A wild ride. . . . An American political underbelly teeming with conspiracy and crime. . . . So hard-boiled you could chip a tooth on it.” –The New York Times Book Review

“A ripping read....the book is pure testosterone.” –The Plain Dealer

“A great and terrible book about a great and terrible time in America.” –The Village Voice

Playboy
[A] mesmerizing nightmare of gangdom's power and glory....With riveting style and substance, Cold Six is Ellroy's biggest score.
From The Critics
This is the finest novel of its kind to come out in 2001 and, if there is any order in the universe, it will run off with all the cookies. Ellroy's breathtaking style—Charles Bukowski-meets-Oliver Stone-perfectly complements his last three novels (all of which fictionalize recent American history). His latest bold and masterful book follows a group of men who manipulate (and are manipulated by) political and social events from the day JFK is assassinated in Dallas through the assassination of his brother, Robert Kennedy. The intricate plot ties together not only both assassinations, but the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, organized crime, you name it. The main characters are Wayne Tedrow Jr., a Vegas cop whose daddy is a publisher of right-wing tracts; Pete Bondurant, ex-CIA gadfly and brilliant mastermind; and Ward Littell, ex-FBI agent and lawyer for both the mob and Howard Hughes. Stringing together all these historical events is an audacious undertaking, even if the history itself is not always true. When you read Ellroy's book, you become hypnotized by his compelling, staccato sentences; you enter completely into another world, where language owns reality and where the novel's reality owns you.
—Randy Michael Signor

(Excerpted Review)
Publishers Weekly
Clipped, stylized, hard-nosed and repetitive, this novel cuts like a dark, 24-hour Beat poem and sounds like Jack Webb on crack. Ellroy's latest noir tale is full of his trademark violence, sex and rough language. Readers follow five years in the life of Las Vegas police officer Wayne Tedrow Jr., who begins the novel making a trip to Dallas to kill a pimp for $6,000. From there, Tedrow is inadvertently mixed up with practically every cultural and political event and figure of the 1960s: Vietnam, Cuba, the Kennedy assassinations, Oswald, Ruby, Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray, Sonny Liston, mobster Carlos Marcellos, Martin Luther King Jr. and J. Edgar Hoover. Craig Wasson does an excellent job of translating the written page into a day-length rap of short phrases, peppering listeners with rapid cuts and jabs until they are exhausted yet exhilarated. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ellroy's latest novel looks at the dark side of American life during the 1960s, focusing on a Las Vegas police officer, Wayne Tedrow Jr., and his inadvertent role in the cover-up of John F. Kennedy's assassination. The narrative spans a five-year period and traces Tedrow's dealings with the Mafia, the Ku Klux Klan, and various political and cultural icons of that time period. Ellroy's fast-paced tale takes the reader on a breathtaking ride through the underbelly of America. It is readable yet complex in its character development and critical examination of U.S. public policy. Like most of Ellroy's works among them L.A. Confidential and The Crime Wave it is graphic in its description of violence and should be reserved for a mature audience. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Thomas Auger, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Picking up roughly where American Tabloid left off, Ellroy's big, ambitious new novel, bristling with violence, rockets through the 1960s naming names and weaving a terrifyingly believable tale of linked conspiracies in the three assassinations that shook America to the core. This is Plymouth Rock turned over after three centuries to expose the creatures wriggling in the dark beneath the surface of the American Dream. Ellroy begins with JFK's murder and cover-up, which inadvertently involve Wayne Tendrow, a Las Vegas cop with a wobbly moral compass and a love/hate relationship with his wealthy, controlling, right-wing, racist father. Wayne encounters two characters reappearing from American Tabloid: Ward Littell, ex–FBI agent, lawyer to the mob and to Howard Hughes, is a disillusioned closet liberal described as "lugging a Jesus Cross in his sewer"; Pete Bondurant, ex-CIA and current mob enforcer, is rabidly anti-Communist and anti-Castro. Through the perspectives and actions of these three men, the story tracks the complex convergence of interests among organized crime, the right-wing establishment, the KKK, and elements of the CIA and FBI that led to the three assassinations. Intertwined subplots describe Howard Hughes's takeover of Vegas hotels and casinos, CIA trafficking in heroin during the Vietnam War, Cuban gunrunning, and covert FBI manipulation of the civil-rights movement. The large cast includes a wonderfully arch and sinister J. Edgar Hoover, Jack Ruby, Guy Banister, Sal Mineo, Bayard Rustin, Sonny Liston, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, and several mobsters, real and imagined. Ellroy's style and pace are blistering as always, although it must be said that the unrelenting and occasionally gratuitous violence at the periphery of his main story sometimes undercuts the larger horrors he describes. A chilling tapestry of fact and fiction, an exhilarating read, and an informed, deeply disturbing speculation regarding the ties between criminals and America's shadow government.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375727405
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/11/2002
  • Series: American Underworld Trilogy , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 362,034
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Part I
EXTRADITION
November 22-25, 1963
1
Wayne Tedrow Jr.
(Dallas, 11/22/63)
They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it.
The Casino Operators Council flew him. They supplied first-class fare. They tapped their slush fund. They greased him. They fed him six cold.
Nobody said it:
Kill that coon. Do it good. Take our hit fee.
The flight ran smooth. A stew served drinks. She saw his gun. She played up. She asked dumb questions.
He said he worked Vegas PD. He ran the intel squad. He built files and logged information.
She loved it. She swooned.
"Hon, what you doin' in Dallas?"
He told her.
A Negro shivved a twenty-one dealer. The dealer lost an eye. The Negro booked to Big D. She loved it. She brought him highballs. He omitted details.
The dealer provoked the attack. The council issued the contract-death for ADW Two.
The preflight pep talk. Lieutenant Buddy Fritsch:
"I don't have to tell you what we expect, son. And I don't have to add that your father expects it, too."
The stew played geisha girl. The stew fluffed her beehive.
"What's your name?"
"Wayne Tedrow."
She whooped. "You just have to be Junior!"
He looked through her. He doodled. He yawned.
She fawned. She just loooooved his daddy. He flew with her oodles. She knew he was a Mormon wheel. She'd looove to know more.
Wayne laid out Wayne Senior.
He ran a kitchen-help union. He rigged low pay. He had coin. He had pull. He pushed right-wing tracts. He hobnobbed with fat cats. He knew J. Edgar Hoover.
The pilot hit the intercom. Dallas-on time.
The stew fluffed her hair. "I'll bet you're staying at the Adolphus."
Wayne cinched his seat belt. "What makes you say that?"
"Well, your daddy told me he always stays there."
"I'm staying there. Nobody consulted me, but that's where they've got me booked."
The stew hunkered down. Her skirt slid. Her garter belt gapped.
"Your daddy told me they've got a nice little restaurant right there in the hotel, and, well . . ."
The plane hit rough air. Wayne caught it low. He broke a sweat. He shut his eyes. He saw Wendell Durfee.
The stew touched him. Wayne opened his eyes.
He saw her hickeys. He saw her bad teeth. He smelled her shampoo.
"You were looking a little scared there, Wayne Junior."
"Junior" tore it.
"Leave me alone. I'm not what you want, and I don't cheat on my wife."
1:50 p.m.
They touched down. Wayne got off first. Wayne stamped blood back into his legs.
He walked to the terminal. Schoolgirls blocked the gate. One girl cried. One girl fucked with prayer beads.
He stepped around them. He followed baggage signs. People walked past him. They looked sucker-punched.
Red eyes. Boo-hoo. Women with Kleenex.
Wayne stopped at baggage claim. Kids whizzed by. They shot cap pistols. They laughed.
A man walked up-Joe Redneck-tall and fat. He wore a Stetson. He wore big boots. He wore a mother-of-pearl .45.
"If you're Sergeant Tedrow, I'm Officer Maynard D. Moore of the Dallas Police Department."
They shook hands. Moore chewed tobacco. Moore wore cheap cologne. A woman walked by-boo-hoo-hoo-one big red nose.
Wayne said, "What's wrong?"
Moore smiled. "Some kook shot the President."
Most shops closed early. State flags flew low. Some folks flew rebel flags upright.
Moore drove Wayne in. Moore had a plan: Run by the hotel/get you set in/find us that jigaboo.
John F. Kennedy-dead.
His wife's crush. His stepmom's fixation. JFK got Janice wet. Janice told Wayne Senior. Janice paid. Janice limped. Janice showed off the welts on her thighs.
Dead was dead. He couldn't grab it. He fumbled the rebounds.
Moore chewed Red Man. Moore shot juice out his window. Gunshots overlapped. Joyous shit in the boonies.
Moore said, "Some people ain't so sad."
Wayne shrugged. They passed a billboard-JFK and the UN.
"You sure ain't sayin' much. I got to say that so far, you ain't the most lively extradition partner I ever had."
A gun went off. Close. Wayne grabbed his holster.
"Whoo! You got a case of the yips, boy!"
Wayne futzed with his necktie. "I just want to get this over with."
Moore ran a red light. "In good time. I don't doubt that Mr. Durfee'll be sayin' hi to our fallen hero before too long."
Wayne rolled up his window. Wayne trapped in Moore's cologne.
Moore said, "I been to Lost Wages quite a few times. In fact, I owe a big marker at the Dunes this very moment."
Wayne shrugged. They passed a bus bench. A colored girl sobbed.
"I heard of your daddy, too. I heard he's quite the boy in Nevada."
A truck ran a red. The driver waved a beer and revolver.
"Lots of people know my father. They all tell me they know him, and it gets old pretty quick."
Moore smiled. "Hey, I think I detect a pulse there."
Motorcade confetti. A window sign: Big D loves Jack & Jackie.
"I heard about you, too. I heard you got leanings your daddy don't much care for."
"For instance?"
"Let's try nigger lover. Let's try you chauffeur Sonny Liston around when he comes to Vegas, 'cause the PD's afraid he'll get himself in trouble with liquor and white women, and you like him, but you don't like the nice Italian folks who keep your little town clean."
The car hit a pothole. Wayne hit the dash.
Moore stared at Wayne. Wayne stared back. They held the stare. Moore ran a red. Wayne blinked first.
Moore winked. "We're gonna have big fun this weekend."
The lobby was swank. The carpets ran thick. Men snagged their boot heels.
People pointed outside-look look look-the motorcade passed the hotel. JFK drove by. JFK waved. JFK bought it close by.
People talked. Strangers braced strangers. The men wore western suits. The women dressed faux-Jackie.
Check-ins swamped the desk. Moore ad-libbed. Moore walked Wayne to the bar.
SRO-big barside numbers.
A TV sat on a table. A barman goosed the sound. Moore shoved up to a phone booth. Wayne scoped the TV out.
Folks jabbered. The men wore hats. Everyone wore boots and high heels. Wayne stood on his toes. Wayne popped over hat brims.
The picture jumped and settled in. Sound static and confusion. Cops. A thin punk. Words: "Oswald"/"weapon"/"Red sympath-"
A guy waved a rifle. Newsmen pressed in. A camera panned. There's the punk. He's showing fear and contusions.
The noise was bad. The smoke was thick. Wayne lost his legs.
A man raised a toast. "Oughta give Oswald a-"
Wayne stood down. A woman jostled him-wet cheeks and runny mascara.
Wayne walked to the phone booth. Moore had the door cracked.
He said, "Guy, listen now."
He said, "Wet-nursing some kid on some bullshit extradition-"
"Bullshit" tore it.
Wayne jabbed Moore. Moore swung around. His pant legs hiked up.
Fuck-knives in his boot tops. Brass knucks in one sock.
Wayne said, "Wendell Durfee, remember?"
Moore stood up. Moore got magnetized. Wayne tracked his eyes.
He caught the TV. He caught a caption. He caught a still shot: "Slain Officer J. D. Tippit."
Moore stared. Moore trembled. Moore shook.
Wayne said, "Wendell Durf-"
Moore shoved him. Moore ran outside.
- - -
The council booked him a biggg suite. A bellboy supplied history. JFK loved the suite. JFK fucked women there. Ava Gardner blew him on the terrace.
Two sitting rooms. Two bedrooms. Three TVs. Slush funds. Six cold. Kill that nigger, boy.
Wayne toured the suite. History lives. JFK loved Dallas quail.
He turned the TVs on. He tuned in three channels. He caught the show three ways. He walked between sets. He nailed the story.
The punk was Lee Harvey Oswald. The punk shot JFK and Tippit. Tippit worked Dallas PD. DPD was tight-knit. Moore probably knew him.
Oswald was pro-Red. Oswald loved Fidel. Oswald worked at a schoolbook plant. Oswald clipped the Prez on his lunch break.
DPD had him. Their HQ teemed. Cops. Reporters. Camera hogs all.
Wayne flopped on a couch. Wayne shut his eyes. Wayne saw Wendell Durfee. Wayne opened his eyes. Wayne saw Lee Oswald.
He killed the sound. He pulled his wallet pix.
There's his mother-back in Peru, Indiana.
She left Wayne Senior. Late '47. Wayne Senior hit her. He broke bones sometimes.
She asked Wayne who he loved most. He said, "My dad." She slapped him. She cried. She apologized.
The slap tore it. He went with Wayne Senior.
He called his mother-May '54-he called en route to the Army. She said, "Don't fight in silly wars." She said, "Don't hate like Wayne Senior."
He cut her off. Binding/permanent/4-ever.
There's his stepmom:
Wayne Senior ditched Wayne's mom. Wayne Senior wooed Janice. Wayne Senior brought Wayne along. Wayne was thirteen. Wayne was horny. Wayne dug on Janice.
Janice Lukens Tedrow made rooms tilt. She played indolent wife. She played scratch golf. She played A-club tennis.
Wayne Senior feared her spark. She watched Wayne grow up. She torched reciprocal. She left her doors open. She invited looks. Wayne Senior knew it. Wayne Senior didn't care.
There's his wife:
Lynette Sproul Tedrow. Perched in his lap. Grad night at Brigham Young.
He's shell-shocked. He got his chem degree-BYU/'59-summa cum laude. He craved action. He joined Vegas PD. Fuck summa cum laude.
He met Lynette in Little Rock. Fall '57. Central High desegregates. Rednecks. Colored kids. The Eighty-Second Airborne.
Some white boys prowl. Some white boys snatch a colored boy's sandwich. Lynette hands him hers. The white boys attack. Corporal Wayne Tedrow Jr. counters.
He beats them down. He spears one fuck. The fuck screams, "Mommy!"
Lynette hits on Wayne. She's seventeen. He's twenty-three. He's got some college.
They fucked on a golf course. Sprinklers doused them. He told Janice all.
She said, "You and Lynette peaked early. And you probably liked the fight as much as the sex."
Janice knew him. Janice had the home-court advantage.
Wayne looked out a window. TV crews roamed. News vans double-parked. He walked through the suite. He turned off the TVs. Three Oswalds vanished.
He pulled his file. All carbons: LVPD/Dallas County Sheriff's.
Durfee, Wendell (NMI). Male Negro/DOB 6-6-27/Clark County, Nevada. 6¢4?/155.
Pander beefs-3/44 up. "Well-known dice-game habitue." No busts outside Vegas and Dallas.
"Known to drive Cadillacs."
"Known to wear flamboyant attire."
"Known to have fathered 13 children out of wedlock."
"Known to pander Negro women, white women, male homosexuals & Mexican transvestites."
Twenty-two pimp busts. Fourteen convictions. Nine child-support liens. Five bail jumps.
Cop notes: Wendell's smart/Wendell's dumb/Wendell cut that cat at Binion's.
The cat was mobbed up. The cat shanked Wendell first. The council set policy. The LVPD enforced it.
"Known Dallas County Associates":
Marvin Duquesne Settle/male Negro/Texas State custody.
Fenton "Duke" Price/male Negro/Texas State custody.
Alfonzo John Jefferson/male Negro/4219 Wilmington Road, Dallas 8, Tex. "Gambling partner of Wendell Durfee."
County Probation: (Stat. 92.04 Tex. St. Code) 9/14/60-9/14/65. Employed: Dr Pepper Bottling Plant. Note: "Subject to make fine payments for term of probation, i.e.: every 3rd Friday (Dr Pepper payday) County Prob Off."
Donnell George Lundy/male Negro/Texas State custody.
Manuel "Bobo" Herrara/male Mexican/Texas State custody.
The phone rang. Wayne grabbed it.
"Yeah?"
"It's me, son. Your new best buddy."
Wayne grabbed his holster. "Where are you?"
"Right now I'm noplace worth bein'. But you meet me at eight o'clock."
"Where?"
"The Carousel Club. You be there, and we'll find us that burrhead."
Wayne hung up. Wayne got butterflies.
Wendell, I don't want to kill you.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

Good Dog: James's Ellroy's Bark Is Worse than His Bite
From the May-June 2001 issue of Book magazine.

Wearing a beige cardigan and sporting round spectacles, James Ellroy looks about as dangerous as a college history professor. His spartan office (no computer or typewriter; he writes in longhand with a number two pencil) is in a Tudor-style home in an upscale suburb of Kansas City, Kansas, a long way from the Los Angeles jail cells he often inhabited during his teen years and early twenties. Ellroy, the author of L.A. Confidential and fourteen other books, is happily married, relaxed and calm. For a moment, it seems as if the self-professed "Demon Dog of American Literature" has been housebroken.

But when he leans forward, his brown eyes sighting in like the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, his six-foot-plus frame crowding in close to make a point, it's clear that anyone who doesn't want to get wounded better stay out of the line of fire.

Ellroy often punctuates his conversations with sound effects that are as sharp as the violence in his books. "Boom!" he says, tearing into a dissertation on his new novel, The Cold Six Thousand. "First two sentences of the book: 'They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it.' What have you got? You've got a horrible situation. You've got a young man of great ambivalence, you've got 'nigger' in the first sentence. That's a warning: You don't like it? You want PC? Get yourself another book, 'cause you ain't gonna find it here."

That's more like it. That's "The Dog" (as his close friends call him) that longtime fans and readers know. Ellroy, fifty-two, is famous for his readings and appearances, where he's been known to call his readers and fans perverts and panty sniffers. His onstage high jinks have ranged from howling out loud to simulating masturbation. In the past, worries about offending potential readers were dismissed with offhanded and profane remarks. And his telephone answering machine greeted people by announcing him as the "Demon Dog of Crime Fiction." Eventually, the greeting was modified to the "Demon Dog of American Literature." These days, it's simply, "This is James Ellroy. Leave a message after the tone."

Perhaps with literary legacies in mind, Ellroy seems to be more reticent about his larger-than-life public persona. He has been purposefully separating himself from the constraints of genre fiction, stating that he is trying to destroy genre strictures and that he'll never write another book that can be categorized as crime fiction. "If you have to subdivide me as a novelist," he says, "I would say I'm a historical novelist."

Ellroy's own history reads like something out of one his novels: His mother, whom he despised, was murdered when he was only ten years old; he spent years popping drugs, living on the streets, and committing petty crimes; and finally he cleaned himself up, turning to writing as he supported himself caddying at posh L.A. country clubs.

Ellroy detailed those years and the search for his mother's killer in his candid 1996 memoir, My Dark Places. Since he debuted with Brown's Requiem in 1981, praise about the writer has come fast and furious. His early work was influenced by Dashiell Hammett and Joseph Wambaugh, and though he adopted the noir style, he blended in the social history of L.A. He calls himself a Brahms to Don DeLillo's Beethoven. Others might compare his staccato sentences and no-frills style of writing to the down-and-dirty style of Kansas City jazz. (Ellroy, who has been married to writer Helen Knode for nine years, claimed Kansas City as his new hometown after a visit to meet his future mother-in-law.)

The tough, punchy style that is Ellroy's trademark has an interesting origin. Nat Soble, Ellroy's longtime friend and agent, was ready to deliver the manuscript of L.A. Confidential in 1989 when Soble got a call from an editor at Warner Books telling him it had to be cut by 30 percent -- sight unseen -- because the size would prohibit any profits, even in paperback. When Soble made a joking remark about cutting out all the small words (ands buts), Ellroy was struck by lightning. He took the manuscript home that night and returned with a leaner book and a brand-new style. "All of a sudden we had this incredible style that matched the violence of the book," Soble recalls. "And James has never looked back since. That editor, unbeknownst to her, really helped crystallize the style that started with L.A. Confidential."

But what crystallized the Demon Dog persona? Is it all an act, or is it a vestige of days spent guarding himself from more hurt? That's anyone's guess. But Bill Stoner, the former homicide detective from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Unsolved Office whom Ellroy enlisted to help with his memoir, says Ellroy's public persona is at odds with his real personality. "When I first met him, he was so cavalier about his mother's death and his relationship with her -- I wasn't sure I even wanted to work with the guy! I could just see him going up to some eighty-year-old woman and saying, 'Hey bitch, give it up!' As it turned out, he was as gracious as can be. Looking back, in retrospect, I can see he was in shock. And as the investigation went on, I slowly watched a man fall in love with his mother. We grew closer and closer, almost like brothers. He's one of the most generous and loving people I've ever met."

Kansas City next-door neighbor Lee Major thinks the Demon Dog is just shtick, that his friend Ellroy is "a pretty straitlaced type of guy." Soble sees it a little differently. "That is his persona," he says. "If there is anything that can be done to improve his book, he will do it. If there is anything that can be done to help sell his book, he will do it." Soble believes that Ellroy is like "the underdog trying to get greater acceptance from the reading public."

"It's an expression of natural exuberance," Ellroy says. "Since I know how to perform in front of audiences, and since I'm an accomplished public speaker, then I owe it to the people who came to see me, who came out on a cold winter night or a hot summer night to get their books signed, to give them a bit of a show. Doing this disingenuous number where you hem and haw and you play inarticulate, and you stumble over your words and you do everything in your power to appear meek and humble, just isn't me. I'd rather go in there and burn the audience down, give them something to go home with." (Dorman T. Shindler)

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    i hated every page, and i like james ellroy.  so hard to read.  

    i hated every page, and i like james ellroy.  so hard to read.  so glad it's done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

    Disappointing

    I am a big fan of thrillers--like John Sandford, Kellerman, Reginald Hill. But I just didn't like the tone of this book at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2003

    Disappointing

    I've read several of Ellroy's books, including My Dark Places, the Black Dahlia, and my absolute favorite LA Confidential. The Cold Six Thousand was a huge disappointment. The overlapping and myriad story lines and the fragmented prose, which are Ellroy's trademark, stymie rather than entertain. In previous books, the characters' violence, racism, and general soullessness were essential; in Six Thousand, the progressive escalation of killing, racist language, and heartlessness felt gratuitous, and formulaic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2003

    The book braced me. The book made me geeze. I couldn't put it down...

    Cold Six Thousand was given to me as a Father's Day gift in 2003. As I fought my way through the first fifty pages, I thought, 'what the hell is this??' All of a sudden I fell in love with Big Barb (like all the other guys) and didn't put it down for the next ten hours. In the year since, I've read five more of Ellroy's works, this one a second time (regardless of what anyone tells you, read American Tabloid first, then this) and have become an unabashed fan. The characters are some of the most despicable, heartless individuals you have ever met - but you end up caring about them. After leading the lives they do, Wayne, Pete and Ward resolve things the only way they know how, in the extereme. It's a rough ride through the turbulent politics of the Sixties - one you should defiitely take.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    All I could say was, "WOW!"

    Ellroy ups the ante with this relentless piece of fiction. The characters, story lines, and plot twists come about as hard and heavy as the bullets do. Ellroy's jive-talk writing frames the story to its timeframe perfectly. This is noir at its finest! While you easily become numbed to the violence, decay, and sex(though I felt I needed to take a shower a few times to get the dirt, sweat, and blood off me), you get tied into the lead characters, who, at their basest, are just like you and me- flawed. I can't wait till the next one comes out!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2002

    Telegraph Style Results in Vague Images

    The only other piece by James Ellroy that I¿ve read is ¿Dick Contino¿s Blues¿ as reprinted in Granta so my read of The Cold Six Thousand was not influenced by American Tabloid, much mentioned in other readers¿ reviews of The Cold 6K,or any of Ellroy¿s other novels. In this novel Ellroy tells a story of such corruption that the narrative structure, if it can be called such, is corrupt. Through the telegraphed, staccato style the author¿s narrative presence simply does not exist. The entire novel is contained in the moral wasteland of its characters. There is practically no description of place in this novel. The story relies entirely on what the characters are doing. This style becomes the instrument by which untoward references to racial and ethnic groups works without casting aspersions on the author. In this way the novel is hermetically sealed off from the rest of contemporary experience and allowed to progress under its own rules. The style of writing, that frequently makes Hemmingway look like Faulkner, comes off as sketchy at best and conveys few, if any, images. Ellroy¿s style at times carries the story along but other times becomes tiresome and bogs it down. There is also a pervasive lack or clarity in this story that results both from the style and because scenes and characters change so frequently. What narrative there is is often abstract and sometimes just comes off as words placed on the page to take up space until something more interesting comes along. Maybe this is why Ellroy tells some of the story in the form of document inserts and transcripts that are printed in a different font from the rest of the novel and which sometimes offer welcome relief from the morass. Ellroy¿s storytelling techniques create distance between the reader and the novel. I always felt that I was observing the story from the outside and never entering it or becoming a part of it. One reason for this is the near absolute lack of sympathy with the characters due to their reckless moral abandon. I don¿t know anyone like the principal characters in The Cold 6K. They are like Martin Scorsese¿s gangsters who seem comfortable in a world of sudden and brutal violence.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    I love Ellroy and i love the time period that the american under

    I love Ellroy and i love the time period that the american underworld trilogy is set in! Definitely recommended. The only problem i had was that after awhile i really started getting sick of the 4 word sentences, but nonetheless a good read and although a work of fiction it is a great story for those who enjoy alternate theories on whatwent down in the 1960's 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2006

    From a New Ellroy fan

    This book has got me hooked on Ellroy. The guy is a brutal poet. This book maps the underworld of the sixties with a kinetic writing style that I loved from page one. Ellroy strips away the fluff and cuts straight to the heart of the story 3 men navigating through a dark time in u.s. history while negotiating with their own morality. The three male leads are are monstorous in their own way, but Ellroy does what he does best: makes you care about them and the women that make them tick. Gripping, violent, intense, angry, dark, relentless, amazing. Give it a shot, you might love it, you might hate it, but I have a feeling you'll get your money's worth either way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2002

    Unbelievable!

    This book is a solid five stars. No book has captured my full attention like this one. Ellroy's writing style is the freshest of our time. An unequivocal masterpiece. I await impatiently the next work from Ellroy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2002

    Did You People Really Read This 'Book'?

    I am amazed by the foregoing reviews and ratings. This is a good story, by a good author (I hear), but this is a book that should never have been published without major editing. His writing style is not Hemingwayesque; it's more DickandJaneesque, and it is very hard to read in that style, which adds NOTHING to the story. Enough with the three and four word sentences. Tell the story; my eyeballs nearly exploded from all the forced and unnatural stops. Do people think they have to be nice about the book because he has written good ones before. A. A. Knopf needs to hire editors, and they need to EDIT Mr. Ellroy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    Six Thousand Salute!!!

    A complex and chilling piece of literary fiction that takes you on a ride you'll never forget!! Being a first time reader of Mr. James Ellroy, I will certainly look into other ventures. Ellroy seems to have a writing style that seems simplistic, however, it weaves a web that is truly enjoyable--what novels are supposed to be, a place to immerse yourself (especially something as thrilling and as 'cold' as this)!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2001

    James Ellroy Rules

    I was able to get my hands on an Advance Copy. The Cold Six Thousand picks up right where American Tabloid ends. Ellroy slashes and burns through the next 5 years of the dark side of American history. The aftermath of the JFK assisination, as well as MLK, RFK, Heroin, the Mob, Howard Hughes and Vegas all feature prominently. Our old friends Pete B. and Ward L. are back, and the Demon Dog introduces a new anti-hero Wayne Tedrow. I can't wait for Police Gazette. Hopefully it won't be another 5 years.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2001

    Finally

    American Tabloid was the first Ellroy book that I read. My immediate reaction was to start reading his other books. After A.T. I read White Jazz. It was the only Ellroy book available at the bookstore. I struggled through it. Then I did more research and started reading his books in order from the earliest works through the later. I've been waiting for The Cold Six Thousand since 1995. The style is more like White Jazz than American Tabloid. I love it as White Jazz is my personal favorite. The other reviews tell you what this book is about. I'm telling you to buy it. There will not be a finer work of literature to come out in 2001 and probably will not be again until Ellroy finishes and has published the next volume in this series. So when is that going to happen?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2001

    Awesome

    In his newest edition to his Underworld USA Trilogy (beginning with American Tabloid) James Ellroy takes the stakes even higher. While the first novel dealt primarily only with the events leading up to the Kennedy Assassination, The Cold Six Thousand takes the bull by the horns, spanning from the aftermath of the aforementioned assassination to Vietnam to Mob Rule in Las Vegas to Klan Activities in the south, to Martin Luther King, and finally the assassination of JFK's brother. The opening sentece pretty much sets the tone for the whole novel. It's brutal, it's violent, but it never fails to entertain.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    FINALLY!

    The Cold Six Thousand, the sequel to American Tabloid, does not disappoint. Ellroy is a stylist. He wants you to know this. He writes short sentences. He keeps the action moving. There are more periods in this book than in Hemingway's entire canon. TCST has JFK, RFK, MLK, Hughes, the mob, bagmen, movie stars, as well as returning characters Pete Bondurant and Ward Littell. It takes a few pages to get into the groove of Ellroy's machine gun delivery, but once you are there, you're off to the races, and 1962-1968 cruise by in a blur of deception, intrigue, assassinations, Vietnam, and Mob machinations. It took Ellroy six years to write this book. I've already read it and it hasn't even come out yet. I should have read slower. Dang. I gave this book 5 stars because it's better than most of the clap-trap that's out there today. But it's not American Tabloid. Oh, just buy the book and read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2001

    If you loved American Tabloid, this will NOT disappoint

    I too was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Cold Six Thousand (thanks friends in publishing!!!) and it's a GREAT read. American Tabloid was an absolute blast in creating a story as fun and exciting as Ellroy's best, and at the same time keeping me fascinated with its theories on what might have really happened in history. TCST brilliantly picks up right where it left off and jumps head first into new directions. Unlike AT, you're not exactly sure where it'll end, what's the historical event that will cap it off, but just like AT, knowing your history doesn't interfere with this terrific page-turner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001

    COLD SIX, Get Ready..!

    This is a heart-breaking story about heart-bypassed, heart-misplaced, and heart-BROKEN men. A truly horrific, powerful, entertaining, dizzying Masterpiece. Truly. Do not be put off by the terse text, embrace it: it is the only language imaginable to convey the velocity and the purpose of the characters and indeed the times they shaped.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2001

    I bought an Advanced Readers Copy and LOVED it.

    Fortunately, I was able to procure a copy of the Cold Six Thousand off of ebay. 711 pages bay-by! And I whipped through'em all. All I gotta say is that you won't be disappointed come May. As for me, well I guess I've got s'more waiting to do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)