True Confessions
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True Confessions

by John Gregory Dunne
     
 

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In 1940s Los Angeles, an unidentified murder victim is found bisected in a shadowy lot. A catchy nickname is given her in jest—"The Virgin Tramp"—and suddenly a "nice little homicide that would have drifted off the front pages in a couple of days" becomes a storm center. Two brothers, Tom and Des Spellacy, are at the heart of this powerful novel of

Overview

In 1940s Los Angeles, an unidentified murder victim is found bisected in a shadowy lot. A catchy nickname is given her in jest—"The Virgin Tramp"—and suddenly a "nice little homicide that would have drifted off the front pages in a couple of days" becomes a storm center. Two brothers, Tom and Des Spellacy, are at the heart of this powerful novel of Irish-Catholic life in Southern California just after World War II. Played in the film version by Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro respectively, Tom is a homicide detective and Des is a priest on the rise within the Church. The murder investigation provides the background against which are played the ever changing loyalties of the two brothers. Theirs is a world of favors and fixes, power and promises, inhabited by priests and pimps, cops and contractors, boxers and jockeys and lesbian fight promoters and lawyers who know how to put the fix in. A fast-paced and often hilarious classic of contemporary fiction, True Confessions is about a crime that has no solutions, only victims. More important, it is about the complex relationship between Tom and Des Spellacy, each tainted with the guilt and hostility that separate brothers.

Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
The Thunder's Mouth Press reissue of John Gregory Dunne's 1977 crime fiction masterpiece True Confessions -- which revolves around the infamous unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 Los Angeles and the complex relationship between two Irish-American brothers -- includes a priceless introduction by renowned crime novelist and producer George Pelecanos.

When the body of a dead woman is found cut in half and sexually brutalized near the Los Angeles Coliseum, she is tagged as the Virgin Tramp by the media. As the murder investigation drags on, hard-nosed LAPD homicide detective Tom Spellacy deals with the cover-up of an influential priest who died while in a "compromising position" at a sleazy brothel. Meanwhile, Tom's brother, Desmond, a hard-charging priest, becomes involved in another scandal involving a crooked contractor and numerous jobs involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Both brothers -- knee-deep in political and ethical corruption -- must somehow find their own paths to salvation.

Brutally unsentimental yet paradoxically, profoundly compassionate, Dunne's crime fiction magnum opus was -- and still is -- a landmark literary achievement. In the novel's introduction, Pelecanos calls True Confessions one of the most influential novels written in post-Vietnam America. He concludes: "In the end, one realizes that this is not a story about a murder. Rather, it deals with the truly important subjects that the American novel rarely addresses: mortality and the passage of time." Understated, sublime, and brilliantly cynical, this intensely atmospheric classic will never lose its gritty appeal -- True Confessions is a novel that practically demands to be read again and again -- and again. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560258155
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/30/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
354
Sales rank:
333,078
Product dimensions:
0.79(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Meet the Author

John Gregory Dunne was the author of six novels—Vegas; True Confessions; Dutch Shea, Jr.; The Red White and Blue; Playland; and Nothing Lost—and seven works of nonfiction, among which are the memoir-like Harp and two books that look at Hollywood, The Studio and Monster. Born in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1932, he graduated from Princeton in 1954. He collaborated with his wife, the writer Joan Didion, on many screenplays, including Panic in Needle Park and True Confessions. John Gregory Dunne died in December 2003.

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