White Jazz (L.A. Quartet #4)

( 10 )

Overview

Los Angeles, 1958. Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns--it's standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD. He's a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer--a power in his own small corner of hell. Then the Feds announce a full-out investigation into local police corruption, and everything goes haywire.

Klein's been hung out as bait, "a bad cop to draw the heat," and the heat's coming from all sides: from local politicians, from LAPD brass, from racketeers and drug kingpins--all ...

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White Jazz

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Overview

Los Angeles, 1958. Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns--it's standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD. He's a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer--a power in his own small corner of hell. Then the Feds announce a full-out investigation into local police corruption, and everything goes haywire.

Klein's been hung out as bait, "a bad cop to draw the heat," and the heat's coming from all sides: from local politicians, from LAPD brass, from racketeers and drug kingpins--all of them hell-bent on keeping their own secrets hidden. For Klein, "forty-two and going on dead," it's dues time.

Klein tells his own story--his voice clipped, sharp, often as brutal as the events he's describing--taking us with him on a journey through a world shaped by monstrous ambition, avarice, and perversion. It's a world he created, but now he'll do anything to get out of it alive.

Fierce, riveting, and honed to a razor edge, White Jazz is crime fiction at its most shattering.

The toughest and most successful period crime novel yet by the bestselling author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia. As commanding officer in the LAPD's Administrative Vice Division, David Klein thought he had seen it all. But this is 1958, and murder, bribery, scams, beatings and shakedowns are a way of life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the great American writers of our time." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"White Jazz makes previous detective fiction read like Dr. Seuss." —San Francisco Examiner

"Riffling, rolling, reeling. . . . Ellroy's best." —The Denver Post

"Riveting. . . . Impossible to put down. . . . An author who breaks all the rules. He's a kamikaze pilot on a collision course with hell. The pen moves madly across the page. . . . A book that is one long scream of rage and emptiness and longing." —The News and Observer

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blacker than noir, this latest novel from the author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia is set in 1958 and features a dirty LAPD detective with a breathtaking mastery of corruption. Dave Klein, a gangland heavy, USC law grad and police lieutenant, can thread a legal loophole as easily as he slips on brass knuckles. Assigned by the police commissioner to head an investigation into a narc squad payoff source, Klein smells a setup. To save himself, he traces a genealogy of double-dealing that includes incest, institutionalized bribery and police corruption, all going back decades. Ellroy's telegraphic style, which reduces masses of plot information to quick-study shorthand, captures the seamy stream-of-consciousness of this tainted cop and carries the reader from initial repulsion to a fascination that lingers long after the story's last notes have faded away. Ellroy adroitly transfers the manic energy of scat and bebop to this final volume of his tense, lowdown L.A. epic. Moreover, he demonstrates perfect pitch for illegalese, but the hepcat banter never obscures the complex plotting of politics and pre-Miranda rights police work, a combination that here makes most other crime novels seem naive. 40,000 first printing; BOMC alternate. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Ellroy adeptly leads the reader into the murky, decadent world of Los Angeles in the late 1950s, as seen through the cynical eyes of David Klein, age 42, the commanding officer of the LAPD's vice division. Klein makes up his own rules as he goes along, rules that involve money, mayhem, and murder as necessary. Klein isn't the only one to follow such rules, which apparently are the ``norm'' for other members of the force as well. But Klein suffers the unthinkable when he becomes the scapegoat so that other officers can protect their own dirty laundry from the probing eyes of federal agents. White Jazz is the last volume of what is known as Ellroy's ``L.A. quartet'' of crime novels, which includes his previous L.A. Confidential (Mysterious Pr., 1990), The Big Nowhere (Mysterious Pr., 1988), and The Black Dahlia ( LJ 10/15/87). It's disturbing but riveting reading that Ellroy fans will especially enjoy.--Marlene Lee, Drain Branch Lib., Ore.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375727368
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/24/2001
  • Series: L.A. Quartet , #4
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 310,573
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

James Ellroy
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz, were international best-sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine's Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. He lives in Kansas City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    Fantastic!

    Brutally realistic prose. As always be prepared for the unexpected.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    Ellroy's Best

    If you like novels with lots of purple prose, easily understood plots, and clearly delineated 'good guys' and 'bad guys', you might want to stick with Agatha Christie or someone. White Jazz is noir fiction at it's blackest -- violent, unpredictable, scary in ways that more conventional suspense novels almost never are, with atmosphere to spare. You might not like Ellroy's 'in-your-face' style, but at least he has one.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2004

    Not quite LA Confidential, but a great read nevertheless

    This is the third Ellroy book I have read, and I have to put it at number 2 behind LA Confidential, but better than the Black Dahlia. Ellroy's style in this book is much more like LA, than dahlia. If you like crime fiction and LA settings you'll enjoy this. A great read, although some book-snobs might not get it (Anyone who would tell you to wait for the movie should stay clear of recommending books).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2000

    A Byzantine Noir Thriller

    You'll have trouble keeping all the intrigues and motivations straight, but it's an extremely rewarding read. Great fun and fierce in the way the characters scare and amaze you. Might be the equal of Elroy's American Tabloid. A must-read for any hard-boiled fan. Love that cover art, too!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2002

    agree with Lesser

    Wendy Lesser, in her New York Times Book Review piece (above) got it right. The language is absurdly self-conscious, the conceit is wrong-headed, the 'hero' is not worth a chapter, hardly a book. LA Confidential, based on an Ellroy book, was a good movie, but don't judge this book by that cover. Save your money, wait for a movie.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 13, 2009

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    Posted July 31, 2009

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    Posted April 14, 2009

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    Posted June 25, 2013

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