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James Ellroy

This page lists novels, short story collections, non-fiction and books edited by James Ellroy.

Some of the novels listed have been published a number of times. The cover images shown are, where possible, the first US edition and a recent mass market paperback edition.



This page is divided into four sections.

- novels / short story collections
- autobiography / non-fiction
- books edited
- books about James Ellroy

 

James Ellroy: Novels and short story collections

Brown's Requiem

James Ellroy

Avon Books

1981

"Fritz Brown, ex-alcoholic private eye with a stained past, makes do with car repossessions and classical music. Then he is offered a case by Freddy 'Fat Dog' Baker, an eccentric golf caddy whose sister has made off with a much older man. This is the beginning of the nightmare: the underworld of golf caddies, arson and incest played against the backdrop of an LA surreal by night and bad by day; of long-hidden secrets that will drive Brown back to the bottle and to the gun: all conspire to make this one of the most hypnotic crime novels ever written."
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Clandestine

James Ellroy

Avon Books

1982

"Los Angeles 1951 – Frederick Underhill, an ambitious rookie of the Los Angeles Police Department, want to become the most celebrated detective of his time. He is also sexually promiscuous. His two drives are brought together by the slaying of Maggie Cadwallader, a lonely woman whom Underhill slept with shortly before her death. Using his inside knowledge, Underhill gets himself on the case, which is being handled by LA’s most fearsome investigator: Lieutenant Dudley Smith. But instead of the celebrity status he was hoping for, Underhill finds himself on the edge of the abyss, his whole life and future about to take a fall."
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Blood on the Moon

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1984

"Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins can't stand music, or any loud sounds. He's got a beautiful wife, but he can't get enough of other women. And instead of bedtime stories, he regales his daughters with bloody crime stories. He's a thinking man's cop with a dark past and an obsessive drive to hunt down monsters who prey on the innocent. Now, there's something haunting him. He sees a connection in a series of increasingly gruesome murders of women committed over a period of twenty years. To solve the case, Hopkins will dump all the rules and risk his career to make the final link and get the killer."
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Because the Night

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1984

"The second installment of the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy. As Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins pieces the puzzle together he discovers the darker threat of John Havilland, a psychiatrist whose pleasure comes from the manipulation of the weak and the lonely ... And, as Hopkins closes in, Havilland's madness rages uncontrolled - and forces a shattering confrontation with the darker side of the human mind."
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Suicide Hill

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1986

"The final installment of the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy. It was simple... and diabolical. Simply select a bank manager, kidnap his girlfriend, then hold her hostage until you've cleaned out the bank. At first, it was almost a game. But it turned into an orgy of violence, rape and insane revenge. Investigating is Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins, eager for a chance to clear his tarnished reputation. But what Hopkins doesn't know is that this time, the enemy is within."
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Killer on the Road

James Ellroy

Avon Books

1986

First edition published with the title Silent Terror. Subsequent editions with Ellory's preferred title Killer On The Road.

"Martin Michael Plunkett is a product of his times -- the possessor of a genius intellect, a pitiless soul of brushed steel, and a heart of blackest evil. With criminal tendencies forged in the fires of L.A.'s Charles Manson hysteria, he comes to the bay city of San Francisco -- and submits to savage and terrible impulses that reveal to him his true vocation as a pure and perfect murderer. And so begins his decade of discovery and terror, as he cuts a bloody swath across the full length of a land, ingeniously exploiting and feeding upon a society's obsessions. As he maneuvers deftly through a seamy world of drugs, flesh, and perversions, the media will call him many things -- but Martin Plunkett's real name is Death. His brilliant, twisted mind is a horriying place to explore. His madness reflects a nation's own. The killer is on the road. And there's nowhere in America to hide."
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The Black Dahlia

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1987

"Los Angeles, 15th January 1947: a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in half. The newspapers called her 'The Black Dahlia'. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl's twisted life."
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The Big Nowhere

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1988

"New Year's Eve as 1949 turns to 1950, Los Angeles: The City of Angels has becomes the city of the Angel of Death. Communist witch-hunts and insanely violent killings are terrorising the community. Three men are plunged into a maelstrom of violence and deceit when their lives become inextricably linked as each one confronts his own personal darkness."
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L.A. Confidential

James Ellroy

Mysterious Press

1990

"Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as crooked as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three L.A.P.D. detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers...The novel takes these cops on a sprawling epic of brutal violence and the murderous seedy side of Hollywood."
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White Jazz

James Ellroy

Knopf

1992

"Los Angeles, 1958: a city on the make. A boom town at the edge of a new era ripe for plunder. Lieutenant Dave Klein: in turn a lawyer, bagman, slum landlord, mob killer. Klein stands at the centre of a complex web of plots where violence and death will intersect - 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."
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Hollywood Nocturnes

James Ellroy

Otto Penzler Books

1994

This collection of stories was published in the UK and some other countries as Dick Contino's Blues And Other Stories.

"Dick Contino - 50s accordian player, a star in the making, is destroyed by a draft-dodging scandal. His life is on the skids until he comes up with the idea of resurrecting his career with a fake kidnapping scam. Meanwhile a serial killer is on the loose in Los Angeles...a killer who is closer to Contino than he suspects - a killer who wants in on the kidnap - for real... Plus five previously unpublished short stories."
The contents are:
  • Out of the Past (Introduction)
  • Dick Contino's Blues
  • High Darktown
  • Dial Axminster 6-400
  • Since I Don't Have You
  • Gravy Train
  • Torch Number
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American Tabloid

James Ellroy

Knopf

1995

"Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era. Pete Bondurant – Howard Hughes's right-hand man, Jimmy Hoffa's hitman. Kemper Boyd – employed by J Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the Kennedy clan. Ward Littell – a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime. The festering discount of the age that burns brightly in these men's hearts will go into supernova as the Bay of Pigs ends in calamity, the Mob clamours for payback and the 1000 days ends in brutal quietus in 1963."
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Crime Wave

James Ellroy

Vintage / Black Lizard

1999

A collection of fiction and non-fiction that includes two novellas, a short story and eight pieces of crime reportage.

"Reportage and fiction from the underside of LA. James Ellroy is a unique and powerful writer with a tough and explosive voice. …. Ellroy exploits memory, history, fact and fiction with relentless energy and panache. What emerges is an intense, mythical version of tinseltown in the second half of the twentieth century."
The contents are:
  • Introduction by Art Cooper, Editor-in-Chief, GQ
  • Body Dumps
  • My Mother's Killer
  • Glamour Jungle
  • Hush-Hush (short story)
  • Tijuana, Mon Amour (novella)
  • Out of the Past
  • Hollywood Shakedown (novella)
  • Sex, Glitz, and Greed: The Seduction of O. J. Simpson
  • The Tooth of Crime
  • Bad Boys in Tinseltown
  • Let's Twist Again
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The Cold Six Thousand

James Ellroy

Knopf

2001

"Wayne Tedrow Jr has arrived to kill a man. The fee is $6,000. He finds himself instead in the middle of the cover-up following JFK's assassination. There follows a hellish five-year ride through the sordid underbelly of public policy via Las Vegas, Howard Hughes, Vietnam, CIA dope dealing, Cuba, sleazy showbiz, racism and the Klan. This is the 1960s under Ellroy's blistering lens, the icons of the era mingled with cops, killers, hoods, and provocateurs. The Cold Six Thousand is historical confluence as American nightmare. Fierce, epic fiction. A masterpiece."
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Destination: Morgue!

James Ellroy

Vintage Books

2004

A collection of fiction and non-fiction that includes three novellas, a short story and eight pieces of crime reportage.

"Hollywood Fuckpad, Hot Prowl Rape-O and Jungletown Jihad are vintage Ellroy: starting in 1983 and ending in the present day, they are interlinked novellas telling the story of a bad cop, Rick Jenson, and his twenty-year obsession with Donna Donahue, a beautiful Hollywood actress. The only way Rick can get close to Donna is by bringing her into investigations of the teeming Tinseltown underworld: psychopathic killers, stalkers and terrorists commingle in an unholy cocktail of sex, sleaze and violence. Jenson and Donahue cut a swathe through the cases, treading a high wire of danger and a fatal sexual attraction. The book also contains eight previously unpublished non-fiction articles ranging from cases from the Los Angeles Police Unsolved Homicide files to the first article Ellroy has ever written on his imaginative process: Where I Get My Weird Shit."
The contents are:
  • Balls to the Wall
  • Where I Get My Weird Shit
  • Stephanie
  • Grave Doubt
  • My Life as a Creep
  • The D.A.
  • Little Sleazer and the Mail-Sex Mama
  • I've Got the Goods
  • The Trouble I Cause (short story)
  • Hollywood Fuck Pad (novella)
  • Hot-Prowl Rape-O (novella)
  • Jungle Jihad (novella)
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Blood's a Rover

James Ellroy

Knopf

2009

"It's 1968. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King are dead. The Mob, Howard Hughes and J Edgar Hoover are in a struggle for America's soul, drawing into their murderous conspiracies the damned and the soon-to-be damned. Wayne Tedrow Jr: parricide, assassin, dope cooker, mouthpiece for all sides, loyal to none. His journey will take him deeper into the darkness. Dwight Holly: Hoover's enforcer and hellish conspirator in terrible crimes. As Hoover's power wanes, his destiny lurches towards Richard Nixon and self-annihilation. Don Crutchfield: a kid, a nobody, a wheelman and a private detective who stumbles upon an ungodly conspiracy from which he and the country may never recover. All three men are drawn to women on the opposite side of the political and moral spectrum; all are compromised and ripe for destruction. Blood's a Rover is an incandescent fusion of fact and fiction, and is James Ellroy's greatest masterpiece."
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Shakedown

James Ellroy

Byliner

2012

Published electronically only. A very limited edition hardback was also possibly published.

"Meet Freddy Otash: a corrupt cop turned sleaze hustler, extortionist, pimp, and an actual historical figure who made the 1950s magazine Confidential the go-to source for the sins of the rich and famous. In his prime, Freddy raised hell, and in the pages of Shakedown he finds himself stuck in purgatory - literally - waiting for a transfer to heaven. Will he make it there, or will fate keep him down below? Promised redemption if he confesses his past sins and transgressions, Freddy writes a tell-all peopled by Hollywood greats like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and James Dean (to name a few) who are up to all sorts of wrong. Threesomes, foursomes, you name it - anything goes in this licentious world. Shakedown explodes the postwar America of June and Ward Cleaver, breathing randy new life into the man who whetted our national appetite for sex and scandal. Freddy's lack of scruples - and lack of morality - make today's gossip culture seem almost innocent. What's true and what's fiction? Ellroy's certainly not telling."
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Perfidia

James Ellroy

Knopf

2014

"It is December 6 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans – but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police. He’s superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith – Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Kay Lake is a 21-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm centre that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls – comrades, rivals, lovers, history’s pawns."
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James Ellroy: Autobiography and other non-fiction

My Dark Places

James Ellroy

Knopf

1996

"America's greatest crime writer investigates his mother's murder. On 21 June 1958, Geneva Hilliker Ellroy left her home in California. She was found strangled the next day. Her ten year-old son James had been with her estranged husband all weekend and was informed of her death on his return. Her murderer was never found, but her death had an enduring effect on her son - he spent his teens and early adult years as a wino, petty burglar and derelict. Only later, through his obsession with crime fiction, triggered by his mother's murder, did Ellroy begin to delve into his past. Shortly after the publication of his groundbreaking novel WHITE JAZZ, he determined to return to Los Angeles and, with the help of veteran detective Bill Stoner, attempt to solve the 38-year-old killing. The result is one of the few classics of crime non-fiction and autobiography to appear in the last few decades; a hypnotic trip to America's underbelly and one man's tortured soul."
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Crime Wave

James Ellroy

Vintage / Black Lizard

1999

A collection of fiction and non-fiction that includes two novellas, a short story and eight pieces of crime reportage.

"Reportage and fiction from the underside of LA. James Ellroy is a unique and powerful writer with a tough and explosive voice. …. Ellroy exploits memory, history, fact and fiction with relentless energy and panache. What emerges is an intense, mythical version of tinseltown in the second half of the twentieth century."
The contents are:
  • Introduction by Art Cooper, Editor-in-Chief, GQ
  • Body Dumps
  • My Mother's Killer
  • Glamour Jungle
  • Hush-Hush (short story)
  • Tijuana, Mon Amour (novella)
  • Out of the Past
  • Hollywood Shakedown (novella)
  • Sex, Glitz, and Greed: The Seduction of O. J. Simpson
  • The Tooth of Crime
  • Bad Boys in Tinseltown
  • Let's Twist Again
cover

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cover


Destination: Morgue!

James Ellroy

Vintage Books

2004

A collection of fiction and non-fiction that includes three novellas, a short story and eight pieces of crime reportage.

"Hollywood Fuckpad, Hot Prowl Rape-O and Jungletown Jihad are vintage Ellroy: starting in 1983 and ending in the present day, they are interlinked novellas telling the story of a bad cop, Rick Jenson, and his twenty-year obsession with Donna Donahue, a beautiful Hollywood actress. The only way Rick can get close to Donna is by bringing her into investigations of the teeming Tinseltown underworld: psychopathic killers, stalkers and terrorists commingle in an unholy cocktail of sex, sleaze and violence. Jenson and Donahue cut a swathe through the cases, treading a high wire of danger and a fatal sexual attraction. The book also contains eight previously unpublished non-fiction articles ranging from cases from the Los Angeles Police Unsolved Homicide files to the first article Ellroy has ever written on his imaginative process: Where I Get My Weird Shit."
The contents are:
  • Balls to the Wall
  • Where I Get My Weird Shit
  • Stephanie
  • Grave Doubt
  • My Life as a Creep
  • The D.A.
  • Little Sleazer and the Mail-Sex Mama
  • I've Got the Goods
  • The Trouble I Cause (short story)
  • Hollywood Fuck Pad (novella)
  • Hot-Prowl Rape-O (novella)
  • Jungle Jihad (novella)
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The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

James Ellroy

Knopf

2010

"The year was 1958.Jean Hilliker had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband and resurrected her maiden name.Her son, James, was ten years old.He hated and lusted for his mother and 'summoned her dead.' She was murdered three months later. The Hilliker Curse is a predator's confession, a treatise on guilt and the power of malediction, and above all a cri de cœur. Ellroy unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, his nervous breakdown and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her. A layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest, The Hilliker Curse is a brilliant, soul-baring revelation of self.It is unlike any memoir you have ever read."
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LAPD '53

James Ellroy and Glyn Martin for the Los Angeles Police Museum

Abrams Image

2015

"James Ellroy, the undisputed master of crime writing, has teamed up with the Los Angeles Police Museum to present a stunning text on 1953 LA. While combing the museum’s photo archives, Ellroy discovered that the year featured a wide array of stark and unusual imagery - and he has written 25,000 words that illuminate the crimes and law enforcement of the era. Ellroy offers context and layers on wild and rich atmosphere - this is the cauldron that was police work in the city of the tarnished angels more than six decades ago. More than 80 duotone photos are spread throughout the book in the manner of hard-edged police evidence."
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Books edited by James Ellroy

The Best American Mystery Stories 2002

Editor: James Ellroy

Series editor: Otto Penzler

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

2002

"The acclaimed author of L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid serves as guest editor for this new collection of the finest mystery tales of the year, in an anthology that incorporates pieces of short fiction by Robert B. Parker, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Connelly, Stuart Kaminsky, and other notable authors."
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The Best American Mystery Stories 2005

Editor: James Ellroy

Series editor: Otto Penzler, Thomas H. Cook

Harper Perennial

2005

"A collection of the best crime journalism of the past year includes Pat Jordan's interview with O. J. Simpson, Clara Bingham's account of the rape scandal and cover-up at the Air Force Academy, and other contributions from Skip Hollandsworth, Philip Weiss, Bryan Burrough, David Grann, and others."
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Best American Noir of the Century

Editor: James Ellroy and Otto Penzler

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

2010

"A magisterial anthology of American noir writing in the 20th century by the best-selling author of the LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia. The Big Nowhere , LA Confidential and White Jazz. In his intoduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, "noir is the most scrutinised offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It's the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad." Offering the best examples of literary sure things gone bad, this collection ensures that nowhere else can readers find a darker, more thorough distillation of American noir fiction."
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Books about James Ellroy

Like Hot Knives to the Brain: James Ellroy's Search for Himself

Peter Wolfe

Lexington Books

2005

"Often more disturbing than entertaining, James Ellroy is an author who never shies away from the ugly or repellent. Eminent crime fiction scholar Peter Wolfe examines how Ellroy transcends the genres of pulp and neo-noir fiction to write stories that are both psychologically haunting and culturally relevant. Wolfe skillfully combines biography-including the unsolved murder of Ellroy's mother-with literary analysis to provide a fascinating and readable study of this popular author. The first in-depth companion to the work of James Ellroy, Like Hot Knives to the Brain will interest students of popular culture, mystery readers, and crime buffs everywhere."
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Conversations with James Ellroy

Editor: Steven Powell

University Press of Mississippi

2012

"As a novelist who has spent years crafting and refining his intense and oft outrageous 'Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction' persona, James Ellroy has used interviews as a means of shaping narratives outside of his novels. Conversations with James Ellroy covers a series of interviews given by Ellroy from 1984 to 2010, in which Ellroy discusses his literary contribution and his public and private image. …. In Conversations with James Ellroy, Ellroy talks extensively about his life, his literary influences, his persona, and his attitudes towards politics and religion. In interviews with fellow crime writers Craig McDonald, David Peace, and others, including several previously unpublished interviews, Ellroy is at turns charismatic and eloquent, combative and enigmatic."
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James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction

Jim Mancall

McFarland Companions To Mystery Fiction 6

McFarland and Co

2013

"This comprehensive guide to James Ellroy's work and life is arranged as an encyclopedia covering his entire career, from his first private-eye novel, Brown's Requiem, to his 2012 e-book Shakedown. It introduces new readers to his characters and plots, and provides experienced Ellroy fans and scholars with detailed analyses of the themes, motifs and stylistic innovations of his books. The work is a tour of Ellroy's dark underworld, highlighting the controversies and unsettling questions that characterise his work, as well as assessing Ellroy's place in the annals of American literature."
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James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction

Steven Powell

Palgrave MacMillan

2015

"James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction is a study of all of Ellroy's key works, from his debut novel Brown's Requiem to the epic Underworld USA trilogy. This book traces the development of Ellroy's writing style and the importance of his Demon Dog persona to carving out his unique place in American crime fiction."
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Last updated February 2018