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Perfidiaby James Ellroy
Synopses & Reviews
From "one of the great American writers of our time" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) — a brilliant crime/historical novel, and his largest, most accessible novel yet: a pulse-pounding, as-it-happens narrative that unfolds in Los Angeles over twenty-three days beginning on December 6, 1941.
The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide? The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz). As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing exposé of the Japanese internment, and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation. In Perfidia, Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."
"Ellroy launches his second L.A. Quartet with a sprawling, uncompromising epic of crime and depravity, with admirable characters few and far between. The action spans about three weeks during December 1941, opening the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor with the deaths of four members of the Watanabe family, who were possibly victims of a ritual murder-suicide. A note left at the scene written in Japanese, disclaiming responsibility for a 'looming apocalypse,' suggests foreknowledge of the attack. The investigation and its ramifications are explored from the perspectives of the LAPD's Japanese crime-scene specialist Hideo Ashida; William Parker, the future LAPD head; and two figures familiar from Ellroy's earlier books — Dudley Smith, a murderous and bent cop, and the enigmatic Kay Lake, who's roped into going undercover in L.A.'s communist community. Cynical schemes to profit from the planned internment of the Japanese may have played a part in the killings as well. This is as good a sample of Ellroy as any for newcomers, and old hands will find new perspectives on old characters intriguing. Author tour. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Perfidia is a brilliant, breakneck ride. Nobody except James Ellroy could pull this off. He doesn't merely write — he ignites and demolishes.” Carl Hiaasen
“A return to the scene of Ellroy’s greatest success and a triumphant return to form....His character portrayals have never been more nuanced or—dare we say it—sympathetic....A disturbing, unforgettable, and inflammatory vision of how the men in charge respond to the threat of war. It’s an ugly picture, but just try looking away.” Booklist, starred review
About the Author
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy-American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood's a Rover-and the L. A. Quartet novels, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, and White Jazz. He lives in Los Angeles.
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