James Ellroy is probably best known for the LA quartet of novels that included LA Confidential. By the end of that series of novels with their myriad of complex characters and labyrinth plots, Ellroys' writing had developed an almost free form jazz like quality, where short sharp statements and dialogue made no sense in isolation but meaning came from an almost improvisational flow.
The Blood's a Rover is the third novel in a trilogy that paints the LA Quartet's theme and style on a much wider canvas. Through 3 main characters Ellroy takes us to the diseased heart of a whole country. Fact and Fiction are merged and conspiracy is over layered on conspiracy to an extent that would have Oliver Stone blushing.
Bloods a Rover finishes a story started in American Tabloid that had the Bay of Pigs and JFKs assassination at it's core , and continued with the Cold Sixty Thousand that delved into Vietnam and the assassination of Martin Luther King.
The final book focuses on a struggle between Edgar Hoover, the Mafia and Howard Hughes for the dark soul of a county. Caught in the middle are 3 characters all of who have moral compasses that don't exactly point north. It is part of Ellroy's skill that despite doing some truly horrific things there remains a core sense of caring what happens to his characters and a sense of shock and sadness when the body count starts to rise
Ellroy has gradually toned down his more free form excesses with the story telling in this book almost linear.
What makes all 3 books work so well is how Ellroy manages to juggle endless characters that orbit around the central trio , a plot that has your head spinning with a pace that never lets up. It is an exhausting but extremely rewarding read
Not quite the best in the series that goes to the Cold Sixty Thousand but a fitting end to a wildly ambitious trilogy in which Ellroy has created the polar opposite of the American Dream
You can buy book one American Tabloid here .. if you do stick wit it. The first few chapters may get you scratching your head but the rhythm of the writing soon gets you hooked.