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Synopsis

A murder investigation nearly drives a beat cop to madness

Despite the sunshine, high necklines, and demure purity of its silver-screen goddesses, Los Angeles in the 1950s is not a gentle place. Even as a young cop, Freddy Underhill knows this. Patrolling one of L.A.’s roughest districts, he sees the lust, rage, and madness that permeate the city—and stands in wonder and dismay at it all. He covers the beat with his partner Wacky Walker, a World War II veteran with a Medal of Honor, a drinking problem, and a serious obsession with death. When an old flame of Freddy’s is murdered, the investigation takes them deep into the shadiest part of the city, where Freddy will have to embrace the darkness if he wants to emerge with his life.

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    Not essential for Ellroy fans

    Not one of Ellroy's best, but still worth a read if you're a fan of his writing. I wouldn't call it an essential read, though. Not as vivid and bloody as some of his later works. In a way a nice change of pace for his books, but if you've read any of the LA Quartet or Underworld USA books it might satisfy you the way LA Confidential or American Tabloid would. I will say that as the story progresses you do see sort a gradual development in the writing style to the Ellroy people are used to.

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