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P. 1
Destination: Morgue!: L.A. Tales

Destination: Morgue!: L.A. Tales

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3.07

(62)
|Views: 151|Likes:
Dig. The Demon Dog gets down with a new book of scenes from America’s capital of kink: Los Angeles. Fourteen pieces, some fiction, some nonfiction, all true enough to be admissible as state’s evidence, and half of it in print for the first time. And every one of them bearing the James Ellroy brand of mayhem, machismo, and hollow-nose prose. Here are Mexican featherweights and unsolved-murder vics, crooked cops and a very clean D.A. Here is a profile of Hollywood’s latest celebrity perp-walker, Robert Blake, and three new novellas featuring a demented detective with an obsession with a Hollywood actress. And, oh yes, just maybe the last appearance of Hush-Hush sleaze-monger Danny Getchell. Here’s Ellroy himself, shining a 500-watt Mag light into all the dark places of his life and imagination. Destination: Morgue! puts the reader’s attention in a hammerlock and refuses to let go. Praise for James Ellroy:From the Trade Paperback edition.
Dig. The Demon Dog gets down with a new book of scenes from America’s capital of kink: Los Angeles. Fourteen pieces, some fiction, some nonfiction, all true enough to be admissible as state’s evidence, and half of it in print for the first time. And every one of them bearing the James Ellroy brand of mayhem, machismo, and hollow-nose prose. Here are Mexican featherweights and unsolved-murder vics, crooked cops and a very clean D.A. Here is a profile of Hollywood’s latest celebrity perp-walker, Robert Blake, and three new novellas featuring a demented detective with an obsession with a Hollywood actress. And, oh yes, just maybe the last appearance of Hush-Hush sleaze-monger Danny Getchell. Here’s Ellroy himself, shining a 500-watt Mag light into all the dark places of his life and imagination. Destination: Morgue! puts the reader’s attention in a hammerlock and refuses to let go. Praise for James Ellroy:From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Publish date: Dec 18, 2007
Added to Scribd: Sep 06, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780307425546
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04/12/2014

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9780307425546

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willymammoth reviewed this
Rated 4/5
"Destination: Morgue!" was my first experience with James Ellroy. I’d seen a couple movies that were made out of his books, but as far as his actual writing, it was my first. And let me tell you, this one wasn’t a very good “first pick.” Not that it was a bad book, but as an introduction into Ellroy, it shell shocked me a little bit. First, let me explain the book a little bit.Destination: Morgue! is broken into two nearly equal halves. The first half is a series of non-fiction pieces, ranging from “true crime” stories of the cold case squad to autobiographical pieces about Ellroy’s life growing up. The second half is made up by a trio of novellas telling the story of a L.A. P.D. officer and his affair with a Hollywood actress. When I started reading, none of it made sense to me. The stories seemed disjointed and incongruous. I couldn’t understand what they had to do with each other—other than giving the publisher enough text to put out another book. In addition, the language was plain annoying. Alliteration was everywhere. It made reading slow, and what’s more, it made the writing sound cheesy to the tenth power. Plus, he insists on using “metastasize” in just about every short story. I mean, it’s a really good word for decayed imagery, but come on. Use another word. I swore to myself that this was the last Ellroy book I would read. But as I kept plugging through it, nose on the grindstone, I gradually began to realize that nearly every piece of nonfiction in the first half of the book made an appearance (or at least got a reference) in the second half. Ellroy managed to tie them all together in some form or fashion. In addition, he continually worked older cases of L.A. P.D. fame into the stories, meshing fact and fiction in a convincing—if sometimes hard to follow—narrative. Part of the reason that the book is hard to read is the alliteration I mentioned before. It didn’t hit me until I got to the story about the gossip column writer, but the alliteration is there because Ellroy is trying to mirror the style of a tabloid newspaper. You know the type: “Freaky female filches famed farmyard photo!” But he does so though the whole damn book. Yeah, it makes the book a bit harder to read, but the sheer genius it takes to do that through an entire 400 page work is mind boggling. And more importantly, he manages to craft great imagery while limiting himself to this vein of description. It really was quite amazing to watch the book unfold from lackluster beginnings to a great finish where he suddenly slaps you upside the head with his brilliance. Still, it would be nice if he used “metastasize” a little less. Ah well, you can’t have everything, I guess. I gave it four stars. Had the book been more palatable from the get-go, I would have given it a perfect five. As it stands, it's not going to appeal to most people. But if you're brave and push through, I promise you you'll be rewarded.
bduguid_2 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is Ellroy's second collection of shorts, a mixture of essays from GQ magazine with three inter-linked (and previously unpublished) novellas.If one thing unites them all, it's the alliterative, allusive authorial style of Hush-Hush magazine and Ellroy's character Danny Getchell. For some people, this makes Ellroy devilishly difficult to devour, but for me this is much of the attraction - he's almost avant-garde in the extremism of his laconic stylism.So there's "Balls to the Wall", a boxing write-up where sentences struggle to pass the 4-word barrier; or "The Trouble I Cause", a short story about Dragnet actor Jack Webb, penned in the Getchell style.Elsewhere there are two autobiographical tales, much like "My Dark Places" cut down for readers with short attention spans.One piece, "Stephanie" deals with the 1965 murder of Stephanie Gorman, and with the attempts of Ellroy's three buddies in the Cold Case squad to revisit it during 2002. This provides the real-life backdrop for the three novellas, where the first thing to note is the similarity of the three main characters' names to Ellroy's real-life pals. The novellas are the heart of the book, and take detective "Rhino" Rick Jenson through three episodes ranging over roughly three decades, close encounters with classic Ellroy characters: Hollywood, killers, perverts, racists. At times, the relentless racist rancour of the anti-hero is hard to take, but they're great stories and they see Ellroy taking on welcome new themes - terrorism in "Jungletown Jihad" - while plunging passionately into post-modernism way beyond previous flirtations.Probably one for fans only - newcomers would be better starting elsewhere.
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Destination: Morgue!: L.A. Tales