Wednesday, April 13, 2011

THE COLD SIX THOUSAND (James Ellroy, 2011)

Stayed up till 5am finishing this sucker! Damn! It's some bleak shit too. I had to watch about five episodes of The Simpson afterward just to lighten my mind and get me to sleep.
It's a testament to how good Ellroy is that all the main character can be engaged in the most morally reprehensible, repugnant activities, and you still care about them and want them come through alright....

It's as hardcore as Ellroys other books, but now the hardcoreness is on a grander scale. We're talking The Kennedy Assasination, Howard Hughes and The Mafia in Vegas, CIA heroin in Vietnam, Scheming to oust Castro in Cuba, Martin Luther King, The Klan, J Edgar Hoover and so forth...

Hoover is one of the best characters actually! We only get him through transcribed telephone conversations but he is gold. Some quotes from him:

"LBJ will deplete his prestige on the home front and recoup it in Vietnam. History will judge him as a tall man with big ears who needed wretched people to love him..."
"Cuba appeals to hotheads and the morally impaired. It's the cuisine and the sex. Plantains and women who have intercourse with donkeys."

The book starts just after the JFK assassination, and we basically follow several of the key participants as they tie up loose ends on the hit and engage in all kinds of other high level skulduggery, while trying to deal with all their own personal demons (and you know in an Ellroy book they got some eeeeeeeeeeeeevil demons)...

And Ellroy just keeps getting more minimal with his sentences!

Compare this from The Black Dahlia (1987):

"I fought what was next by concentrating on my landladys cat stalking a bluejay across the garage roof. When he pounced, i admitted to myself how much i wanted johnny vogel's rumour to be true."

To this from The cold Six Thousand (2001)

"John F. Kennedy-dead.

His wife's crush. His stepmom's fixation. JFK got Janice wet. Janice told Wayne Senior. Janice paid. Janice limped. Janice showed off the welts on her thighs. Dead was dead.

He couldn't grab it. He fumbled the rebounds.

Moore chewed Red Man. Moore shot juice out his window. Gunshots overlapped. Joyous shit in the boonies.

Moore said, "Some people ain't so sad." "

And these are loooong sentences. Much of it is like:

"Junior was a hider. Junior was a watcher. Junior lit flames. Junior torched. Junior lived in his head."

At first the minimalism was too much for me and i put it down, but six months later I picked it up again and instantly got deeeeeeep into it.

I just found out when i got to the end that it's actually the sequel to "American Tabloid", which follows some of the same characters in the five years leading up to the JFK hit. So maybe read that first...

Oh yeah, and thanks to Wayne Jobson for giving it to me for my birthday! You a good man, wayne...

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