This Storm

This Storm

From "one of the great American writers of our time" (Los Angeles Times Book Review)--a brilliant historical crime novel, a pulse-pounding, as-it-happens narrative that unfolds in Los Angeles and Mexico in the wake in Pearl Harbor.New Year's Eve 1941, war has been declared and the Japanese internment is in full swing. Los Angeles is gripped by war fever and racial hatred. Sergeant Dud(Los...

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Title:This Storm
Author:James Ellroy
Rating:
Edition Language:English

This Storm Reviews

  • Jason Allison

    There is no voice that I’ve read as distinct and iconic as Ellroy’s. His LA of days past may or may not have existed. I don’t care. I love being there and find it hard to leave. This was nearly 600 pages and I wished it was twice that. The best novel I’ve read this year, hands down.

  • 3 no 7

    “This Storm” by James Elroy is classic noir fiction that transports readers into the turbulent world of World War II Los Angeles, a city gripped by war, pessimism, resignation, and moral ambiguity. The sentence structure matches the mood with short sentences, .quick descriptions, and no-nonsense conversations.

    Readers are immersed in

    “This Storm” by James Elroy is classic noir fiction that transports readers into the turbulent world of World War II Los Angeles, a city gripped by war, pessimism, resignation, and moral ambiguity. The sentence structure matches the mood with short sentences, .quick descriptions, and no-nonsense conversations.

    Readers are immersed in 1942 Los Angeles, the people, the blackouts, the contentious politics, the uncertainty, the fear, but mostly and the individual stories and the personal tragedies. The characters are crude and rude, yet focused and straightforward. The conversations are politically incorrect and exceedingly real. The story begins when an unusually intense rain and the resulting mud slides unearth a body in Griffith Park.

    Characters pull readers into the narrative, almost talking directly to them, allowing them to eavesdrop on conversations and thoughts, throwing them into turmoil in the midst of regular life in L.A. Every detail reinforces the time

    “This Storm” is filled with war, domestic spies, counter-intelligence, and political misdeeds. I received a copy of “This Storm” from James Elroy and Random House Publishing. It is a wild ride from the first page to the last. I recommend that you plan your time carefully because once you start “This Storm” you will not put it down until the end.

  • Paul

    4.5*

    'This Storm' is the second installment of the Second L.A. Quartet, following 'Perfidia (1941-1942). To paraphrase James Ellroy, it is long, long, looooooong, at 600+ pages.

    It's pointless reading 'This Storm' or for that matter 'Perfidia' unless you have read the First L.A. Quartet; 'The Black Dahlia', 'The Big Nowhere', 'L.A. Confidential' and 'White Jazz' (1946-1958) or for that matter The Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy (1958-1972); 'American Tabloid', 'The Cold Six Thousand'

    4.5*

    'This Storm' is the second installment of the Second L.A. Quartet, following 'Perfidia (1941-1942). To paraphrase James Ellroy, it is long, long, looooooong, at 600+ pages.

    It's pointless reading 'This Storm' or for that matter 'Perfidia' unless you have read the First L.A. Quartet; 'The Black Dahlia', 'The Big Nowhere', 'L.A. Confidential' and 'White Jazz' (1946-1958) or for that matter The Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy (1958-1972); 'American Tabloid', 'The Cold Six Thousand' and 'Blood's a Rover'. Ideally readers might wait for Ellroy to complete the third and fourth Second L.A. Quartet novels and then read the First Quartet and the Underworld Trilogy.

    However you eventually tackle this masterwork, do read it. If anything, 'This Storm' is even better than 'Perfidia' and at the very least is consistantly good and for such a massive undertaking, that is no mean feat.

    Highly recommended, if you can tolerate the hip/hep alliteration.

  • Ronald Koltnow

    To be published by Alfred A. Knopf on 4 June 2019

    When PERFIDIA, the first volume of James Ellroy's second L.A. Quartet, came out, I said: "Volume Two promises to be more profane; I can't wait." I was right. A friend did not like PERFIDIA; he said it read like someone doing a parody of Ellroy. He may have missed the point. Ellroy is no longer a crime writer; he has become a fabulist. His most recent books are wild fandangoes on American society in the post-war world. This book deals with th

    To be published by Alfred A. Knopf on 4 June 2019

    When PERFIDIA, the first volume of James Ellroy's second L.A. Quartet, came out, I said: "Volume Two promises to be more profane; I can't wait." I was right. A friend did not like PERFIDIA; he said it read like someone doing a parody of Ellroy. He may have missed the point. Ellroy is no longer a crime writer; he has become a fabulist. His most recent books are wild fandangoes on American society in the post-war world. This book deals with the early days of WWII in L. A. A fugitive rapist, Fifth Columnists, and a rain-exhumed body in Griffith Park get the action rolling. Three separate investigations dovetail into one. Two groups of detectives, one led by the morally flexible Dudley Smith, the other by the tortured Catholic Wm Parker, beat, screw, and kill their way across the greater Southern California landscape. Ellroy's theme is stated late in the book; "We are all treading water in quicksand." Some, Ellroy, tells us, carry their quicksand inside themselves. These are conflicted characters with divided loyalties. Parts are laugh-out-loud funny, parts are overblown, yet you get drawn into the lives of characters and cannot wait to see what slip of the tongue (quite literally in one case) will cause enlightenment or mayhem. In order to fully appreciate the book, you should reread PERFIDIA and the first Quartet again. Characters and events weave in and out of all the books. Fortunately, a list of Dramatis Personae is included at the back of the book. Real life characters pop in and out and deal with the fictional ones. Like all of Ellroy's books, there is a thread of redemption that runs through the wild fantasy of violence. It is profane, insensitive, partially obscene, and delirious. Vintage Ellroy? No. A wild new direction? Si.

  • Jake

    I met James Ellroy when purchasing this book at a book signing. I was nervous, having heard plenty of stories about his uncouth behavior in public. But he was actually quite nice and gracious with his time. It seems to me that once he rides out his initial wave of anxiety and gets comfortable in a situation, he’s fine. Both of us being Lutheran, we joked about the great Martin Luther; he of course appreciating Luther’s vulgarity towards the Pope.

    Ellroy makes it clear that he lives in

    I met James Ellroy when purchasing this book at a book signing. I was nervous, having heard plenty of stories about his uncouth behavior in public. But he was actually quite nice and gracious with his time. It seems to me that once he rides out his initial wave of anxiety and gets comfortable in a situation, he’s fine. Both of us being Lutheran, we joked about the great Martin Luther; he of course appreciating Luther’s vulgarity towards the Pope.

    Ellroy makes it clear that he lives in the past. He lives a monastic existence of no TV or much external stimuli, save books. For him, human history ended in 1972 and World War II is forever going on. Don’t ask his opinions on Donald Trump and modern politics.

    All that to say, it is tempting to look at This Storm, which traffics at length in fifth column and saboteur plots, as a screed on current events. But that’s not Ellroy and it never will be. For good and for ill. Ellroy is less concerned about what’s going on in the present than how the past impacted America.

    To this extent, he does a decent job. His characters frequently mingle with aspiring fascists and Nazi sympathizers. Ellroy’s books are basically about the horrors you see once you lift the curtain from the American facade and nowhere in our cultural history has that stage been more beautifully dressed than WWII. There are no heroes here; everyone’s an enemy and everyone’s out to screw each other, both in a sexual and non-sexual way. It’s typical Ellroy.

    But that’s also the driving problem with the book. I’ve read this story so many times, especially in the Underworld USA trilogy. Ellroy seems to be trying to fuse that with his LA Quartet with these books. But they read like an author who has run out of creative ways to tell this story. Bringing back all the old favorites makes the book feel uninspired, unlike say Perfidia, which introduced us to the great Hideo Ashida and gave the anti-Japanese sentiment of immediate post-Pearl Harbor LA feel real and earned. It’s impossible to latch onto any of the characters or care much about their circumstances, especially the implacable Dudley Smith, Ellroy’s personal Randall Flagg. This book is more of a mess than most of his and the deeper it goes, the less interested I was.

    Also, I was disappointed at how poorly Ellroy covered wartime LA. Maybe this felt under done because so much of the book was focused in Mexico as well but LA is usually a staple in his books and with few exceptions, this felt like the characters were scampering around in a studio backlot designed to simulate LA.

    The brilliant dialogue is still there and if it were my first Ellroy, I’d see it as a novelty. But now…eh. I was just glad to finish it.

  • David C Ward

    Elroy has fallen in love with his style at the expense of narrative and coherence, to say nothing of economy. That style combines overly mannered fastidiousness and arcane usages with manic bebop hipster wooo-wooo. This one connects an old gold robbery with war frenzy even as Nazis and Stalinists combine to prepare for the post war world using said gold. The plot is impenetrable and incomprehensible (with incredible levels of violence) albeit recounted in micro detail because no one knows what’s

    Elroy has fallen in love with his style at the expense of narrative and coherence, to say nothing of economy. That style combines overly mannered fastidiousness and arcane usages with manic bebop hipster wooo-wooo. This one connects an old gold robbery with war frenzy even as Nazis and Stalinists combine to prepare for the post war world using said gold. The plot is impenetrable and incomprehensible (with incredible levels of violence) albeit recounted in micro detail because no one knows what’s going on. As a character says near the drawn out ending, “This deal has never made sense, and it never will. There’s too much to it, and it goes back too far.” Yup!

    Also: Orson Welles wasn’t fat in 1941, the year of Citizen Kane.

  • John Devlin

    I’ve loved much of what Ellroy wrote in his early days, and was dismayed at his over the top 60’s big picture paranoia.

    The second forties book is a mixed bag, but what tips it into parody is that he’s stopped writing about real people some time ago.

    The characters and their intendants are just a swath of horrible tics and fetishes. Shock and grotesqueries abound making everyone a Frankenstein creation wears very thin over such a long book.

    The plot is a hopeless

    I’ve loved much of what Ellroy wrote in his early days, and was dismayed at his over the top 60’s big picture paranoia.

    The second forties book is a mixed bag, but what tips it into parody is that he’s stopped writing about real people some time ago.

    The characters and their intendants are just a swath of horrible tics and fetishes. Shock and grotesqueries abound making everyone a Frankenstein creation wears very thin over such a long book.

    The plot is a hopeless mess that runs so tangled the reader just concedes and waits to be told the denouement.

  • Karin Carlson

    This should have been/could have been brilliant but sadly I think Ellroys L. A. Confidential days are far behind him. Somewhere in this mess of words (oh so many words) there may be a really good story but this authors ego took over and all I could read/see/hear was “look at me look at me.....see what an erudite, cool and hip writer I am?” And when I say too many words there is no other way to describe this book. They are used, overused, misused and they weigh on you. They cover up and hide any

    This should have been/could have been brilliant but sadly I think Ellroys L. A. Confidential days are far behind him. Somewhere in this mess of words (oh so many words) there may be a really good story but this authors ego took over and all I could read/see/hear was “look at me look at me.....see what an erudite, cool and hip writer I am?” And when I say too many words there is no other way to describe this book. They are used, overused, misused and they weigh on you. They cover up and hide any glimpse of a coherent plot. The first few pages of the book included the word gestalt over and over. And over again. As if the author just liked the way the word looked on paper so he decided to use it. I read Perfidia, the start of what will be (sadly) another Ellroy quartet so I can’t say I wasn’t warned but hope springs eternal. I haven’t had to force myself to finish a book in years and at 581 pages it took a lot of force. I wish I could find something positive to say about this book but no matter how hard I try nothing springs to mind. I guess my gestalt is too unorganized. Smiley face emoji.

  • OutlawPoet

    While I liked the patter and the sharp dialogue, there are so very many characters strewn throughout that it was hard to care about any of them. The author rapidly changes from scene to scene and character to character, challenging the reader to get to know any of them.

    I was okay with the seediness. Just know that there are no heroes in this book. Every last character is involved in something unsavory: rounding up Japanese for internment camps, prostitution, drugs, dirty money, etc.

    While I liked the patter and the sharp dialogue, there are so very many characters strewn throughout that it was hard to care about any of them. The author rapidly changes from scene to scene and character to character, challenging the reader to get to know any of them.

    I was okay with the seediness. Just know that there are no heroes in this book. Every last character is involved in something unsavory: rounding up Japanese for internment camps, prostitution, drugs, dirty money, etc. There are scandalous little asides to the sexual behaviors of movies stars of the time and even more scandalous bits about law enforcement and politicians.

    Everyone is dirty.

    This further challenged me when it came to caring about any of them. It didn't help that every last one of them was imbued with the casual racism that was prevalent during them time.

    While I think the author did a masterful job of presenting a dark and dirty LA in one of the darkest and dirtiest times in the world's history, it doesn't make for pleasurable reading.

    It is, however, a masterful representation of a time and place best left in the past.

  • William

    .

    I met with both the extraordinary Joseph Knox and the legendary James Ellroy last Tuesday 28 May 2019 up in Manchester at what I now call the "Mount Olympus" Waterstones bookshop.

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