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Blood's a Rover: Underworld USA 3 (Underworld USA #3)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,067 ratings  ·  304 reviews
America's master of noir delivers his masterpiece, a rip-roaring, devilishly wild ride through the bloody end of the 1960's. It's dark baby, and hot hot hot.

Martin Luther King assassinated. Robert Kennedy assassinated. Los Angeles, 1968. Conspiracies theories are taking hold. On the horizon looms the Democratic Convention in Chicago and constant gun fire peppers south L.A.
ebook, 656 pages
Published June 29th 2011 by Vintage (first published September 1st 2009)
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“I paid a dear and savage price to live History.”

And that’s the message of James Ellroy's bloody and brilliant Underworld USA trilogy (American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood’s A Rover) summed up in one sentence. Here at the end, it’s all about remorse, radicals, revolution, rebellion, revenge and redemption. (To borrow some Ellroy-style alliteration.)

The book begins with a brief flashback to an armored car heist in 1964 that might have been planned by The Joker considering the body co
barreling down the 101 in a '63 impala, psychojazz squawking outta busted speakers, sucking hard at a bottle of beam, poppin' dexies every few miles, truckstop whore's got your cock in her mouth, spots and stars and sunbursts all over the sky, the road, the windshield, and yer mainlining speedballing ramrodding straight through american history -- "everything looks different" "then maybe it is" -- and this is it in all its nastiness and it just ain't ever gonna stop. beam dripping all down your ...more
Duffy Pratt
Ellroy does redemption. It's not pleasant. There's a mantra that runs throughout the book: "Nobody dies." But this is Ellroy. So you can guess how well that works out.

In some ways, this review is pointless, at least as a guide to any potential reader. Let's face it: if you've read American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand, you already know whether you are going to read this one or not. If you haven't read either of those, then you owe it to yourself to give American Tabloid a shot, or maybe sta
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There might be some spoilers. I will make sure that they pop up later in the review. Don't hit more if you don't want to see them.

The hump sucked up fear and hate wholesale. He was a stone shit magnet.

After 1600 plus pages in the past three weeks, slumming in the netherworld of Ellroy's vision of American history my brain has fried itself on staccato prose, excessive violence and a belief that we are all rotten to the core. I feel complicit. I want a sap. A few throw-down pieces. I want to walk
Scott Rhee
The final book in James Ellroy's Underworld U.S.A. trilogy, "Blood's A Rover", is an exciting, provocative examination of crooked cops and the conspiracies that have shaped this country.

Ellroy is probably one of my favorite writers ever, but I can't seem to read him one after another. I need long breaks between his books, they are so intense and disturbing. They are, however, a joy to read, as his language is a hodge-podge of cop-slang, pulp, and stream-of-consciousness.

His characters are fasc
John Hood
Hard Print

Three the Hard Way

James Ellroy Chats about Underworld USA

By John Hood

Dig. Mau Mau militants knocking off ghetto liquor stores. An unhinged J. Edgar Hoover heaving heavy over Archie Bell & the Drells. An FBI cut-out cutting everybody else outta the rad action. A holed-up Howard Hughes buying up Vegas and scarfing down nuclear-strength narco-cocktails. MLK shot dead. RFK ditto. Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray on ice and spitting conspiracy.

Ellroy, you magnificent bastard! The final piece of the Underground U.S.A. trilogy is also the largest, longest, most convoluted, bloodiest, most intricate, fast-paced, and conspiratorial.

Wayne Tedrow and Dwight Holly are back as main players, as are "Gay" Edgar Hoover, Howard "Dracula" Hughes in his decadent decline, Richard Nixon in his ascent to power, assorted Mob figures, American celebrities major and minor, sundry Communist revolutionaries, banana republic dictators, Haitian voodoo kings
aPriL does feral sometimes

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James Ellroy's literary Underworld USA Trilogy is worthy of reading, especially the first book, 'American Tabloid'. However, the next two novels I did not admire as much. 'Blood's a Rover' is the last one and I was glad of that. In my opinion, the taut-tough-terse construction which makes 'American Tabloid' a classic of American literature is missing from the next two books, taking the sense of very interesting fraught and anxious criminal depravity away with its disappearance. Instead, the rea
Fairly disappointing Ellroy. Still an exhilirating ride, but the pay-off was very unsatisfying. This is the conclusion to his American Tabloid trilogy. The first part was based around the assassination of JFK, and the second around those of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Ellroy, justifiably, decided not to cover the Watergate scandal in the third volume, but that left no comparable historic events to anchor this book, making it feel a far less significant work. This sadly drags down the t ...more
Ellroy, James. BLOOD’S A ROVER. (2009). **. I’m a big fan of Ellroy, or at least I used to be. This novel, the third in his latest trilogy began with “American Tabloid,” and was followed by “The Cold Six Thousand.” It is a relatively stand-alone book, though some of the characters from the previous two show up again. It is written in his familiar – of late – staccato form, much like an old Walter Winchell broadcast. In fact, reading the book is like sitting through a six-hour Winchell marathon t ...more
So I've finished Blood's A Rover and I am happy to say that my initial enthusiasm carried throughout the entire read. I was so sad to see it finish, which is rare for a crime novel. While I tend to think the best crime novels are the equal of the best litfic, there are those that disagree. Genre snobs should consider the book a literary work and note that while its story line is like that of a thriller, the depth of character, the singular use of language and syntax and the emotional depth of th ...more
This trilogy seriously goes downhill after the excellent "American Tabloid." Not only does the writing style become increasingly more inscrutable (especially in the second book, "The Cold Six Thousand") but the characters become less well-defined and difficult to care about, and the historical stakes they're dealing with get far lower.

Whereas the first book deals largely with the JFK assassination and the lead-up to it (feeding into conspiracy theories and making the reader really think about w
This series really does fall victim to the law of diminished returns. I’ve already noted how ‘The Cold Six Thousand’ is not as good as ‘American Tabloid’, but ‘Blood’s A Rover’ is a considerable dip from all that went before.

It was never going to be easy. ‘American Tabloid’ focused on the assassination of JFK, while ‘The Cold Six Thousand’ built up to the deaths of RFK and Martin Luther King. And although the years after that were tumultuous and eventful ones in America’s history, there is no bi
Evan Wright
I am reading the advance copy. I have devoured all of Ellroy's work, have heard him read and love the manic rhythm of his language. I totally believe when Ellroy is at his best, his work transcends genre, and he is writing Great American Novels.

Blood's a Rover concludes the trilogy that began with American Tabloid, one of his best works and an amazing alternate history of America. I have been waiting for the final installment for a decade. Two hundred pages in, Rover does not disappoint. But I
Perry Whitford
Nov 04, 2013 Perry Whitford rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Non-PC crime lovers.
Dwight Holly and Wayne Tedrow Jnr are back from The Cold Six Thousand, joined here by wannabe spot-tailer and obsessional "peeper" Donald Crutchfield. The men commit the most atrocious acts, become conflicted and then changeable in their convictions as they circle around each other and a handful of similarly obsessional supporting cast members, all against the backdrop of post-Kennedy and Vietnam War era America.
All the characters, regardless of whether they are cops or not, bandy about terms s
The latest from James Ellroy finds his characters not influencing national events like they did in American Tabloid or being caught up in them like they were in The Cold Six Thousand. Instead, they’re trying to do what feels right to them while navigating their way through the war between black militants and the FBI, mobbed up casinos in the Caribbean and a fictional armored car heist.

The big twist this book takes away from other Ellroy novels is how empowered women are throughout the whole stor
Well, JFK, MLK and RFK were all dead by the time this book began, so I was wondering where it would go. Who else could be offed? Thankfully, foreign casino insurgency and a gem heist gone to shit allow Ellroy the chance to work some of his favourite characters (requisite dirty cops, Sal Mineo and Sonny Liston, mysterious double agents, the Mob) into something which isn't quite as weighed down by history as the preceding books in the trilogy.

The gem heist - and where the gems lead - provides a n
I listened to the audio version of "Blood's A Rover" based on a Stephen King EW review in which he essentially called in the best audiobook ever. I guess I'd have to disagree.

Weighing in at over 24 hours it is a very long audio (no surprise, as it is a 640 page book) and I found it very hard to get interested. Eventually, I did become interested in the story, but never to the point I'd say I really liked it. Ellroy plays fast and loose with history, which I suppose is part of his appeal. Many of
A worth conclusion to the trilogy that starts out with American Tabloid and continues through The Cold Six Thousand. Blood's a Rover is written in that same staccato style which can be very hard to read, but once you get into the rhythm of it becomes impossible to put down. James Ellroy is a freak, there is no denying that, and he's really injected himself into this book much more so than in the proceeding novels.

The characters are complex, confused, torn apart and dark. The obsessions that dri
Tim Niland
The concluding volume of Ellroy's "Underground USA" trilogy is nothing less than an alternative history of the United States from the years 1968-1972. In Ellroy's novel, the conspiracy theorists were right - JFK, RFK and MLK were all assassinated through the machinations of an uneasy coalition of rogue CIA/FBI, mafia and patsies. Big plans are still afoot: J. Edgar Hoover, obsessed with black militants, orders his "pet thug" agent Dwight Holly to design a counter-intelligence program to discredi ...more
Oct 23, 2009 Danaher rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to Danaher by: James Ellroy
Huh... I just finished reading this book. I liked parts of it quite a bit and have always loved Ellroy's Style. Something just felt a bit off to me. I'm not exactly sure what it is. I felt like the three main characters lacked a bit of the heft of the earlier ones in this series. Ward, Kemper and Pete were all pretty interesting for me. I never really liked Wayne in 6000 and don't really have much feeling for him here either. Dwight's motivations feel a bit forced in this book. Crutch I guess be ...more
As a conclusion to a large and sprawling trilogy, this book is at best a partial success. After the first two volumes were set squarely in the midst of tumultuous Sixties politics, this one is further away from that, mostly revolving around events in Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic. It feels smaller and more claustrophobic: this is where the ideals have all died and all that remains is, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, the grim meat-hook realities of these brutal years.

As a story in its own
Laura C.
Best part of this book? The fabulous poem snippet from which the book got its title, by A.E.Housman: "Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep. Up, lad: when the journey's over There'll be time enough to sleep." The book is stream of consciousness whack-a doodle craziness where the world must be another universe, where good is bad and the protagonist appears to be a sweaty patricidal young man who wastes his Mormon father who would have wasted him first if he coul ...more
In the main, this book is both pretty depressing and thoroughly addictive. It meant that I was continually picking it up and putting it down and immediately picking it up again. It's amazing how you warm to the most awful people in Ellroy's hands; he does a very good line in troubled antiheroes who have been trapped by their own regretted decisions and action. They have redeeming qualities though I wrongly assumed there would be no redemption for them. There is of sorts and the book ends less bl ...more
All a bit familiar really. Tiger Kab; Carribean; Reds; Klan; Bad White Men. The narrative was as Byzantine and compelling as you would expect from Ellroy, but some of its stylisation and characterisation fell dreadfully flat. This was particularly the case when Ellroy attempts to write the first person narratives of people he thinks should be 'intellectual' (Marsh Bowen - no relation, and Karen Sifakis). The overlaps in vocabulary between the narrative voice and these portraits (I mean really, h ...more
Wow. Seriously. Wow.

If you've got 26 hours to blow, put on your seatbelt and grab this audiobook. It got me from Portland to Los Angeles and back, driving.

If I had read the book, I would have probably given it four stars. The structure and story feels familiar, some of the same schtick as his previous two books, with slightly less of the depth of character. But Craig Wasson's read is masterful. It really bolsters the argument of the Audiobook as its own medium.

Haitian voodoo, J. Edgar Hoover, bl
This was good, not great. It is the final book in Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy, a reinvention of American history during the 1960's where the FBI and the mafia work together to assassinate the Kennedys and Martin Luther King. This book takes place after Nixon's election, and chronicles the fall of J Edgar Hoover and his domestic spying policies. The novel is almost relentlessly dark, with the main characters (and most of the minor ones) being distinguished only by their varying degrees of evi ...more
James Ellroy does one style and you know what you are going to get from the first page, sleazy characters, noble psychopaths, everybody is deeply deeply damaged and deeply deeply messed up. Oh and of course everything is driven by every paranoids favourite fantasies.

Sometimes when reading this book I felt that the author needed to give himself and us a bit of break. Maybe throw in a happy puppy or an accountant who does not work for the mob, likes his wife and never killed his dad with his bare
Patrick O'Neil
James Ellroy writes big books - and no I'm not talking size, I'm talking ambitious encompassing BIG books. His plots - although some would say they're really history retold - go on for days. He's got so many subplots a dance card would be nice just to know whose tangoing, and with whom. Blood's A Rover is the final book of his Underworld USA Trilogy. The first, American tabloid, brilliant. The second, The Cold Six Thousand, almost brilliant. Blood's A Rover falls more in the latter's category. ...more
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James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international best sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine’s Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Underworld USA (3 books)
  • American Tabloid (Underworld USA, #1)
  • The Cold Six Thousand (Underworld USA #2)
The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quartet, #1) L.A. Confidential (L.A. Quartet, #3) American Tabloid (Underworld USA, #1) The Big Nowhere (L.A. Quartet, #2) White Jazz (L.A. Quartet, #4)

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“Our shared world is humanly unquantifiable and ideologically confused. Which one of them is capable of implementing the most recognizable harm or good? ” 8 likes
“Big D. November '63. He was there that Big Weekend. He caught the Big Moment and took this Big Ride.

He was a sergeant on Vegas PD. He was married. He had a chemistry degree. His father was a big Mormon fat cat. Wayne Senior was jungled up all over the nut Right. He did Klan ops for Mr. Hoover and Dwight Holly. He pushed high-line hate tracts. He rode the far-Right zeitgeist and stayed in the know. He knew about the JFK hit. It was multi-faction: Cuban exiles, rogue CIA, mob. Senior bought Junior a ticket to ride.

Extradition job with one caveat: kill the extraditee.”
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