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Brown's Requiem

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,445 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Los Angeles - Fritz Brown, ex-alcoholic private eye with a stained past, makes do with car repossessions and classical music. Then he is offered a case by Freddy 'Fat Dog' Baker, an eccentric golf caddy whose sister has made off with a much older man. This is the beginning of the nightmare: the underworld of golf caddies arson and incest played against the backdrop of an L ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,084)
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Robert
I love hard-boiled voices. Why? You might ask. Because I like seeing a dickhead get punched in the gullet and knocked on his keister. I take an absurdly sick pleasure in this scenario. Again, you might ask why. Well…because I have literally been an underdog my entire life. I might as well have a t-shirt with the mantra “Constantly Underestimated.” If it were a theme song, I’d sing the chorus, pound the drums, and lead the backup vocals. But I don’t mind. In fact, it’s great when the bar is set l ...more
Tfitoby
Even the Demon Dog of American fiction had to start somewhere, and this debut noir bears the hallmark naivety of a first novel whilst setting out a clear mission statement for all that would come from the pen of James Ellroy. It's just a bit dull and obvious however.

At 256 pages this is perhaps the shortest of all his novels and as the story progressed I became more and more grateful for that fact as more and more trite, cliche, amateur scenes unfolded. Fritz Brown is already almost the typical
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Adam
Brown's Requiem is a pretty typical first novel. It's jam-packed with extraneous details that seem drawn from the author's life but that have little to do with the central plot (e.g., classical music, golf caddying, an alcoholic friend of the protagonist who lives with his mother, binge drinking, eating roasted dog with hippies down in Mexico), and a first-person narrator who's poorly defined and inconsistent.

This is the third novel by James Ellroy I've read. I found his "telegraphic" writing st
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
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Tim Niland
James Ellroy would go on to be called the "demon dog of crime fiction" and it all starts here with his first novel. Drawing on his experience as a transient and a golf caddy while growing up in Los Angeles, Ellroy adds touches from his own biography into this hard boiled detective story. Fitz Brown is an ex-LAPD officer, currently working as a private investigator and car repo man. When he is contacted by a disheveled and possibly insane golf caddy to spy on his sister who is living with an olde ...more
Tim Hainley
Entertaining, very early Ellroy crime novel. It was written in the present time back in 1982, so it's fun to hear him grumping about punks and new wavers. He hadn't quite figured out all of his craft and style, but the building blocks and plotting are all there.

BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T BUY THE KINDLE VERSION. THE WORST.
Nick
Compellingly illustrated themes of addiction and abandonment drive a sordid mystery written in the heart of LA, and branching off into the desert cities and up to San Francisco with detail that places the reader at those exact street corners. The mystery unravels in thick jolts, sometimes to its exciting benefit, but often in ways that leaves the reader reading on for Brown's elaboration on exactly why the revelation is significant. The density of the mystery is sometimes difficult to track and, ...more
Simon
Never once wanted to pause in reading this one.
Eric_W
Two weeks before the Utopia Club was consumed by an arsonist's torch, private investigator and car repossessor Fritz Brown was having a drink there when the man next to him spilled his drink in Fritz's lap. The man immediately apologized. Re cognition of that man was to be the key unraveling a mystery almost ten years later.

Fritz Brown is James Ellroy's first creation and a worthy successor to Philip Marlowe. Brown is an ex-cop, dismissed from the L.A.P.D. for having broken the legs of the Vice
...more
Melissa Peltier
James Ellroy's first novel is very much a first novel - albeit the first novel of a soon-to-be-great writer. In fact, if this were anyone but James Ellroy, I might be giving it a 4-star review, for the confident, lyrical fluidity of the prose; the command of character and description; the verisimilitude and the evocative atmosphere of Los Angeles in the 80's. Knowing what Ellroy was yet to become, however, it's hard not to compare Brown's Requiem to LA Confidential or any of Mr. E's later greate ...more
Nicholas Pell
So after reading the other reviews, I think I get why this book is somewhat confusing to me.

The read itself wasn't confusing, but I read this book as an example of how The Great James Ellroy writes. While the book was certainly entertaining and even compelling at points, I was hard pressed to understand why he is known as one of the greats of crime fiction. I get that the point isn't to write Ulysses, but this struck me as the type of thing that I could bang out in a weekend given enough uninte
...more
Brandon
Good - not great - mystery. Sometimes I felt the plot was quite formulaic, and sometimes things seemed to work out a little too easily for protagonist Fritz Brown. Some characters are very free to give up information in the story, which at times just did not seem very realistic. I do love the irony, though, that while Fritz's tough case seems to fall into place easily sometimes, the ideal life he envisions does not come so easily for him.

The biggest problem might be that the antagonists in the
...more
Matteo Pellegrini

La vita di Fritz Brown, ex poliziotto con problemi di alcool, è un intrico di contraddizioni. Come la sua Los Angeles, persa tra lo scintillio di Hollywood e l'inferno dei bassifondi. E quando Brown inizia a indagare sugli strani giri di denaro che ruotano attorno al golf club, si trova invischiato in un oscuro turbine di corruzione, sesso e crudeli vendette, su cui grava ancora l'ombra di un serial killer e l'odio di un vecchio massacro.

Chris
Another gritty noir from James Ellroy, the (subsequent) author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia. An early work, you can see the author still finding his footing. Brown's Requiem, unlike most of his other novels, takes place in contemporary times (well, contemporary when it was written, 1981), but even though the setting has changed, the scenery hasn't. All the hard-boiled staples are there: a private dick investigating a hazy maze of confusion, corrupt cops, a "femme fatale" who may or ...more
Maria Gomez
First Ellroy Book

a solid and quick read that is really good but not great. The plot is compelling and while the story has some minor plot holes and some cliche moments you can see the potential of a great writer who can truly share his view of the world around him.
Godzilla
My edition of this has a neat introduction from Ellroy, which set the scene for how he came to write the book, gives a little more background to some of the events, and expresses a desire that his books get better chronologically.

I did find some of the characterizations slightly superficial (compared to later works of his that I've read), and the plot did feel slightly jumbled together.

However there's still a kernel of goodness underlying the brutality and slightly sketchy start to his novel wri
...more
John McKenna
Ellroy has incorporated all of his life experiences into his writing, and it makes his prose and narratives pop and sizzle with an electric intensity that grabs the reader on page one and never lets go until the conclusion.
Jim
A solid, pretty straigh-foward (lots of long monologues) private eye story set in Los Angeles of the 1980s. A classical-music-loving ex-cop and repo man picks up an assignment as a detective that moves him into the world of golf caddying and arson, toward more sinister characters and crime. He is an alcoholic, violent, sex-addled character. Ellroy provides an interesting window into southern California and Mexico. This apparently is one of Ellroy's first works, and it is instructive to see his e ...more
Peter Shovlin
Elroy's first book, arguably before he found his own voice fully. The style is very Chandler noir, albeit it's a riveting, dark tale which takes you below the border in more ways than one
Paul
Solid first novel from Ellroy. He is still finding his own style, but the themes that occur in his later works are already in evidence.
Bob
Glimpses of Ellroy to come. A good first book, but he clearly doesn't have the strong voice honed at this stage. Other books are much better, but this is a solid start.
Cathi Davis
Ugh. Pointless, violent, unbelievable, crude, no story that makes sense. Call it graphic realism, but I call it detailed fantasy. Using actual names and places doesn't mean that they actually exist as described in this book.
Sadly, the "looping life" described is probably accurate because Ellroy supported himself as a caddy, But it might put you off golf for good. ( He makes his main character...Dan Brown...a naif when it comes to golf, a device for lots (too much?) of golf and caddying expositi
...more
RB Love
I was close to four stars on this, but I have to say that Ellroy's persona gets in the way for me. His ego, whether its real or manufactured - and it seems completely manufactured, bugs to an extent and it comes through his narrator. His overpowering talent and skill with the layered plotting and the old school noir prose is what happens most though. So, through and through Brown's Requiem is highly diggable.
I am encouraged by this edition's Author Introduction to "read all my books in successio
...more
Clay Nichols
Ellory before Ellroy was Ellroy.

For fans this will be an interesting exploration of the early years, the Blue period, of the crime writer's career. A fairly standard noir procedural, with a sensitive but tough ex-cop protagonist, the interesting milieu of golf caddies, moments, hints of the kind of hyper-violence that erupts in his later work. The narrative voice doesn't have the broken, staccato snap of the later work, but this is a solid effort. Clearly an homage to earlier masters. Derivativ
...more
Liz
I'm not a huge fan of crime writing in general and this one is a bit weak, even for Ellroy. The characters are all pretty stock and the plot is rather predictable. The book does provide an interesting peek into the seedy underworld of L.A. golf caddies. (Apparently Ellroy was a caddy for many years. Huh.) This probably only really deserves two stars, but I just had to much fun reading the prose -- I will go to my grave a sucker for hard-boiled slang, even if it's "just the usual rebop."
Kate
I'm a fan of some of James Ellroy's later work, especially L.A. Confidential and The Cold Six Thousand, so I thought, why not give this early work a try, since it was a Kindle $1.99 deal. If you have read Ellroy you will recognize some recurring themes and preoccupations but stylistically this book is immature: he is too obviously channeling pulp novels of the 1940s and 50s, and I think every alcoholic-ex-cop-turned-P.I. cliche is represented here.
Roxane
Interesting story about a sometime PI, sometime Repo Man, who is hired by a Caddy (yes - a golf caddy) to look into the man his sister is living with. Mr. Ellroy gives you a lot of things to think about and opens up a whole new world re: Caddy's (well, it was new to me). I did enjoy my first James Ellroy and it will not be the last - now I just have to decide which will be the next....The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz, The Big Nowhere, etc., etc...
Lee
Ellroy's first novel! Did not realize that until opening up Goodreads to rate it. All of Ellroy's themes, strengths and joys are here. Murder, sex, deception, organized crime, L.A. cops, ever crooked, ever trigger-happy, a Wild West remnant holding back and contributing to the tide of crime that washes over the city.

(Have a different Avon Books edition, a 1981 1st edition with a picture of a woman which evokes the 1980s prints of Patrick Nagel.)
Dan Pecchenino
This is a first novel by a talented writer. The dialogue mostly sucks, and MANY parts of the book tell when they should show. And, like of a lot of detective novels, the plot doesn't totally hang together. But damn if there aren't some amazing descriptions of places and feelings throughout this book. Ellroy gets LA, golf courses, classical music, male disappointment, alcoholism, and anger. Worth a read if you like good detective fiction.
David
I'd read Ellroy in the past and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This book, however, does not measure up to some of his other work. The main character, indeed, all of the characters, lack development and function more like wind-up toys than actual people. The detective is unique simply because he likes classical music (and hates bad guys, including himself), but that isn't enough to make him human or particularly interesting.
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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
More about James Ellroy...
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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