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L.A. Confidential (L.A. Quartet #3)

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,056 Ratings  ·  563 Reviews
Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers. The novel takes these cops on a sprawling epic of brutal violence and the murd ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published June 1st 1990 by Mysterious Press (first published 1990)
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Cathy I would also recommend reading Clandestine by the same author somewhere in between. It gives some good insight into one of the recurring major…moreI would also recommend reading Clandestine by the same author somewhere in between. It gives some good insight into one of the recurring major characters.(less)

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Richard Vialet
L.A. Confidential feels like the book that James Ellroy has been preparing for and working up to during his entire career up to this point. He takes all of the themes he explored in previous novels and packs them into a book that's an even larger, more epic tale of crime, perversion, and Hollywood corruption than any of his previous books. L.A. Confidential tells the story of three LAPD officers who are initially at odds with one another after the infamous Bloody Christmas police brutality scand ...more
Cathy DuPont
Jan 27, 2015 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noir lovers
1) Yes, this was excellent.
2) Yes, this was hard-boiled.
3) Yes, this had confusing storylines.
4) Yes, this book needed a list of characters (unless you have an incredible memory.)
5) Yes, I wanted to give this book a solid five stars.

I have been wanting to read this great book for years, then when I saw I had 10 friends who read it, it became a must read now. Of those 10 friends, five gave it four stars and five five stars, so I knew it was great.

Ellroy wrote The Black Dahalia which I loved, g
Nov 29, 2015 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
"Whatever you desire."


" passage for ruthless men in love."


Like Fight Club, 'L.A. Confidential' is one of those contemporary novels that provides a certain literary difficulty for readers who come to it AFTER the film dropped because the directors (David Fincher, Curtis Hanson) created such large, iconic images out of the novels. L.A. Confidential's major characters are all very similar to the movie, but there are some major omissions and changes made in the movie that keep Elloroy's urtex
The never-ending parade of homogenous macho cops; the weak, dependable women - perfect victims for any crime; the overwhelmingly complex story line, sub-plot within sub-plot, twist upon twist - all that delivered in a flat, dry style. That's an Ellroy novel for you.

I know that it's supposed to add up to this intricate, dark story interwoven with sex and violence and thus gripping, like nothing else. But I, frankly, was bored to death. The scheming was a tad too elaborate for my taste. After a w
I had seen the superb movie many times (it's in my top five) before reading this book, and wondered how the two would compare. Ellroy's novel is also superb, and in some ways the movie reads directly from it (much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim) but there are huge differences.

Fit into a couple hours and what feels like a year's worth of time, the movie is much more concise. The book is far more sprawling, taking place over almost a decade, connecting to both the prequel (The Big Nowhere, ou
Since at least The Black Dahlia Ellroy has been kicking at the walls to the crime genre with a gleeful gleam in his eye, going for more and more setting, characters, scope and layers upon layers of plot as well as honing and shaping his prose into something more quick and lethal. The Big Nowhere was a major step in this direction and by the prologue of this book the walls are shattered and Ellroy's off and running with his sprawling vision of L.A. from '50 to '58 and an utterly complex series of ...more
May 30, 2015 Leonard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
No redemption in James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential

More corrupted cops, conniving DAs, ruthless gangsters, psychopathic killers. Less truth and even less justice in the City of the Angels. Welcome to the world of James Ellroy. More setups, more cover-ups, more fall guys, more hush-hushes. Likeable characters? Not in this novel. Heroes and good guys? Sure, plenty in the news (besides here at Hush-Hush). Just don’t look in the closet or underneath the carpet. Redemption? Only if you’ve been living u
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2008 Gemma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't do it. I hate the jivey style-- it tries too hard. It is a parody of itself.

I know that white cops in the 50s were racist-- I get it-- but the racism is almost sadistic in this book. Like, did we really need all that detail? All those epithets? Really?

Maybe I started reading this under false pretenses. I was like "Old Hollywood! True crime! Pavement-pounding cops!" I love the idea of L.A. in the 50s, the seedy underbelly of all that glamor. I love crime writing, I love portraits of kill
Steven Belanger
Feb 08, 2011 Steven Belanger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In terms of perfection, I give this one a slight nod over The Black Dahlia, and the only reason I can give you is that I got that feeling as I was reading it. You just get this strong sensation that you are reading something great, something unique that will stand as the best of its type. Perhaps some of it is in retrospect, as I finished this long ago, and certainly the excellent movie helps the idea. (The movie is perhaps a classic of its type as well.)

To give you an idea of how complex the pl
Jul 18, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, crime, mystery
L.A. Confidential begins by clearing away any hope you had left after the end of The Big Nowhere. Then Ellroy rubs his hands together and really gets going, with this shaggy, incredible novel of justice, violence, politicking, and redemption.

Our LAPD trio here is Edmund "Ed" Exley, Wendell "Bud" White, and "Trashcan" Jack Vincennes. Vincennes is a consultant for the upright TV show Badge of Honor and the darling boy of Hush-Hush magazine, but even though he makes frequent appearances as a heroic
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Aug 27, 2015 Serena.. Sery-ously? rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Mi chiedo sinceramente come possa aver letto questo libro solo a 25 anni compiuti..

L.A. Confidential è un pilastro. Punto.
Uno di quei pilastri che TUTTI dovrebbero leggere, non so se rendo..

Crudo, cattivo, scorretto, impietoso ma intelligente, adrenalico e CAVOLI se è un "OMG"!.

Nota di grande biasimo per il traduttore che spero stia passando il resto della sua vita a Guantanamo per crimini contro l'umanità, perché se avessi voluto un libro tradotto come avrebbe potuto fare un cane usando googl
Sep 09, 2013 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
imponente e ambizioso, nella struttura: trame e sottotrame, storie intricatissime che s'intrecciano e si ricongiungono nel finale che risolve ogni interrogativo e chiude il cerchio. personaggi che sono, allo stesso tempo, archetipici e vivi: poliziotti corrotti, gangster, spacciatori di qualunque cosa e sostanza, prostitute (nessuno è come sembra, poi- e questo li rende umani). impianto narrativo d'altri tempi ma stile da romanzo di genere- ecco il voto appena più basso di quel che dovrebbe esse ...more
Scott Sigler
I loved this book. I'm probably going to mainline the rest of the series in short order. Ellroy's writing style is fantastic: concise and punchy, with only the bare minimum words needed to communicate the message. I've never read anything quite like it, and it's already had an impact on my writing style.

Why only four stars? I'm not a big reader of the crime genre, and I wasn't prepared for the density and intricacy of this plot. Honestly, I had only a general idea of what was going on most of t
Krok Zero
I was debating between 3/5 or 4/5...I'd go with 3.5/5 if I could. But as good as Ellroy is, L.A. Confidential seems really structurally problematic to me. The plotting is insanely intricate, yes, which isn't really a demerit in itself. Ellroy is such a plot machinist that at times it is impossible to keep up with him. And I'm not entirely sure that he kept up with himself, in this case. But for most of the way I was happily trusting him and letting myself get swept up in the world of the story. ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It should be noted this is a genre book, that the dark and twisted streets here aren't for everyone. If as a child you weren't willing to poke corpses with a stick or pick up rocks to watch the squirming, seething masses of insects swarm - maybe you should pass on Ellroy.

Darker than dark, Ellroy's noir makes other noir books look like silver in comparison. He's true to his era - go watch some movies from the 50s if you don't agree. I'll wait. See how the slang was different? Yeah, that happens.

K Kamath
Sep 06, 2011 K Kamath rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The fiction I can think of, short-stories and novels, which is worse in prose than rendered on the screen includes, The Godfather, LA Confidential, The Duellists, possibly Ben-Hur. To Have and Have Not offers a case where the film shares the same title as the novella but is just different. One could argue that is true a lot, most movies are different from the literary sources, but to leave the thinking only that far would be a sign of mental laziness, a common condition among our contemporaries. ...more
Tim Niland
Sep 28, 2015 Tim Niland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
This is perhaps crime novelist James Elroy's best known novel following an excellent movie adaptation starring Russel Crowe and Kim Basinger. But the book is so much better (isn't it always?) This is the story of crime in Los Angeles in the 1950's, the perfect place and time to set an epic noir story. The plot follows a number of police officers as they investigate the horrific murder of six people at a cafe only to see the crime weave into a a web of pornography, prostitution, corruption and dr ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I remember the movie from a while ago, and I do enjoy a good James Ellroy novel, so I was excited to read LA Confidential. To my surprised this book seems a bit all over the place, more so than usual and at times I struggled to keep up with what is happening. I know Ellroy likes to have a lot happening at his complex plots do come together but I did feel like it was a bit too much like a chore to keep up in this book.

LA Confidential is about organized crime, politics, corruption, drugs, pornogr
Sam Reader
Apr 27, 2013 Sam Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

So the rundown is as follows: I love this book. I think it's one of the best crime novels I've ever read, and that James Ellroy, along with Raymond Chandler, is one of the few people who actually getsnoir. The characters and dialogue are definitely the high points of the work, as well as a plot that twists and turns in just the right way, so each new revelation drives home the point that everyone involved is in over their heads. It's a very dark, beautiful book about flawed ch
Aug 22, 2012 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In the tradition of Raymond Chandler's crime fiction comes this story of three tortured souls in the 1950s LAPD: a clean-cut cop who lives shivering in the shadow of his dad, his colleague who busts movie stars for payoffs from a sleazy magazine; and a detective haunted by the sight of his mother's murder. Intensity mounts as the novel's various plots intertwine more."

The movie is in my 'top 10 best movies' of all time...faithfully adapted from the book. Plot, characters, atmosphere, suspense,
Aug 02, 2009 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this made me appreciate just how good a job the screenwriters did when adapting it for film. Don't get me wrong, the book is good--suspenseful, expansive, a proper *big* novel--but it feels, particularly at the end, like everything including the bloodied kitchen sink has gone into it. Drugs? Check. Prostitution? Check. Child molesters, women haters, police corruption, organised crime, Los Angeles highway system? Cheeeeck. Also, a few of the characters feel like near-carbon copies of each ...more
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
This book sustained our cross-country road trip - from LA to Chicago for new beginnings and my new job. 3 adults and 2 cats in the cab of a U-Haul truck. And our "stories," which gave birth to such in-jokes as "Roller Skating Mom Porn."

I had seen the movie, but the audio book was great - a great reader and just the right amount of plot-heavy movement that makes for a great audiobook. I find Ellroy's prose to be a bit much when I'm reading it, but put it in the mouth of an exceptional actor and
Aug 15, 2015 Aditya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellroy's sin-sational crime epic is fascinating to read until it stumbles underneath its own weight in the last part

This review does not contain any Spoiler.

In nature and scope L.A. Confidential is a sprawling epic dealing with age old themes of justice, redemption and ambition coated in layers and layers of plot filled with deception, violence and depravity. All of Ellroy's signature mannerisms are in place - three dimensional characters fighting their own demons, unrelenting cynicism, l
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Had to read it because I again watched the movie for the n-th time. Goodcopbadcop movie can't get better than this. Book on the other hand is so confusing and so long. I mean, it's the same as the movie just I had to check IMdB all the time to connect all the names and who's joined with whom, because it's straight to the bone - cut to the chase kind of talk. Of course I prefer Basinger Crow version.
-Noir de antaño con formas actuales.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. En la ciudad de Los Ángeles de comienzos de los años cincuenta, la corrupción y el crimen empapan la sociedad, incluyendo al departamento de policía de la ciudad. Tres de sus integrantes, muy distintos en personalidad, funciones y forma de actuar, terminan viendo como se cruzan sus destinos debido a las ramificaciones de un crimen múltiple en un bar. Tercer volumen de la serie conocida como Cuarteto de Los Ángeles.

¿Quiere sab
Jul 19, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another trip to Ellroy's fever-dream rendition of Post-War Los Angeles. This time the prose is sharper and the story (and the body count) is bigger than before. The trio of Very Bad Men at the novel's center are Ellroy's most well-defined and compelling yet. The horror, guilt, and paranoia is still present from The Black Dahlia and The Big Nowhere. There's also a new focus on ambition: the costs (to self and others) of prestige and material gain, and the even greater costs of redemption after th ...more
Maria João Fernandes
"Não tenhas medo de ter medo. É uma fraqueza."

"L.A. Cofidential" é um livro obrigatório para os amantes de noir. James Ellroy não poupa os mais sensíveis e por volta da página 28, deste conto longo, caótico e hipnotizante, o autor já ofendeu todas as raças, crenças e excentricidades possíveis e imagináveis! E com o mesmo desdém, Ellroy renuncia todos os verbos, nomes e adjectivos que são obstáculos para o ritmo único da sua narrativa. O excesso de nomes de personagens é recuperado na clareza e p
Arun Divakar
It's a little boy's dream : grow up and become a Cop. Beat up the bad guys, Shoot'em up, walk around in uniform. The little boys grow up, they see the real life cops and the dreams begin to fade and lose color. It's probably a life of dealing with what society calls scum that pushes many men over the edge into corruption and outright thuggery. L.A. Confidential is cops, all about cops and nothing but cops.

There is a heinous crime which acts as the fulcrum and the entire story revolves around it.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

L.A. Quartet (4 books)
  • The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quartet, #1)
  • The Big Nowhere (L.A. Quartet, #2)
  • White Jazz (L.A. Quartet, #4)

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“Some men get the world, some men get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona. You're in with the former, but my God I don't envy the blood on your conscience.” 20 likes
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