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The Cold Six Thousand (Underworld USA #2)
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The Cold Six Thousand (Underworld USA #2)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  4,430 ratings  ·  232 reviews
In this savagely audacious novel, James Ellroy plants a pipe bomb under the America in the 1960s, lights the fuse, and watches the shrapnel fly. On November 22, 1963 three men converge in Dallas. Their job: to clean up the JFK hit’s loose ends and inconvenient witnesses. They are Wayne Tedrow, Jr., a Las Vegas cop with family ties to the lunatic right; Ward J. Littell, a d ...more
Paperback, 688 pages
Published June 11th 2002 by Vintage (first published 2001)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
35th out of 465 books — 536 voters
Caught Stealing by Charlie HustonGalveston by Nic PizzolattoAlready Dead by Charlie HustonL.A. Confidential by James EllroyThe Guards by Ken Bruen
New School of Noir
28th out of 150 books — 131 voters

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Community Reviews

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“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white*” -- nixon was a racist, red-baiting bastard. nixon was a paranoid insecure fuck who probably jacked it at night thinking about days spent bugging offices and launching latin american juntas. nixon said "make their economy scream" to 'the jew' (his term of affection for kissinger) as a means to destabilize Chile in order to insert an american-friendly right-wing dicktator.

LBJ was cheating on Ladybird,
Apr 03, 2012 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone not looking for cheer
This one gets the full-on review because I wrote one up a few years back in an attempt to understand whether I liked the book. I'm a big Ellroy fan, but the moral stance he takes in this novel is complex, and I had to think it through. I end up siding with him, if you don't want the whole thing. Or, if you have a few minutes:

James Ellroy’s novel The Cold Six Thousand, is an addictively compelling story driven almost exclusively by morally repugnant characters. The characters in Ellroy’s police n
American Tabloid was about criminals making history and culminated with the plot to kill Jack Kennedy. In The Cold Six Thousand, the characters aren't trying to make history, they're just trying to survive it.

American Tabloid is one of my all-time favorite books. The second part of this trilogy has always been a bit of a disappointment to me. I read both again to prep for the release of the final book, Blood's A Rover. With that one sitting here, just waiting for me to start reading, I'm feeling
American Tabloid ends with Pete Bourdant watching Barbara do a rendition of "Unchained Melody" in some Dallas lunchtime geek joint on a particularly historical November morning in 1963. The novel ends with Pete watching and waiting for the screams to start.

The Cold Six Thousand picks up earlier that morning with a new character Wayne Tedrow Jr. flying from Vegas to Dallas to hunt down a black (sorry I can't bring myself to use a more PC term nor can I bring myself to put the N word in the revie
I read the first third with so-so but hopeful interest and a mounting headache, then, unable to take anymore but still wanting to know what happens, I skimmed through to the last fourth and read that, which gave me the gist of the story and the outcomes for principal characters. There's a good novel here and a few great scenes, but Ellroy's hard-boiled style and signature staccato sentences mostly felt forced and routinely maddened; as my daughter used to say about frustrating reads: "This is ma ...more
This trilogy presents something like a postmodern (L.-F.) Céline. If L.-F. came back to life in contemporary America, this is the sort of thing he might have written (I am talking, of course, about 'late' Céline -- Castle to Castle, etc.). It is very intense. Perhaps one has to be obsessed with the period/events to 'dig it' -- as I am.

Céline, of course, is more authentic -- Ellroy is fictionalizing far more. I'm sure Fred Otash (whom I now realize I sorta crossed paths with as a teenager -- so m
The Crimson Fucker
WARNING: reading more than 50 pages of this book after a six hour Marathon Final Fantasy Crisis Core, finishing The Catcher in the Rye and watching a crappy Bruce Willis movie may result in total and absolute psychological melt down… that being said I’ma go put on my aluminum foil hat and protect my cake flour cuz I know them aliens want it!!!
superata la possibilità abbandono

E' dura questa quasi prima esperienza nel genere, immediatamente chiara è solo la collocazione spazio-temporale iniziale: Dallas, 22 novembre 1963. Ho già letto e riletto alcune decine di pagine che ora sono segnate a margine, sottolineate e già sciupate e inizio a capire che forse le figure principali, a parte i morti, sono Wayne Tedrow, Ward Littell e Pete Bondurant ma anche le loro (o non proprio loro) donne lo sono, forse, e inizio anche a capire che qui la n
Another breathtaking, snarled novel by Ellroy, filled with phenomenally unlikeable people doing despicable things, and you can't stop reading it. Starts with the Kennedy assassination in Dallas and goes on to police corruption in Vegas, the mob, Cuba, the start of the war in Vietnam, sexual shenanigans, racism and the civil rights movement, Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes, in other words, every damn thing that happened in 1963 and '64... I love this dirty poetry, so for an extra treat, I'm listen ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Daryl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
As excited as I was to read Ellroy's American Tabloid, I found this sequel a bit disappointing. The story continues to follow several mercenaries, politicos, and downright nasty criminal types, as it moves from the JFK assassination in '63, through the assassinations of MLK and RFK in '68. There's a lot of hard-boiled crime and political manipulation stuff that's pretty interesting, as the three main characters try to eliminate anyone in the know about the JFK assassination. However, there are s ...more
Chilly SavageMelon
Ellroy writes. Short, clipped, fragment sentences. Guys do shit. Girls do shit. Many characters are similar. Style doesn't help. '63 -'68. The killing of John to the killing of Bobby. MLK, CIA, FBI. Hoover. Hughes. Vegas. 'Nam. The shit goes on for 670 pages. Is this a novel, or the notes for said novel? Ellroy did this to me with White Jazz. Didn't dig it as much as some of his other stuff. Lack of style. Or wrong style. Minimalism can lead to heavy hits. Big Impact. Or it can come off as absur ...more
Titus Burley
Can a book trouble, offend, unsettle, blaspheme, and ultimately flagellate the senses of its readers and still be a five star book that upon completing you immediately place in your "I will read again" category of important titles? Welcome to the realm of James Ellroy books. The late Barbara Seranella, a wonderful author in her own right, once told me in a long one on one conversation at a book event about attending a particular group's meetings (ahem, I won't mention the two initials of the gro ...more
Ian Mapp
You have to experience these books. No one can tell you what it is like to read them.

Is it literature? I think not, the repetitive style, the lack of descriptions, the frankly non existant characterisation, the way key events hang at the end of sentances and moves on. We know next to nothing about what motivates these characters and why they are doing the things they do.

Is it Fiction? Possibly, but it is an alternative take on 60s america, following on from American Tabloid, and the death of the
This volume of James Ellroy’s alternate and hysterical history of the Sixties, stretches from the aftermath of the JFK assassination right up to the death of RFK. That was obviously a turbulent period in American history and it’s not surprising that this book at times feels rushed, as if trying to unpack too much at once. Which in a way is odd, as it also feels at points more style over substance. All of Ellroy’s various literary ticks are given full reign in this volume, to the level that someo ...more
Roderick Hart
Distinguishing features of this book are staccato ‘sentences’ and extreme violence. I got truly fed up with the sheer quantity of ‘scoped’, ‘braced’ and ‘clipped’. The staccato thing is an affectation of the author, who can write genuine sentences when he wants to. He usually wants to during exchanges between J Edgar Hoover and others, these having the effect of making J Edgar appear the most articulate individual in the book. I tend to think you can’t be articulate without being intelligent, so ...more
Still good, but not as good as the opener of this trilogy "American Tabloid" (a must-read for crime fiction enthusiasts). Among one of the most racism-based books I have ever read, "The Cold Six Thousand" pulls no punches in showing the hatred White America had for the Outsider (whether it be African-Americans, Viet Cong, and Communists). It is written in short, quick pace that Ellroy said was specific to this book alone due to its storyline being set through the mid-60s. This format does make t ...more
Adam Hewitt
‘The Cold Six Thousand’ is a dark, cynical, angry, violent book, full of terrible people doing terrible things.

It picks up precisely where ‘American Tabloid’ left off, and drags the characters from that novel, plus some new faces, through the post-JFK mid to late-60s: Vietnam, drugs, organised crime, civil rights, and the Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy assassinations.

The language is incredibly violent: violently racist, violently misogynistic, violently violent. It’s got a very unusual, s
David Batten
The hardest boiled of crime and detective writers turns to politics to cover the right wing underbelly of the sixties. Starting with White Jazz, Ellroy changed his writing to a more modernist, fast paced and chopped up narrative style, and it gets even more extreme as he progresses through the Underworld USA series.

The series begins with American Tabloid, which covers the late 50s up through the Bay of Pigs to the JFK assassination, twisting in every conspiracy theory into a believable narrativ
Reading The Cold Six Thousand is a harrowing, sometimes traumatizing experience. In a July 2006 essay, James Ellroy wrote about how, while he finished writing the book, his life started to unravel: his marriage dissolved, anxiety consumed him and he fell back into addiction. The book feels like something that was written just ahead of a complete emotional breakdown. It's all conspiracies and double-crosses, the violence is frequent and horrifying, and the characters so paranoid that they’re ment ...more
May 03, 2013 David rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Not quite halfway done with this, but I just can't bring myself to finish. I read all of Ellroy's L.A. Quartet (with The Big Nowhere and L.A. Confidential standing out as wonderful works). I read American Tabloid all the way through and, though I didn't love it, found it impossible to put down. This book suffers from too much for me to continue further. The three-to-five word sentences are assaultive and hardly informative after awhile. The action is more of the same from American Tabloid, and t ...more
Jul 30, 2007 Ira rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pulpers
This is the 2nd book in a planned 3 part series that began with American Tabloid. 6K picks up exactly where AT began (late November, 1963 in Dallas).

The only difference between books is that Ellroy seems to have run out of innovative plot and moved to a machine gun form of storytelling. 7 out of 10 sentences are no longer than 3 words a piece. Many are shorter. or Most. Are. Shorter.

The main characters of Ward Littell, Pete B and Wayne Jr. Hoover is back for more as is Hughes, who Ellroy hyste
The second in Ellroy's still unfinished trilogy, Cold picks up right where American Tabloid leaves off -- the Kennedy Assassination. All the same elements are in place -- the sleazy underworld who, in Ellory's world, are in charge of everything, the pulpy lowlifes, and caustically cynical worldview that leaves zero room for optimism. Here, Ellroy offers his unique take on the RFK and MLK assassinations. But it cuts deeper than American Tabloid. There are more double-crosses, more moral crises an ...more
Jul 10, 2007 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists, or those who fild Elmore Leonard too prolix
This book is the worst car crash you've ever heard of, unfolding in excruciating slow motion. The characters are monsters. The action starts at the Kennedy assassination and ends at one of the other assassinations of the 60's, Bobby I think. I winced my way through this book and at the end I wondered why I had stuck with it. I have never been so horrified and repulsed by characters in fiction. But the writing has a force and brutal brevity that I found fascinating. I may read more Ellroy in the ...more
pierlapo  quimby
In Sei pezzi da mille, Ellroy schiaccia il piede sull'acceleratore. Rompe ossa. Spacca culi.
Uomini e donne vivono la Vita. Uomini come Ward Littell, come le Grand Pierre Bondurant, come Wayne Tedrow Jr. Donne come Jane-Arden Smith, Barb Jahelka, Janice Lukens.
Uomini e donne che vivono la Vita davanti ai tuoi occhi, pagina dopo pagina.
Basterebbe solo questo.
E poi c'è lo stile.
Quale scrittore degli ultimi cinquant'anni può vantarsi di aver letteralmente inventato uno stile di scrittura?
Ti fr
I really struggled through this one. I really enjoyed American Tabloid, but this was a but too much for me. The last 100 pages or so made it worth reading to the end, but at one point I thought I was going to just quit reading it. I read this right after reading American Tabloid, and I do want to finish the trilogy, but I am taking a break from Ellroy for awhile.

I think all the hate was really what got to me in this one. It was also more violent, so the hate and the violence made it a lot harde
Kristan McGuinness
Even though I know in my heart that L.H.Oswald killed JFK,I still really enjoyed this book.
Ellroy has a way of writing dialogue that just seems to fit the era he's writing about(1963-1968).
He writes in jive and writes cops really well too(I think he has quite a few cop mates).
It starts with a young Mormon police Officer with a rich right wing Daddy who wants his son sent to Dallas for the assassination of JFK, but ostensibly on other business.
He later learns about this subterfuge and goes off th
The Cold Six Thousand picks up from where American Tabloid left off: immediately following John F. Kennedy's assassination. The broad sweep of history continues through the book - Cuba, Castro, MLK, RFK, Howard Hughes in Vegas, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover and any number of Hollywood figures - are dissected and dramatised. The book takes us from JFK to RFK on one long death trip - with plenty of scalps on the way.

As ever, research and descriptiveness is vibrant and larger-than-life. There's a combi
Joshua Buhs
Epic, though maybe not as good as some of Ellroy's earlier stuff.

I hate to be _that_ guy, and say his first stuff was good, but now he's sold out, man, and I don't really mean it that way.

The book is classic Ellroy--I've read four of his novels so far, and they all are similarly thematically and stylistically, even as they might take on different issues and textures, times and places. He has reduced American prose to its essence: this is Strunk and White as poetry. Almost everything is a declara
Tried very hard but couldn't finish this one (on vacation, no less). Much more fragmented and hard to digest than the brilliant American Tabloid. Has been on hiatus for almost 2 years now. Reminds me of White Jazz, and not in a good way. Heard mixed things about Blood's A Rover, but not in the mood to try it anytime soon.
Loved the plot, but man, that telegraphic prose is getting on my nerves. "He was frazzled. Fried. Frappeed. He friended me on myspace."

I read that Ellroy was using this style to echo the frenzied, frenetic pace of the late '60s, but at times he sounds like a bad beat poet.
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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

Underworld USA (3 books)
  • American Tabloid (Underworld USA, #1)
  • Blood's a Rover (Underworld USA, #3)
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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