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Hollywood Nocturnes

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,803 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Dig it. A famous musician-cum-draft dodger is plotting the perfect celebrity snatch–his own. An ex-con raging on revenge in High Darktown becomes a cop's worst nightmare. While chasing kidnappers, two cops stumble on an okie town as bloody as the O.K. Corral. A strongarm for Howard Hughes and mobster Mickey Cohen finds himself playing both ends against the middle, all for ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Vintage (first published 1993)
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James Ellroy takes noir to a new level of darkness, his characters don't exist in shades of grey they exist in shades of charcoal, nearly all morally bankrupt ready to sell out their principles at a moments notice for a shot at a big score or a hot dame with big lungs.

This was my first experience of his short stories and I'm amazed at the different take on the format he has to most other short story collections I've experienced. For Ellroy the short story is an anecdote from a larger story, even
William Johnson has given a terrific review here with a concise
breakdown of each story. Here is my two cents, to do with
the main story "Dick Contino's Blues". First thing I thought
of when I saw this book in the shops was ""Daddy O"!!! you mean
someone else in the world has heard of this movie"!!!
If you want a huge laugh, go into IMDb and read reviews for
"Daddy O" - a hilarious movie for all the wrong reasons!!
Dick Contino (an old looking 30) playing a teenage punk, jeans
hitched up around his unde
William Johnson
A fantastic collection of noir or pseudo-noir adventures in the hyper-real yet still fantasy based land of LA. Ellroy takes a fascination with failed movie star and cult musician Dick Contino, likely known primarily for his film Daddy-O and its comedic destruction by Joel and the 'Bots on MST3K in the 1990s, and makes him the master of 1950's Los Angeles in the short story 'Dick Contino's Blues'.

The majority of the book is this amazing novella that functions as alternate history and revised noir
Tim Potter
This is a solid collection of short fiction that works best as a companion piece to Ellroy's L.A. Quartet. You'll find that most of the stories involve characters and situations from that work, and going in with some relationship with the characters will give the stories a bigger punch. The first story is a Dick Contino novella, and a great story. Contino's character narrates the story, as he does "Hollywood Shakedown" which would later appear in CRIME WAVE, and Ellroy gives a very unique voice ...more
Sensational compilation of short works by the Clown Prince of Lurid, James Ellroy. The centerpiece of this collection is his novella, "Dick Contino's Blues", about a dull B-movie star turned superhero. I thought most of the stories were okay in a bad Fifties detective show-meets-Dragnet kind of way. The noir tag, however doesn't fit Ellroy as I don't quite see him rubbing elbows with David Goodis or Jim Thompson, both of whom would probably scare the shit out of him.
David H.
Humor and history are two of my favorite subjects. James Ellroy's Dick Contino story is full of laughs. Ellroy goes nuts with alliteration in this and other tales. There are plenty of insults for everybody (Blacks, Jews, Latinos, etc) but this book is sooo much fun. I got to meet Ellroy and take a photo with him. Real nut. One of my favorite writers.
Ashamed to say, that this was my first foray into the dark world of Ellroy. It won't be the last. Not all the stories are classics (some could be left out altogether) and without a reread I would be hard pushed to name a favourite. If, like me, you're yet to read the long acclaimed master of L. A. Noir, this is as good as any place to start.
Matteo Pellegrini
Los Angeles, la metropoli corrotta, violenta, amata, scenario costante di tutta l'opera di Ellroy, è protagonista anche dei cinque racconti e del romanzo breve di questa raccolta. Il romanzo breve, che dà il titolo al volume, ha per protagonista Dick Contino, un fisarmonicista che Ellroy fa rivivere in una storia di amore e tradimento. E assieme a lui rivivono le atmosfere dei locali notturni degli anni cinquanta. Nei cinque racconti che seguono Ellroy riprende i temi portanti della sua grande ...more
Stewart Mitchell
Oh James Ellroy, how I've missed you.

I'll keep this short and to the point because I'm sure that's what Ellroy would suggest. This guy is great. He was the first author that made me realize that books are experiences, not just stories. I've read all of his popular stuff, now I'm working my way back. Every story in here (6 in total, I think) is extremely well-written and unpredictable. There was only one story, High Darktown, that was less than perfect, and I'm willing to forgive that misstep in
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Dick Contino's Blues and fringe stories from the L.A. Quartet. Dick Contino is an interesting choice for a hero, and if you've seen DADDY-O you'll get more out of it, even if you've only seen the MST-3000 version.
Just love the music of an Ellroy sentence. Great noir short stories. I go for the novels over short stories in general, but highly flavored appetizers make great meals too.
Sincere W.
Noir is one of my favorite genres. I've heard that Ellroy is a master of the genre, yet I hadn't read any of his work and I decided to start with Hollywood Noctures. I'm terribly disappointed with this book. Let me tell you why:

Ellroy's writing style in these stories is clunky and distracting. It gets in the way of enjoying the tales. Between 50's era slang and annoying sentence structures, I had to force myself to reach the back cover.

Also, as other reviewers mentioned, Ellroy makes gratuitous
Me llevo una gran desilusión al terminar éste libro. Tenía muchas ganas de leer a Ellroy hace tiempo y cuando mis compañeros de carrera me regalaron éste libro, me emocioné bastante, pero al haberlo terminado puedo decir que no es algo para mí.

Tal vez lo más interesante fue conocer la escritura turbulenta y despreocupada de James Ellroy. Utiliza la elipsis verbal una y otra vez, encadenando oraciones que consisten sólo de sujetos hasta el cansancio. Utiliza barras y guiones muy a menudo como rec
Greg Z
Definitely style over substance in most of these stories. And in a few, it's almost impossible to find the substance. The high point for me was the short entitled "Since I Don't Have You" as I enjoyed the appearance of Howard Hughes in late-1940s Los Angeles. Hyper-violent and trashy, and yes, it's the one and only James Ellroy.
First read a novel by Ellroy! There were some pros and cons but all in all it was different a different read than I expected. In my opinion one of the most important aspects about good books are the characters. In this case the characters are super shady and have great potential but they don't seem to be fully fleshed out. The reason for that could obviously be that this book is a collection of short stories. I really hope that's the reason for it because I'd absolutely enjoy reading more about ...more
Ellroy un-toppable in nihilistically hilarious hard-boiled crime fiction. Thoroughly enjoyable short story collection.
I'm a longtime Ellroy fan and recently went on somewhat of a binge, reading The Hilliker Curse (good) and re-reading White Jazz (very good; didn't really track the first time I'd read it)on vacation. Was jonesing for another and this was one of the few I hadn't read. This is a short-story selection and I think I read somewhere that Ellroy cranked this out because he had alimony payments coming up. All the great stylistic Ellroy trademarks but he's pretty much repurposing old plotlines. This remi ...more
Ward Howarth
Ellroy never ceases to amaze me. What's actually refreshing here is a longer sentence structure. Unlike the rapid-fire staccato of, say, THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, on display here is a more languid style. Characters and names from his other work show up here - THE BLACK DAHLIA's Lee Blanchard in "High Darktown," names like Stensland, Kafesjian, and Klein, and Buzz Meeks shines at the center of "Since I Don't Have You." I love Ellroy's rich, compact descriptions and his delirious plotting. For me, th ...more
Patrick Di Justo
Kats and Kittens, this book is a big bad bennie blast through the dank dark highways and alleyways of the most perfect place on planet Earth-Ellroy : the City of Angels in that gonad-grabbing smart, swank segue between WWII and Watergate. Like all Ellroy's works, it revolves around the twin axis of cops and Ellroy himself: good cops, bad cops, ex-cops, top cops; panty-sniffing cops, drug-dealing cops, thug-beating cops; cops with the shakes, cops on the take, cops on the make -- all of them hero ...more
Procyon Lotor
Lode al traduttore, non scritto in inglese ma in losangelino. L'ho terminato solo quando ho avuto un giallo mondadori disponibile per l'aiuto. ...more
I've been a big fan of James Ellroy's writing for years, particularly his "L.A. Quartet" and "Underworld USA" series. Those books were all densely plotted, dark and violent crime stories featuring deeply-flawed tough-guy protagonists. "Hollywood Nocturnes" is a collection of short stories that read like outtakes from the "L.A. Quartet" books (and even features a bunch of characters from those earlier works). A little repetitive and uneven at times, but definitely fun, pulpy reading.
J. Mark
Jan 02, 2008 J. Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery, pulp, L.A. fans
Shelves: mystery
Whereas Raymond Chandler's Marlowe is almost too intelligent, smooth, honorable and witty for his own good, Ellroy's heroes are compromised, misogynistic, perverted and just kind of assholes. I loved it. "Dial AXE-6400" was thrilling to the core. A great, great read. I take one star away because I was sometimes a little TOO aware Ellroy's cleverness and wordplay.
Bryant Mcnamara
One of the best books by one of the best authors I've read - Cannot wait to read more books by him.
Nick Duretta
These tales of the shady side of 1940s and 1950s Los Angeles are so hard-boiled they could bounce. Ellroy's characters are all hardened to the point of breaking, which many of them do. The effect is like watching several mini-noir movies. The prose is lurid and filled with period slang; the action is nonstop and the picture painted of the time and place is depressingly bleak. But I have to say I enjoyed it--to a point.
John Jackson
Another really good read from Ellroy! I was quite pleased to see Lee Blanchard show up from Black Dahlia. It felt like welcoming an old friend back.
Joe  Noir
Probably Ellroy's best collection, this book was published outside the USA as Dick Contino's Blues. This is all fiction, and contains Ellroy's best short stories. I am especially fond of "Since I Don't Have You". Several charcters from Ellroy's novels appear in these stories, and some humor appears as well. All set in L.A. in the 1940's and 1950's.
I think Ellroy is a talented writer however, he has a tendency to tell the same story again and again. It was pretty boring to hear exactly the same lines and descriptions in different stories. This collection killed my desire to read any more of his books for a while.
While these short stories are quite readable and easily digested its apparent that Ellroy's plots, characters, and prose are best enjoyed in the form of novel-length potboilers. The opening essay is pretty excellent, and required reading for any Ellroy fan.
Finally finished the last story in this collection. Certainly a character that will linger in my mind—Spade Hearns is brutal and unforgiving with a dirty mouth. But I guess we all are.
Alber Vázquez
James Ellroy es un macarra buenísimo, lo sabe y lo dice cada vez que tiene ocasión. Además, le importa un carajo el resto de escritores del mundo: el va a lo que va y lo borda. Bien.
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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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“All I want to do is make serious movies that explore social issues and turn a profit, and slip the schnitzel to Jane DePugh.” 2 likes
“Fear and I played peek-a-boo - it always seemed to grab my balls and twist just when it felt like something inside me could banish all the bullshit forever.” 1 likes
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