Reid's Reviews > White Jazz

White Jazz by James Ellroy
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's review
Jun 02, 2011

really liked it
Read from May 04 to June 02, 2011

I enjoyed this novel. It took me four or five chapters to get used to his writing style (he removed all the verbs to cut the book's original length in half), but once I did it flowed seamlessly. The main character, Dave Klein, is wonderfully flawed, a corrupt cop in 1950s LA, and the major characters around him create great dynamics. The story is violent and dark, so be ready for a seedy noir read.

There is a large cast of minor characters that get confusing, and there is a bit too much infodumping for my taste. The crime plot and backstory of the novel are revealed in interrogations where the person interviewed simply tells all to fill in the gaps. I would have rather seen Klein figure it out on his own, or make the scenes more interactive (some of them are interrogations with brass knucks, for example). Klein's romance with Glenda I never entirely bought, since it seems to just blossom because the plot needed it to.

But overall I liked the novel for its innovative style and the main character. If you like noir and the stylings of The Black Dahlia and LA Confidential, you will really like White Jazz.

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