Mitch's Reviews > The Big Nowhere

The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
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's review
Jun 04, 11

bookshelves: mysteries
Read in March, 2010

My second Ellroy novel, after The Black Dahlia (and seeing and loving LA Confidential years ago). About three-quarters of the way in, I realized the way the novel would end, if not the exact details -- although the crime would be solved and wrapped up, it would only be for us, the reader. And the protagonists would be lucky if they emerged with a pyrrhic victory. The Big Nowhere didn't end quite so grimly, but it came pretty close.

Part of what I like about the LA Quartet is the way the books are connected, but not directly related. Ellis Loew, Dudley Smith, Mickey Cohen (all of whom appear elsewhere in Ellroy) play key roles but the novel is about different characters. That background is what makes the world so rich. Sure, as with all hard-boiled novels, parts are far-fetched, and the psychopath here seems verges a bit on the absurd, but the novel isn't really about him.

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