Sunday, October 15, 2006

The “Demon Dog” Has His Day

If all goes as planned tomorrow, The Rap Sheet will welcome its first-ever “guest blogger,” noted American crime novelist James Ellroy. As you might expect, I’m quite pumped at this turn of events. But I also feel more than a bit intimidated; after all, once you’ve had Ellroy guest-blogging for you, what do you do for an encore?

I believe my first experience with Ellroy’s storytelling came in the mid-1980s, when I snatched up a paperback copy of his debut novel, Brown’s Requiem (1981). It told the tale of an alcoholic ex-Los Angeles cop turned repo man, whose job tailing the sister of a fat caddy introduced him into a convoluted plot involving hit men, incest, murder, corruption, arson, and the darker side of golf. It wasn’t long after that that I plunked down cash enough for a hardcover edition of The Black Dahlia (1987), Ellroy’s “breakout book,” in which the compelling story of two 1940s L.A. cops--rivals for the heart of a striking but damaged young woman--is interwoven with the real-life slaying of Elizabeth Short, a 22-year-old actress-wannabe whose mutilated corpse was found in a vacant lot in January 1947. (The case was never officially solved.) Brimming with duplicity, lust, obsession, and rich, street-slangy dialogue, Dahlia was unlike anything I had read before, and led me to consume the subsequent three installments in Ellroy’s “L.A. Quartet”: The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz. I haven’t been quite as devoted an Ellroy reader since then, though I did enjoy The Cold Six Thousand (2001) as well as the columns he used to pen for GQ magazine.

It is with great pleasure that I welcome James Ellroy into The Rap Sheet. I hope he finds his stay here enjoyable and educational, and I hope readers of this blog will find his thoughts insightful.

(Photograph by Marion Ettlinger)


Tribe said...

Very exciting.

Sarah said...

No kidding, that's excellent news!