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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles, 1958. Killings, beatings, bribes, shakedowns - it's standard procedure for Lieutenant Dave Klein, LAPD. He's a slumlord, a bagman, an enforcer, a power in his own small corner of hell. Then the Feds announce a full-out investigation into local police corruption, and everything goes haywire. Klein's been hung out as bait, "a bad cop to draw the heat", and the heat's coming from all sides: from local politicians, from LAPD brass, and from racketeers and drug kingpins, all of them hell-bent on keeping their own secrets hidden. For Klein, "42 and going on dead", it's dues time.
Klein tells his own story, his voice clipped, sharp, often as brutal as the events he's describing, taking us with him on a journey through a world shaped by monstrous ambition, avarice, and perversion. It's a world he created, but now he'll do anything to get out of it alive.
Fierce, riveting, and honed to a razor edge, White Jazz is crime fiction at its most shattering.
©2007 James Ellroy (P)2007 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"Riffling, rolling, reeling....Ellroy's best." ( The Denver Post)
"One of the great American writers of our time." ( Los Angeles Times Book Review)
" White Jazz makes previous detective fiction read like Dr. Seuss." ( San Francisco Examiner)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 12-06-15

Love me fierce in danger.

"in the end I possess my birthplace and I am possessed by its language."
-- Ross MacDonald."

"Tell me anything
Tell me everything.
Revoke our time apart.
Love me fierce in danger."
-- James Ellroy, White Jazz

4.5 stars. Sure, you could read this as just the final book in Ellory's masterpiece LA Quartet, but Ellory is playing for bigger stakes. He isn't just writing crime. He is writing the human condition. He isn't just giving you straight dope. He is playing you with pairs. He gives you E. Exley v D. Smith. He gives you Noonan vs. Gallaudet. He gives you J.C. Kafesjian v.P. Herrick, Richie V. Tommy, Sad mom vs Crazy mom.

Think of all of these pairs as fugues that swirl around the narrator, dirty Lieutenant David Klein, reflecting, stream of consciousness, talking, screaming, building, dropping. The narration is like jazz playing two themes together into one. The themes finally coalesce and you see that black and white, criminal and the cop, these are all just linked brothers and sister trapped in a long and fatal incestuous battle for survival, for love, for understanding.


In the end everybody dies, but you hope before then someone tells you the truth and tells you they love you. If you are lucky, perhaps, those two will be the same.

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14 of 19 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Charles on 05-08-08

What a great book!

I've always loved this book and hearing it read by Scott Brick is a real treat. I don't get all the 1 star reviews. This is a really good book.

I wish Audible would get some more Ellroy books. An unabridged version of "LA Confidential" would be a great start. Followed by "The Big Nowhere".

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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