Well, I just bought the new James Ellroy novel, Blood’s A Rover.  Lindsey Losnedahl of the Las Vegas Review-Journal liked it, and I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to it for some time, as I do all of his novels.  In my opinion, his LA Quartet ranks as one of the greatest achievements in all of crime fiction.  I’m even going to get him to sign this new book when he appears here in Las Vegas in a few weeks.  But things are just a little different this time around.

His last effort, The Cold Six Thousand, was the second installment in his current trilogy.  The first, American Tabloid, was, in my opinion, a masterpiece.  It stood to reason that Six Thousand, which began literally on the very day of the finale of Tabloid, would carry me through more wonderful reading sessions.  I saw myself being enveloped in Ellroy’s machine-gun writing style, swiftly transported into his cynical world of killers, drug dealers, hookers, and high-level political intrigue.

All those elements were there, all right, but about halfway through the 600+ page book, I started to lose interest.  The characters started to repeat themselves, the story bogged down in its own multiplicity of plots, and worst of all, I knew where it was all headed. Nevertheless, I plowed on, turning page after page, hoping the whole thing would resuscitate itself.  It never did, and so, I did something I have never done in all my reading life.

I put the book down seven pages before the end.

Wracked with guilt, I stuck the book in a drawer and never looked at it again until I moved a few years ago, at which time I donated it, along with many other books, to the local library.

I might add at this point that I’ve never spoken to anyone about this, and in the years since, have heard only outstanding things about The Cold Six Thousand.

Without question, I’m going to read Blood’s A Rover as though none of the above had ever happened.  I’m sure it will pick up precisely where Six Thousand left off, and I know I’m going to love it.

Aren’t I?

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