23
Nov 04

I have gotten Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy mixed up before.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 504 views

I have gotten Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy mixed up before. Not in a prose identification way, they are distinctive enough, but merely in the name filing part of my brain. I was reminded of this by looking at the blurb for David Peace’s Nineteen Seventy-Four where three capsule reviews mention Ellroy while one mentions Leonard. I think there was the brain error there as Peace’s book is certainly tarred by the Ellroy brush (why have paragraphs when sentences will do). And to start off with the stark kinetic style really sucks you in.

The relentless violence, authentically anachronistic prejudices of the characters do threaten to push you away. And once the lead has been beaten within an inch of his life, you would think there is nowhere else for the book to take its nastiness (trust me there is). A snuff movie of a book almost, it riffs on its Yorkshire setting to create a miasma of horrors which sit poorly with its actually rather rubbish plot machinations. When the “Book Of Canals” stuffed with kiddies photos is discovered just after our lead is told of tens of missing kids you put two and two together. The journalist hero does not do this basic arithmetic and ends up tortured, battered, bruised and effecting a pointless solution. The literary version of fireworks stuffed with fecal matter.

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