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A massive novel of World War II Los Angeles. The crowning work of an American master.

It is January, 1942. Torrential rainstorms hit L.A. A body is unearthed in Griffith Park. The cops rate it a routine dead-man job. They're grievously wrong. It's a summons to misalliance and all the spoils of a brand-new war.

Elmer Jackson is a corrupt Vice cop. He's a flesh peddler and a bagman for the L.A. Chief of Police. Hideo Ashida is a crime-lab whiz, caught up in the maelstrom of the Japanese internment. Dudley Smith is an LAPD hardnose working Army Intelligence. He's gone rogue and gone all-the-way Fascist. Joan Conville was born rogue. She's a defrocked Navy lieutenant and a war profiteer to her core.

They've signed on for the dead-man job. They've got a hot date with History. They will fight their inner wars within The War with unstoppable fury.

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Booklist Review
The second volume of Ellroy's second L.A. Quartet picks up where Perfidia (2014) left off, on New Year's Eve 1941, and begins a chaotic 1942 with a plot so convoluted readers will be grateful every time characters restate the facts. Elmer Jackson, Dudley Smith, Joan Conville, Hideo Ashida, and Kay Lake all reappear, along with a dizzying constellation of characters from other Ellroy novels and real life. The key cases are a 1931 gold heist, a 1933 Griffith Park brush fire, and a contemporary killing in which two bent cops are among three victims in a seedy party pad. Do they all connect? And, if so, how? As the characters work angles to seek gold, power, revenge, or even justice, alliances form, twist, and break against a backdrop of war profiteering and fifth-column activity. A deeper theme, utterly timely given the real-world rise of the strongman, is authoritarianism: swastika pins and uniform fetishes signal cabals of Nazis, Communists, and Sinarquistas (Mexican fascists). If, at some point, most of the characters seem to speak like Ellroy, or maybe his grandiloquent Smith, it's somehow appropriate, plunging us ever deeper into a fevered secret history that could have been dreamed by nobody else. Relentlessly compelling.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A 60,000-copy first printing in some ways belies intense media interest in Ellroy; his first novel in five years is a major literary event.--Keir Graff Copyright 2019 Booklist
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