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Blood's A Rover: Underworld USA 3 Paperback – Aug 24 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Aug. 24 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375727418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727412
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Darker, stranger and more compelling than almost anything else contemporary fiction has to offer."--Washington Post
"American fiction writing at its finest--a dexterous, astounding achievement."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Absorbing and satisfying. . . Every page has at least one passage that's so snappy you want to reply it like a song."--Seattle Times

"Drop-dead great . . . . It'll blow your mind."--Austin American-Statesman
"Wild and brilliant, dazzling and funny . . . The plotting [is] fiendish and intricate . . . Ellroy's descriptions of violence remain powerful and slo-mo vivid."--Los Angeles Times
“Readers who love their noir blood-red will be giddy over Blood’s A Rover, the bang-up conclusion to James Ellroy’s Underworld USA trilogy . . . Ellroy’s prose is spare and riveting [and] his plot is hardball start to finish.”—USA Today
“A high-water mark in the career of one of America's best historical novelists.”—Denver Post
"Brilliant . . . There are no soft edges to this novel."--Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Jaw-dropping . . . A remarkable literary achievement.”—Associated Press
"Ellroy employs a huge cast and hyper-pulp prose to create a convincingly horrific universe run by the F.B.I., the Mob, and a host of other sinister organizations."--The New Yorker
"[This] amounts to the hit-man theory of history . . . It's an outrageous, exhilarating, unpretty sight, and it's ingeniously plausible."--Boston Globe
"Another cocktail of speculative pop-pulp fiction, conspiracy-theorist wet dreams and a beguiling alternative history. Fans will be pleased as rum punch."--Time Out, New York
“The four-page intro has more acts of violence than hours of prime-time TV. The first word of the first chapter is ‘heroin.’. . Raymond Chandler, the founding father of hardboiled noir and one of Ellroy’s heroes, would have agreed with this approach.”—New York Post
“Fascinating. . . . Ellroy contextualizes expertly, bringing everyone from a swish Leonard Bernstein to a randy Redd Foxx to a junkie Sonny Liston onto his lurid playing field.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“I was hooked on the first page . . . By the last page . . . I picked my jaw up from the floor and quietly closed the book. Wow.”—Randy Michael Signor, Chicago Sun-Times
“Exhilarating. . . . A snitch epic, a history observed by the bad men and women who shaped it.”—Portland Oregonian

About the Author

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international best sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine’s Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 1 2010
Format: Hardcover
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, America is a lie, wrapped up in a deception, inside a thin shell of morality. And James Ellroy keeps taping that shell, testing for weak-points and showing us it is hollow. Do you have the stomach to see what they have been feeding us all this time?

DIG IT: any bootlegger's son can become the President - assassination will automatically activate sanctification. Organized crime does not exist - but that never stopped it from running the country. And elections are not easy to fix - but in any case easier to fix than the World Series.
DOCUMENT INSERT: the most powerful man fighting Communism is a cross-dressing director with a wiretap fetish - morality standards and irony galore. Dominican Republic is the new location-location-location for blackjack-tables and chorus-line girls - if el Jefe can voodoo-hex the slaves from revolting. And Tricky Dick's price is 5 million - uncontrolled scatology at no extra charge.
CAREFUL NOW: infiltrate means collaborate; collaborate means condone; condone means finance; finance means plan; plan means precipitate - at which point did the investigation turn into instigation?

This is the third installment of the American-Underbelly trilogy (the masterpiece American Tabloid being the first and the excellent The Cold Six Thousand being the second). One does not necessarily have to read them in succession - but it surely helps. This is not an easy read, the story will serpent back and eat any one of its multiple tails, more than once. A second reading is recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookman on Nov. 15 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved L.A. Confidential and White Jazz-- these had near-raw American magic, like jazz played by Mississipi delta illiterates who cannot read music notes, have no idea about scales, but are bursting with pure original something. However, beyond a certain point one must go beyond unstructured staccato scream. I mean, I'm all for declarative sentences. But three-word-sentences and three-sentenec-paragraphs can only take you so far. Even three-card-monte players occcasionally go into a longer patter. This book is good. But it could be better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 15 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Set in the late 60's and early 70's, Mr. Ellroy takes us through all the key events in American life during those years. We have the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the presidency of Richard Nixon, the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, and the upcoming Watergate debacle. All these events are connected by the slimy, sinister Underworld. J. Edgar Hoover, also called 'the old girl," Richard Nixon, and Howard "Dracula" Hughes all appear as lesser characters in this novel. The real protagonists are their minions who both work to please their bosses and to pursue personal agendas designed to make them richer and settle old scores. The dialogue is fantastic. Like Irvine Welsh and John King, Mr. Ellroy uses the dialect of his characters to accentuate reality so that his narrative could be mistaken for typed recordings. Dialogue between J. Edgar Hoover and Dwight Holly and Holly and Richard Nixon are presented as actual transcripts. The language is fantastic. Mr. Ellroy writes of flunkies and peaceniks, light-skinned beaners and spooks, Voodoo VistaVision, black militants and hated reds, Mr. Clean, fat cats who futz, boozy hoo-haw, the snitch-file index, a shelf that shimmy-shimmed and the Peeper whose "Adam's apple did the Fug and the Peppermint Twist." This is a fantastic read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By robert lyrette on April 28 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
just love ellroy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 131 reviews
68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Malice in Wonderland Sept. 24 2009
By The Ginger Man - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Underworld USA trilogy began in 1995 with publication of American Tabloid and covered events in the early sixties. Five years passed before readers could dig into The Cold Six Thousand. Blood's a Rover (title taken from a poem by Houseman) begins shortly after the King and Kennedy assasinations in 1968 and takes us through the Chicago riots and Nixon's elections. Like previous entries, the book delivers an alternate, underground history of the partnership between Hoover's FBI and various criminal elements. Ellroy entices us through the looking glass to demonstrate the impact of that unsavory alliance on modern political history. Characters from previous books abound (Dwight Holley, Wayne Tedrow) as well as public figures both significant (Nixon, Howard Hughes) and obscure (Sal Mineo)

Ellroy's Hoover is not much concerned with organized crime. Instead he is obsessed with student protesters, civil rights demonstrators, non-existant domestic Reds, and any politician he believes to be aligned with these groups. In this dark world, former cop Wayne Tedrow meets with mob heads after a drop off of cash to candidate Nixon and notices on the wall, a photo showing one of the gangsters playing golf with Pope Pius.

The author's style is stacatto, high-adrenaline narrative alternating with newspaper headlines and supposed excerpts from personal journals. A chapter begins: "Dwight read files. A radio spritzed the news. Nixon and Humphrey grubbed for votes and see-sawed poll-wise. Jimmy Ray and Sirhan Sirhan fermented in custody." Using this approach, Ellroy packs a great deal of action and emotional impact into a few paragraphs. Over hundreds of pages, the result can be exhausting.

I found all 3 books hugely entertaining as literature and utterly unnerving as political myth-making. The reader dismisses much of it as bizarre speculation. However, after years of journalistic revelations such as White House sanctioned Mob attempts on Castro's life, the reader finds himself asking if parts of Ellroy's story sounds more real than various official histories.

The fictional narrator begins this final nightmare volume by telling us "This book derives from stolen public files and usurped private journals. It is the sum of personal adventure and forty years of scholarship...I did what I did and I saw what I saw and learned my way through the rest of the story." Conspiracy tales such as this can be oddly comforting. They replace the horror which results from chance and the grand indifference of the universe with tragedy that is the product of the guiding hand of malice. Evil, while monstrous and frightening, can be opposed. Accident must be endured.

The immense appeal of the Underworld Trilogy derives as much from this replacement of chaos with dark design as it does from Ellroy's unique narrative gifts. It is an appeal that produces excitement if it is understandably light on comfort.
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant conclusion to the trilogy plays with the reader's expectations Sept. 26 2009
By Stuart Neville - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First off, I'll admit some bias here. I'm a big Ellroy fan, and American Tabloid is neck-and-neck with Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities for my favourite novel of all time. There appear to be a couple of Ellroy haters among the reviewers so far, and fair enough, he's a love-or-hate writer. If you don't like Ellroy, you won't like Blood's a Rover. If, like me, you do like Ellroy, then this book will fulfil yet confound your every expectation.

I won't bother with outlining the plot other than to say it's as tangled and propulsive as you'd expect from Ellroy. What some may want to know is how it compares to American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand. It's probably closer in tone to the former, lacking the latter's highly stylised presentation. It's a smoother read, in other words, but still requires some investment on the reader's part. That investment is rewarded many times over, however, and things barrel along at a wonderful page-turning rate.

There are two main distinctions between this and Ellroy's earlier work. The first is his portrayal of women. While there are some recognisable tics, such as the younger male characters' borderline oedipal fixations on older women, and a tendency for those same women to be physically or pschologically scarred, Ellroy this time gives his female characters more room to breathe and develop. They are more than objects of obsession there to torture the male characters.

The other difference is the heart of the piece; one could argue Ellroy's work perhaps lacked emotional depth, but not so with Blood's a Rover. Oddly for an author of his vintage, this is perhaps the most mature book of his career.

It's also his most personal novel since The Black Dahlia. One character, Don Crutchfield, is ostensibly based on a real life private eye still alive and working today, but the character on the page is clearly based on Ellroy's young self. The book may also leave you questioning your idea of the author's politics. He has wilfully played up his right wing public persona, but the politics of Blood's a Rover (and when looking at the trilogy as a whole) skew left of centre.

Some might accuse Ellroy of putting style over substance, but one aspect of this novel clearly illustrates his skill as a straight-up storyteller. It's when he starts playing with your expectations of the book, turning the story on its head so that you can't even take the narrative itself at face value, that you realise why he is the greatest living crime writer. It's virtuoso stuff.

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book back in April, and it has stuck with me since then. It's a brilliant conclusion to the Underworld USA trilogy, and any Ellroy fan will be seduced once again by the master of the hard word.
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Third Best of the Trilogy Sept. 28 2009
By T. Karr - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In this final installment of the "Underworld U.S.A." trilogy Wayne Tedrow, Dwight Holly and the boys are back carrying out their portion of an American history that might have been. They have their hands in the cover ups of the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, Howard Hughes' purchase of Vegas casinos, and the mob's Caribbean connections. And that's just for starters.

The plot loosely centers around an armored car heist in Los Angeles involving emeralds and millions of dollars. Holly, L.A. police officer Scotty Bennett, and a young wheelman named Donald "Peeper" Crutchfield are all trying to figure out the robbery (when they are not carrying out CIA directives, mob directives, or trying to figure out the mysterious women in their lives).

I really liked "American Tabloid." I loved "The Cold Six Thousand." I cannot say the same for "Blood's A Rover." This novel just doesn't quite have the energy level of the first two. It is an amazing piece of work, but there is just so much going on and there is just too much repetition. (How many times does the reader have to be told that a character is getting amped up to read through their heist files one more time? My guess is that I saw that scene played out at least a dozen times.)

The characters even seem somewhat repetitious. Despite varying backgrounds and ethnicities, they all have the same amazingly vast vocabularies for people who are essentially self-centered, schemers who are prone to extreme violence.

Really, I wanted to like "Blood's A Rover," but it is just okay. I can only recommend this novel to those who have read AND enjoyed "American Tabloid" and "The Cold Six Thousand."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Short of huge expectations Jan. 3 2015
By Old Hawkeye - Published on
Format: Paperback
Just finished this. It was a chore. Ellroy is difficult and that's not necessarily a bad thing but the payoff here makes this book his worst since before the Black Dahlia. There are always at least 3 main characters in an Ellroy novel who undergo huge transformations during the course of the story and it's mostly the same here with a few additional characters. The difference here is that Tedrow's story line takes a course that's just silly and another great character, Marsh, ends basically the same way which seems like a huge lack of imagination. Ellroy also seems to want to say something a bit further here in that his characters, all involved in crime or dirty politics , must have a conversion, not just toward redemption, as in his other novels, but to outright socialist causes. One wonders if this reflects a new attitude by the author or if it's just these characters. There is one character that I expected to appear in the next novel but since Ellroy is going back to the 1940's I guess that's not going to happen. Overall, weak plot, bad story line endings for some characters and although his characters are always obsessed about something or other the characters here are way too fixated without good reason.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Strictly From Hunger... Oct. 30 2014
By ozian - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ellroy led off the "Underworld U.S.A." trilogy with the 20-megaton "American Tabloid," his best book since "The Black Dahlia." The middle volume, "The Cold Six Thousand," was half the book that "Tabloid" was, which is still a compliment. "Blood's a Rover" concludes the series not with a bang, but an almost inaudible fart. A better title might have been "Bloody Contractual Obligation." I still highly recommend Ellroy, just any other Ellroy than this.