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Hurtling from Las Vegas to Vietnam to Cuba to Memphis and back again (and all points in between), from Dealey Plaza to opium fields to smoke-filled back rooms where the mob holds sway, the novel traces the strands of complicity, greed, and fear that connect three men to a legion of supporting characters: Ward Littell, a former Feeb whose current allegiance to the mob and to Howard Hughes can't mask his admiration for the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King; Pete Bondurant, a hit man and fervent anti-Communist who splits his time between Vegas casinos and CIA-sponsored heroin labs in Saigon; and Wayne Tedrow Jr., a young Vegas cop who's sent to Dallas in late November 1963 to snuff a black pimp, and who is fighting a losing battle against his predilection for violence: "Junior was a hider. Junior was a watcher. Junior lit flames. Junior torched. Junior lived in his head."
And behind these three, J. Edgar Hoover is the master puppeteer, pulling strings with visionary zeal and resolute pragmatism, the still point around whom the novel roils and tumbles. At once evil and comic, Hoover predicts that LBJ "will deplete his prestige on the home front and recoup it in Vietnam. History will judge him as a tall man with big ears who needed wretched people to love him," and feels that Cuba "appeals to hotheads and the morally impaired. It's the cuisine and the sex. Plantains and women who have intercourse with donkeys."
The Seussian comparison isn't that far-fetched: Ellroy's novel, like the children's books (and like the very decade it limns), is flexible, spontaneous, and unabashedly off-kilter. Weighing in at a hefty 700 pages, The Cold Six Thousand is a trifle bloated by the excesses of its narrative form. But what glorious excess it is, as Ellroy continues to illuminate the twin impulses toward idealism and corruption that frame American popular and political culture. He deftly puts unforgettable faces and voices to the murkiest of conspiracy theories, and simultaneously mocks our eager assumption that such knowledge will make a difference. --Kelly Flynn
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Dig. This is one hot tome. Ok, so much for my one sentence attempt to copy Ellroy. Anyway, this is fascinating, intense, and loooooooonnnnnggggggg book. Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by Robert Wellen
I've only read this book, not knowing it was part of a trilogy. For another great (shorter) trilogy, check out Ellroy's L.A. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by Nichomachus
I am a huge fan of Ellroy, and this book did not disappoint. I loved it. Fans of Ellroy who have not already bought it should do so immediately. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by "bunyan1993"
Let me just say this: I am a fan of experimental prose styles. I read Ulysses for chrissake.
But these choppy ass little sentences seemed trite and annoying. Read more
Ellroy writes short sentences. Ellroy writes many short sentences. Ellroy writes short, declarative sentences over and over. Ellroy's style starts out annoying. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2003
This is a difficult book to read. It's also the type of book reviewers have in mind when they talk about a "tour de force" or about a writer "taking risks". Read morePublished on July 2 2003 by Skip Senneka
After just finishing this epic novel I found myself wondering what others thought and when I went through the reviews I was seriously perplexed by how many people thought this was... Read morePublished on May 17 2003 by Philip D. Donohue