5.0 out of 5 stars Ellroy's Ulysses? Maybe...
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. Nevertheless, I argue it is more entertaining than American Tabloid. Maybe it is because the stakes are higher and the characters are already known to us (except Wayne). Where Tabloid succeeded with smaller stories...
Published on June 7 2004 by Robert Wellen
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3.0 out of 5 stars Relentlessly violent jaunt through the Sixties
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. NOIR; three novels with psycho-genius cop Hopkins and his psycho-genius antagonists. With THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, I think Ellroy is trying to pull off a sometimes impressive feat that often falls flat.
The first page grabbed me. That's all you'll...
Published on Feb. 10 2004 by Nichomachus
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Relentlessly violent jaunt through the Sixties,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)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. NOIR; three novels with psycho-genius cop Hopkins and his psycho-genius antagonists. With THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, I think Ellroy is trying to pull off a sometimes impressive feat that often falls flat.
The first page grabbed me. That's all you'll need. The characters are wonderful. Wayne Jr.'s evolution in Ellroy's morally dead world is often fascinating. Big Pete is a great, almost operatic figure. You find yourself empathizing with these characters who are really horribly racist, spiritually empty fascists and psychopaths. The intrigue is the fuel that keeps you going. I'm just glad he didn't drag it out with some spin tying in John Lennon's murder.
That said, the darn thing is too long, and not particularly well-written. Good editing would have pared a lot of redundancies. The clipped sentences Ellroy deploys get mind-numbing, and feel very contrived most of the time. I don't know what he's up to, but it comes off as some Hemingway-meets-meth style that simply aggravates. Eventually, the pattern gets so old that you find your eyes floating over them. At least they're grammatically correct for the most part, and don't destroy the overall narrative (check out T. Harris' ludicrous HANNIBAL for that effect).
Repetitive phrasing is aggravating. Any sentence longer than four words is something along the lines of: "[Wayne/Pete/Ward] went and *braced* said [someone/something], which *vibed* très boocoo [hophead/Fed/swish/Klan/etc.] blah blah blah." Everything and everyone seems to be getting *braced* at any given moment. Insane. I'm serious; entire pages are filled with that basic sentence patter over and over. Ellroy might be trying to get us into the speech patterns of this world, but it mostly comes off as contrived. That and obsessively stupid klannish konversions of words to 'k' beginnings: "The krappy kotten krop was karted to Karson City." Ick.
But don't let that deter you. And if you don't like it, don't give up on James Ellroy. He and Elmore Leonard are the best at what they do.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ellroy's Ulysses? Maybe...,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Hardcover)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. Nevertheless, I argue it is more entertaining than American Tabloid. Maybe it is because the stakes are higher and the characters are already known to us (except Wayne). Where Tabloid succeeded with smaller stories that became bigger, these stakes are huge from the beginning. You weirdly fall in love with Ellroy's flawed heroes: Wayne, Pete (the coolest killer ever), and Ward (who remains hard to love)...you watch their lives unfold and unfurl. Hoover is back and again knows all. Ellroy's plot could be seen as outlandish, but somehow each and every piece works (unlike some of the guns in the book). It is brillant. It is absoring. It is Ellroy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Follow-Up,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)Ellroy's follow-up to "American Tabloid" takes another look at the morally-bereft American crime world in the late '60s. This book (and its precursor) are the perfect shot of grain alcohol to obliterate the syrupy '60s image we see all too often of flower children, sensitive singer-songwriter-superstars, and the like. Ellroy's vision of the '60s is harsh and certainly not for the squeamish, as Ellroy knocks icons such as Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King off their pedestals and gives us a J. Edgar Hoover as an evil Wizard of Oz, pulling levers and manipulating events behind his veils at the FBI. Ellroy's previous characters, the haunted FBI agent Ward Littel and everyone's favorite French Canadian strong-arm Pete Bondurant, meet with a new cast of nasties, including the Tedrows, Wayne Junior and Senior. A bunch of nasty people meet nasty ends (as do others), and nobody is allowed to ride off into the sunset. While not quite up to the standards of "American Tabloid," (perhaps only because "Tabloid" came first) this is an excellent read, particularly if you're a fan of Ellroy's rapid-fire style. **** Definitely read "Tabloid" first -- the back story here, especially regarding Bondurant and Littel, is critical. ****
5.0 out of 5 stars "The concept rocked".,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)This is an astoundingly good novel. What is most striking about it is James Ellroy's buckshot prose, which he has taken to a new level, even for him. It scans almost like beat poetry.
Virtually every page (of 700 odd) is studded with short (and I mean *really* short, even by Ellroy's standards), staccato sentences repeating phrases in groups of three: "Frank was a doctor. Frank had bad habits. Frank made bad friends."; "Wayne yawned. Wayne pulled carbons. The fine print blurred."
I can see that this could, quite reasonably, prove extremely irritating, but I found that it gave the novel a real rhythm, like a Bo Diddley jungle beat. That sounds pretentious, I know, but if you read it (and buy into it) you'll see what I mean. And it is used to extremely good, often comic effect.
As is the case with all Ellroy's novels, life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and (for the most part) short, although it must be said the principal protagonists do, by comparison, seem blessed with unfeasible longevity, and the plot is so Byzantine as to make Constantinople look like a one horse town: Cuba, Vietnam, Howard Hughes, the Vegas mafia, JFK's assassination, RFK's assassination, the Klan, Martin Luther King's assassination - it's all here, and in Ellroy's universe it's all inextricably linked.
I doubt it has any value as history (whether or not it is, Ellroy is clearly steeped in the history of the era), but it's such an exhilarating read, it really doesn't matter.
4.0 out of 5 stars if you know, then there you go,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)have you read Ellory before? have you put in your time in the L.A. books? Have you traced the evil that was dudley smith from his intro (not officially in the L.A. books, but if you know, then there you go) to when he took a wolverine to the face? If so, then you may be ready for this. M-16 prose, chain-saw whiplash violence, a kracked, krazy, kaleidescope view of the dekades that shaped amerika. No joke, if you haven't been on the bus, then this one will leave you behind and wondering what's up. I wasn't down with "Tabloid" -- too much plot and not enough of the pulse of the bad men who shape the world we call life. But this one runs the pulse like a spurting artery. Annoying prose? You know it. Strobe-light, beatnik jazz-like, hop-head krazee? That's just the beginning. The demon dog's going deep into what makes amerika the place it is. It simply isn't for you if you haven't been on the ride before this. All you've have is guestions and wonder what the hell's up. But if you've been listening to the white jazz and wolverine blues for a while, this is the apotheosis. Don't get me wrong -- Big Nowhere, LA Confid and White Jazz blow white hot compared to this, but for the dark places of the '60s, from Saigon to West LV and how they touch today, Ellroy's ride is rough, rambunctious and strangely vulnerable. You'll shudder, you'll wish for a shower, but you'll come through to the dawn with a burned-pure soul that's earned. Bring on the next.
And really, can you not but wish that the big dog would turn his eye on what's been going on with today's unknown, unsung bad men, in places distant, dusty and shaped by bad, bad, power (and golf)?
Oh, yeah -- and for the first time, cats (CATS) get their moment in the light -- and they make the dogs look like pussies.
4.0 out of 5 stars Subject verb object dot,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)This was my first Elrroy's books. I didn't have the American Tabloid at the time, and I can say, that even though it would had helped to read the first part first (this is the second book of the announced Underground USA Trilogy), it hit me inside, and made me an instantaneous Ellroy fan. One may say that the narrative (688 pages that goes subject, verb, object, dot) is hard to get started with, when you get into the book it just stop making that huge difference... Maybe the 688 pages are a bigger problem themselves...).
While one of the main character of American Tabloid goes off scene (While Ward Littel and Pete Bondurant stays), there comes Wayne Tedrow Jr. a very well created character, urging to explode with anger, and beside, trying not to show it. His dubious way of thinking/acting all over the story is the hook that get Wayne going (when will be - if so - the crackdown?, you can feel it during the book)
Much has been said about the story so I wont go long on this subject. Ellroy put his trio working directly and undirectly for J. Edgar Hoover and the MOB, in a way they are responsible for turning the main wheels of many historical American spots from 1963 to 1968. They are, in the Ellroy fictional world, the men behind the scenes.
About the prose style, again, as the Author himself said, this was entirelly proposital. This is the story of three angry, racist white men from the 60's. He writes in their language. The language of the obligation: Do it. Kill him. Get this. Go there and read the book. Pete likes those who read the book. Pete is kind with the ones who've read the book. Pete go easy on them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but not for everyone,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)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.
If you are not a fan or have never read Ellroy, than be forewarned, this is a challenging book to read, well worth the effort, but difficult none-the-less. Ellroy does not hold the reader's hand and guide them along through the book. The slang and style of Ellroy's prose can leave the reader saying "huh?". The reader should expect to be baffled at times. However this is part of the fun and Ellroy always eventually clarifies later in his own way.
1.0 out of 5 stars Style vs. Story,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)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. I don't give a damn if he was trying to emulate a strobe light or whatever herky jerky thing he was trying to do, it interfered with the STORY and that, for me, is a no-no.
Couldn't finish the damn thing. So I consider the time I tried wasted. Don't waste my time. Don't waste yours.
2.0 out of 5 stars Literary Experiment Gone Horribly Wrong,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)Ellroy writes short sentences. Ellroy writes many short sentences. Ellroy writes short, declarative sentences over and over. Ellroy's style starts out annoying. Ellroy's style becomes unbearable. Ellroy's book is a an experiment gone wrong.
5.0 out of 5 stars We Didn't Light The Fire,
This review is from: The Cold Six Thousand (Paperback)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". I slogged through well over two-thirds of The Cold Six Thousand before I glommed (so to speak) what Elroy's style was about. Not that I wasn't thinking about it from page 3 on. I remembered A Clockwork Orange, how unreadable that was until I caught the rhythm of Burgess' narrative. I kept trying to tie it to music (White Jazz), looking for some sort of pulse, but it just didn't seem to catch.
Then I remembered a photo essay on J.F.K.; a film/video that consisted of variable length shots of still photos or frames from throughout his life and career. Jack and Jackie-flash--Jack campaigning-flash--Jack and John Jr.--flash--Jack and Bobbie-flash--Jack at his inaugural--flash . . .
The technique is rapid, jerky, without commentary, sometimes with music, its aim being to strobe the images--after-flash style--into your brain. It's done a lot now on TV with "that was the year" compendiums. Billy Joel did it musically with "We Didn't Light The Fire", Madonna-to a degree--with Vogue.
And what better way to chronicle one of the kinkiest, kraziest time periods in our country's history? The strobe light came into its own back then, nothing stood still anywhere for more than a second--I remember a commentator saying "1968 will be remembered as a year that belongs in a straight-jacket".
Elroy packs so much into this story that it really helps a lot if you lived through those times-though I don't know that anyone who did live through them should have to do it again by reading this book.
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The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy (Paperback - June 11 2002)
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