: The cold six thousand (9780375419157) : James Ellroy : Books
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The Cold Six Thousand

by James Ellroy
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Publishing date: 08/05/2001
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780375419157
  • ISBN: 0375419152


With its hypnotic, staccato rhythms, and words jostling, bumping, marching forward with edgy intensity (like lemmings heading toward a cliff of their own devising), The Cold Six Thousand feels as if it's being narrated by a hopped-up Dr. Seuss who's hungrier for violence than for green eggs and ham. In spinning the threads of post-JFK-assassination cultural chaos, James Ellroy's whirlwind riff on the 1960s takes nothing for granted, except that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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

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  • Reads like a Dick and Jane book
    From Amazon

    American Tabloid was one of the best books I have ever read, I was so looking forward to the next 2 in the trilogy, but I just had to stop reading after 100 pages. The so-called "noir" style to me reads more like one of those old kindergarten Dick and Jane books. See Dick. Dick has a gun. Dick shoots Jane. Jane's head explodes. Dick has a cigarette. The only parts that were not painful to read were the transcripts, at least there was some narrative. I don't know what the attraction is to this style but it takes long paragraphs to describe what can be done in a normal well constructed sentence - see American Tabloid for an example of how a book like can be written wonderfully I might add. It got so all I was really reading was the action and my brain was starting to cut parts out because it is just tedious to read. I might have to try it again because the story is so good I really want to see how it progresses but for right now I have to give it break.

  • Book on Tape Cassette
    From Amazon

    Quick delivery; have no comment on tape quality because I have yet to listen to the book.

  • Pretty Good, Not Ellroy's Best
    From Amazon

    The Cold Six Thousand is James Ellroy's hardboiled account of the seamy side of the 1960s. In Ellroy's fictional account, the murders of JFK, Martin Luther King, and RFK were all the work of underworld figures and the FBI. This is a good book, but the implausible plot keeps me from rating it higher than three stars. Readers who are familiar with Ellroy's work will not be surprised by the book's strengths. Ellroy has the ability to write a novel with a twisted plot that comes together in the end. Another strong aspect of The Cold Six Thousand is Ellroy's sense of pacing; the novel moves throughout all of its 670+ pages. Unfortunately, The Cold Six Thousands has some weaknesses. The violence is unremitting and very nasty. Ellroy spares the reader no details and the gore overflows at times. I also thought that Ellroy's tendency tend to use historical figures as characters was unsatisfying; none of the people in Ellroy's books are alive to defend themselves against Ellroy's vicious attacks on their good names. Ellroy's fans will not want to miss this one. But he has written much better books.

  • Addictive once started.
    From Amazon

    I wasn't prepared for the style of writing here, short two and three word sentences, lots of short statements about what was going on, without a lot of extra description or extended dialogue. I almost put it down for good after the first few pages, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good and entertaining it turned out to be. This was the first by this author, so I guess I should have started elsewhere, but I felt the work stood alone without a problem. There is plenty of violence and rough language in this book, but it shows a side of the sixties that probably existed for many just as depicted. It is interesting to juxtapose race relations and mob activity in the sixties with how it is today. I definitely recommend this to those that like historically set crime fiction, with lots of action, violence and depravity. I'll be looking for more by this author myself.

  • Ellroy let me down
    From Amazon

    This is the 5th book of Ellroy I read. It was somewhat hard for me in the beginning because of the slang but I got used to it after my first Ellroy novel. I really do like his writing and let me say I am usually not a fan of Crime novels. However, as much as I liked American Tabloid, he is just overdoing it here. I was looking out desperately for a sentence of more than 4 words it really became too much in the end. This book could have been amazing, and Ellroy is the one to do it, but it just was not to be. A great writer of unique originality. Maybe better next time.

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