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Monday 11 January 2010

Book Section : Writer of the Month : James Ellroy

Our first writer of the month for 2010, goes to America's best known Crime writer, James Ellroy.
Born in Los Angeles in 1948, his Father was an accountant, his Mother a Nurse - six years later his parents divorced, his Mother took James to El Monte, a poor income part of Los Angeles. Four years on - his Mother was murdered in 1958, and James had to return to his Father.
It was the murder of his mother that is the subject of his partially autobiographical book My Dark Places. He became interested in Crime writing as young as ten years old, inspired by such works as the the Hardy Boys and Jack Webb's The Badge : A history of the LAPD.
James and his father had not been re-united for long when his Father suffered a stroke, despite James efforts to care for him, his Father died while James was still in the tender years of being a teenager, he was then put in the "care" of a friend of his Father whom carried the nickname of a 'right-wing crackpot', needless to say, by the time James was 18, he was homeless, thieving, alcoholic suffering with bouts of schizophrenia and depression.
James Ellroy sold his first written novel by the age of thirty, titled Brown's Requiem a detective story which drew on his own experiences as a caddy. He then went on to release, Clandestine, Blood on the Moon, Because the NightSuicide Hill,  the watershed novel Black Dahlia,  his take on Homophobia in the 1950's with The Big Nowhere. 1990 saw the release of his  fast-paced LA Confidential from which Curtis Hanson's film of the same name was adapted.
In 1998, James Ellroy gave us LA Noir, A single-volume edition of three of the novels featuring Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins of Los Angeles. The first involves the apparently random killings of 20 women, the second a multiple murder committed with a pre-Civil-War revolver, and the third a conspiracy of police corruption.

James Ellroy's most recent work to date, is titled Blood's A Rover, completes a trilogy about the US in the 1960's and 70's of which James describes as a novel about conversion of belief.

It is James Ellroys bare capabilities and obsessive passion about his work that earns him my writer of the month.

 Watch the James Ellroy interview about Blood's A Rover for BBC News here ...

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