James Ellroy returns to L.A. with new four-book series

July 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES — James Ellroy is returning to the scene of his greatest literary success, the 1940s, in a new four-book series.

Ellroy’s agency, Sobel-Weber, said the lead title is "Perfidia" and is coming in fall 2014 from Knopf.

Ellroy hit the big time with his updated noir novels, "The Black Dahlia," "The Big Nowhere," "L.A. Confidential" and "White Jazz," also known as the L.A. Quartet. Set in 1940s Los Angeles, the books started with classic Raymond Chandler-style noir fiction and then loaded up on police bigotry, brutal violence, sex, drugs — elements that had been there all along but that Ellroy made explicit. It worked because the depravity was delivered with Ellroy’s signature style — tabloid-esque alliteration, relentless pacing and thundering period slang.

Since "White Jazz’s" publication in 1992, Ellroy moved forward in time, and beyond the confines of Los Angeles, with three other novels. He’s also written two memoirs, "My Dark Places" and "The Hilliker Curse."

Now he’s headed back to the 1940s in what he’s calling the Second L.A. Quartet. In a statement, the author said he plans to "take characters — both fictional and real-life — from the first two extended bodies of work and place them in Los Angeles during World War II — as significantly younger people." He promised "four 700-page hardcover novels that will span the homefront breadth of the greatest worldwide event of the twentieth century."

Characters from Ellroy’s previous novels scheduled to reappear as younger versions of themselves include Kay Lake from "The Black Dahlia," William H. Parker, the real-life L.A. police reformer, and "L.A. Confidential’s" villainous police officer Dudley Smith, who in "Perfidia" is tangoing with film star Bette Davis.



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