Clandestine Summary ✓ 8

review Clandestine

Ropels him into a dangerous alliance with certain mad and unstable elements of the law enforcement hierarchy When the case implodes with disastrous conseuences it is Fred Underhill who takes the fall His life is in ruins his promising future suddenly a dream of the past And his good and pure love for a crusading woman lawy. Even when reading one of James Ellroy s earliest and most conventional novels it s easy to understand both why he divides fans of crime fiction so much and why he s one of the writers in the genre who have earned the most respect from academic literary circles Clandestine is far from perfect but mostly succeeds in going even further than Hammett and Chandler in elevating the detective novel to serious literatureFrom the first page you can notice that Ellroy s sensibility is closer to the common stereotype of literary fiction than 95% of authors in his genre There s a clear inspiration from the concise hard boiled prose of the aforementioned classics but his style is so much abstract and fragmented it sometimes gives off a Thomas Pynchon lite feel It wouldn t surprise me if Ellroy in turn inspired Pynchon s own retro detective novel Inherent ViceThe storyline is likewise just as concerned with exploring the protagonist s psyche as with solving its central murder mystery A process that in the story takes several years and ties up several plot tangents that at first appeared to be red herrings in the unravelling of its central conspiracy At the same time the depiction of LA s sleaziest parts gets way explicit than the 1930s pulp writers could ever get away with to the point the end results sometimes feel like Bukowski than Chandler maybe for a reason many elements in the story are taken directly from the still unsolved murder of the author s own mother during his childhoodAs to be expected from an early novel by a very ambitious author Clandestine doesn t uite reach its high aspirations The plot structure feels clumsy early on when building up its basic premises and also later when the shocking revelations start piling up it comes close to straining the reader s suspension of disbelief Neither can Ellroy s prose uite make up for the narrative issues since it s not as effortless looking in its brilliance as Chandler let alone as advanced as Pynchon However for the most part it works because how Ellroy uses the same underlying themes recurring in all the disparate tangents to pull them together into a unified narrativeI m definitely curious about the LA uartet now since Clandestine is often seen as a test run for those novels

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Clandestine

Fred Underhill is a young cop on the rise in Los Angeles in the early 's a town blinded to its own grime by Hollywood glitter a society nourished by newspaper lies that wants its heroes all American and sueaky clean A chance to lead on a possible serial killing is all it takes to fuel Underhill's reckless ambition and it p. Pretty good early Ellroy Though I had problems with the middle third the pacing just goes totally dead as he goes into a longwinded heavily expository backstory I d still call this essential to anyone like me who loved the LA uartet as it introduces key characters like Dudley Smith and locales like the Victory Motel that figure so prominently in the uartet In fact the entire first third reads a lot like the LA uartet though a lot less polished Once the story moves away from LA and the LAPD it goes a bit off the railsbut there s still plenty here to like you can see all of Ellroy s obsessions taking root and a few sentences here and there hint of the genius to come

James Ellroy ¾ 8 Summary

Er has been corrupted and may not survive But even without the authority of a badge Fred Underhill knows that his only hope for redemption lies in following the investigation to its grim conclusion And the Hell to which he has been consigned for his sins is the perfect place to hunt for a killer who hungers but has no soul. My first Ellroy book and it won t be my last but I wasn t very intrigued by this one SPOILERS BELOWThe main character is something of a cipher and mishmash at first an ambitious good guy but later like a younger Dudley Smith himself without much transitional explanation Too many characters are too similar both in name and traits The nine year old child who nearly looked like a man and acted like a perverted teenage delinuent what was up with that Why did our hero fall in love with this scary kid The story lost my interest in the second half when it got into such long winded family history about one of the murder victims And I didn t buy that Lorna allowed herself to be swept up again at the endI m not a mystery buff so perhaps I don t have the reading chops reuired for the genre but I just became lost plot wise trying to keep track of all the characters and what they were all supposed to have done Justice is served at the climax but its secrecy bugged me and that it didn t redeem our hero with the public or the LAPD


10 thoughts on “Clandestine

  1. says:

    'Wonder' meant the same thing to both of us the job the streets the people and the mutable ethos of we who had to deal daily with drunks hopheads gunsels wienie waggers hookers reffer smokers burglars and the unamed lonely detritus of the human race James Ellroy ClandestineAn early Ellroy that planted many of the themes and dark LA seeds that would eventually sprout and mature in his LA uartet novels The Black Dahlia Th

  2. says:

    A cracking piece of crime fiction and an early and personal novel from Ellroy after the slaying of his own mother Here in 50's Los Angles ambitious rookie cop Fred Underhill who is also too cocky and smug for his own good tackles a murder ca

  3. says:

    Pretty good early Ellroy Though I had problems with the middle third the pacing just goes totally dead as he goes into a longwinded heavily expository backstory I'd still call this essential to anyone like me who l

  4. says:

    When I went to a James Ellroy reading I went through my collection to find a good one I wanted him to autograph I picked Clandestine It's that good When he signed it he wroteTo Andy Doom DwellsJames Ellroy

  5. says:

    Even when reading one of James Ellroy's earliest and most conventional novels it's easy to understand both why he divides fans of crime fiction so much and why he's one of the writers in the genre who have earned the most respect from academic literary circles Clandestine is far from perfect but mostly succeeds in going even further than Hammett and Chandler in elevating the detective novel to serious literatureFrom the first p

  6. says:

    I haven't looked into where this sits in Ellroy's oeuvre but it's a bit of a mess Plus side a few of the characters are the most compelling of Ellroy's creations I really didn't know what was really going on until the last chapterDownside I had a very hard time understanding the motives of the very complex main character Fred Underhill Seems that Ellroy was trying to include as many disparate traits in one man as he could get away

  7. says:

    review of James Ellroy's Clandestine by tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE JUNE 6 2017 Read the full review here It's been a while since I read an Ellroy bk I'd forgotten what a good writer he is Take this 2nd paragraph of the Prologue as an example Nostalgia victimizes the unknowing by instilling in them a desire for simplicity and innocence they can never achieve The fifties weren't a innocent time The dark salients that govern life t

  8. says:

    My first Ellroy book and it won't be my last but I wasn't very intrigued by this one SPOILERS BELOWThe main character is

  9. says:

    I love LA Confidential the film so much that I wanted to read a book that evoked the same milieu the same literary terroir while avoiding a retread of the same plot that would inevitably come with reading LA Confidential the novel itself What better way to accomplish that goal than by going to James Ellroy's other work? Clandestine isn't one of Ellroy's most widely known efforts but possibly because it was one of his earliest there's a ro

  10. says:

    An uneven but still compelling early entry from Ellroy's bibliography As with his debut novel this flashes his unmatched ability to create characters that captivate and disturb even when you somehow find yourself liking them The only issue with these early novels is it feels like he lets plot get in the way of his amazing

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