Perfidia

A novel

By James Ellroy
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307956996, 720pp.)

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc

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Description

It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans—but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.

The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police Department. He’s superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith—Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a twenty-one-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls—comrades, rivals, lovers, history’s pawns.
           
Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America’s ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel. 




About the Author

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz, and the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood’s A Rover. These seven novels have won numerous honors and were international best sellers.
           
Perfidia
is the first novel of the Second L.A. Quartet, Ellroy’s fictional history of Los Angeles during World War II. The design of this extended work is unprecedented. Ellroy will take characters from the original quartet and trilogy, set between 1946 and 1972, and detail their lives as significantly younger people. Ellroy currently lives in Los Angeles.

www.jamesellroy.net




NPR
Sunday, Sep 14, 2014

Ellroy's new novel, Perfidia, follows the Los Angeles police response to a brutal murder on the eve of Pearl Harbor. In a vintage steakhouse, the author discusses the book and his tech-free lifestyle. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Monday, Sep 8, 2014

Perfidia is a sprawling novel that takes place in 1940s LA. There are Pearl Harbor, internment camps, schemes within schemes. Ellroy weaves an epic tale that evokes an ugly time and an awful place. More at NPR.org

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Praise For Perfidia

"Perfidia is a brilliant, breakneck ride. Nobody except James Ellroy could pull this off. He doesn't merely write—he ignites and demolishes.”
     —Carl Hiaasen

“[Ellroy’s] style—jumpy, feverish, and anarchic—mirrors the world we enter. . . .  The police are not knights, they’re occupiers, and in Perfidia, Ellroy comes closer than ever to making the case that he writes alt-histories not of the Los Angeles police but of the Los Angeles police state. . . . [He] depicts with frightening authenticity how those innocent of crimes are knowingly framed in the interest of the almighty ‘greater good’.”
      —Dennis Lehane, The New York Times Book Review 
 
“If Ellroy’s bitter visions entice you, Perfidia will take you once again to the underbelly of American history. . . . You will dive into Perfidia with a shiver that is equal parts anticipation and fear—because you know it's going to get very dark very fast. . . . Ellroy’s singular style has been described as jazzlike or telegraphic; here it is insomniac, hallucinogenic, nightmarish.”
     —Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
 
“A great read. . . . Perfidia is a murder mystery, a subversive historical novel, and a dark meditation on power, politics, race and justice.”
     —Mark Lindquist, The Seattle Times
 
 
“[The L.A. Quartet] may be the ne plus ultra of noir, grittier than Chandler, more operatic than Hammett, and more violent even than Cain. . . . Ellroy whittles [his characters’] thoughts and actions into sentences the way others do shivs—lean, brutalist, and intended to puncture, to penetrate.”  
     —Chris Wallace, Interview magazine
 
“Compelling. . . . A triumphant return to the violent fictional world where he started—1940s Los Angeles.”
     —Andrew Neather, The Evening Standard (London)
 
“There has never been a writer like James Ellroy. Since the Eighties, in novels such as L.A. Confidential and The Cold Six Thousand, he has been making real a secret world behind the official history of America, where bad girls mingle with very bad men, and the designs of murderers, cops, mobsters, movie stars and politicians can be equally callous, equally deadly. He melds racial invective, street slang, hepcat jazz talk, junkie jive and scandal-rag rants into prose of controlled intensity, and to enter it is to experience a vivid eyeball rush of recognition.”
     —Chris Harvey, The Telegraph (London)

“Perfidia brings the two sides of his work together: the period crime-writing of LA Quartet, with its highlighting of police misdemeanours, and the wider politico-historical concerns of his subsequent Underworld USA trilogy.”
     —The Guardian (London), “Essential New Fiction”
 
“[Perfidia] is a war novel like no other. It’s complicated, and the author wouldn’t have it any other way. There's no telling the good guys from the bad in Ellroy’s Los Angeles, because there are no good guys. . . . Ellroy is not only back in form—he’s raised the stakes.”
     —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A return to the scene of Ellroy’s greatest success and a triumphant return to form. . . . His character portrayals have never been more nuanced or—dare we say it—sympathetic. . . . A disturbing, unforgettable, and inflammatory vision of how the men in charge respond to the threat of war. It’s an ugly picture, but just try looking away.”
     —Booklist, starred review
 
“A sprawling, uncompromising epic of crime and depravity.”
     —Publishers Weekly

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