Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons"

CRIME novelist James Ellroy is hosting a new television show that goes up Wednesday night. He's both perfect for this -- who's written about crime in the Southland better than Ellroy? (All due respect to Ross Macdonald, Robert Crais, and a few others.) But his manic intensity also makes him a strange fit for television -- he can be a bit too much onscreen.

The show looks at both classic LA murders -- the Black Dahlia, Ellroy's mother's slaying -- as well as more recent stuff. Much of it it familiar to Angelenos. The busload of TV journalists I rode through town with on a chartered bus -- Ellroy ranted and raved up front -- were mostly spellbound by the mad dog. Here is my full story.

Some highlights from the tour:

"I am nothing if not a right-wing, LAPD apologist."

"The twin influences on my childhood were Confidential and the Lutheran church."

Finally, on the Ronnie Chasen murder:

"Somebody will rat somebody out for it... It will be an astonishingly prosaic revelation. It will be a head-scratcher until then.... And life will go on."

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