January '42. L.A. reels behind the shock of Pearl Harbor. Local Japanese residents are rounded up and slammed behind bars. Massive thunderstorms hit the city.
A body is unearthed in Griffith Park. The cops tag it a routine dead-man job. They're wrong. It's an early-warning signal of Chaos.
There's a murderous fire and a gold heist. There's Fifth Column treason on American soil. There are homegrown Nazis, Commies, and race racketeers. It's populism ascendant. There's two dead cops in a dive off the jazz-club strip. And three men and one woman have a hot date with history.
Elmer Jackson is a corrupt Vice cop. He's a flesh peddler and a bagman for the L.A. Chief of Police. Hideo Ashida is a crime-lab whiz, lashed by anti-Japanese rage. Dudley Smith is PD hardnose working Army Intelligence. He's gone rogue and gone all-the-way fascist. Joan Conville was born rogue. She's a defrocked Navy lieutenant and a war profiteer to her core.
L.A. '42. Homefront madness. Wartime inferno--This Storm is James Ellroy's most audacious novel yet. It is by turns savage, tender, elegiac. It lays bare and celebrates crazed Americans of all stripes. It is a masterpiece.
MWA Grand Master Ellroy's stunning sequel to 2014's Perfidia opens in Los Angeles on New Year's Eve 1941. Anti-Japanese hysteria has reached a fever pitch and shifting alliances of left-wing and right-wing groups struggle to work out the best way to profit off the war. Dudley Smith, a police sergeant, has taken an Army commission south of the border, ostensibly to thwart Fifth Column pro-Nazi subversives and suspected Japanese submarine encroachments in Baja, but in reality to set up a lucrative wartime business smuggling heroin and illegal immigrant labor. Meanwhile, the L.A. police uncover a body in Griffith Park. Brilliant forensics expert Hideo Ashida, assisted by a talented young scientist with secrets of her own, must grapple with his devotion to Smith and his own conscience as he begins to piece together an intricate story involving a decade-old gold heist and a lethal fire in the park. As Smith squares off against Bill Parker, an LAPD captain on the rise, things get complicated and ugly very quickly. Just when it seems that things couldn't get darker, Ellroy peels back a deeper level of corruption. This obsessive, wholly satisfying probing of 20th-century American history deserves a wide readership.