My favourite crime novels – no. 13

White Jazz – The last novel in James Ellroy’s LA Quartet is like a literary kick to the swingers. And what a way to sign off one of the great series in all of crime fiction. The formal language experiment that Ellroy began with LA Confidential, with the use of staccato sentences that get rid of all those pesky adverbs, really came into its own here. Hell, Ellroy pretty much invented his own language in this novel. White Jazz is like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. It moves at a rate that makes LA Confidential seem like a slow-burning cosy in comparison. It meshes a complex, satisfying plot (and Ellroy is the supreme plotter in crime fiction) with a captivating anti-hero in Dave Klein. It also sets the groundwork for Ellroy’s next great novel American Tabloid. Pure brilliance.

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