In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb. Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In 1994, Ellroy quit running. He went back to L.A., to find out the truth about his motherand himself.
In My Dark Places, our most uncompromising crime writer tells what happened when he teamed up with a brilliant homicide cop to investigate a murder that everyone else had forgottenand reclaim the mother he had despised, desired, but never dared to love. What ensues is a epic of loss, fixation, and redemption, a memoir that is also a history of the American way of violence.
"Ellroy is more powerful than ever."
"Astonishing . . . original, daring, brilliant."
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.24(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
My father put me in a cab at the El Monte depot. He paid the driver and told him to drop me at Bryant and Maple.
I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to leave my father. I wanted to blow off El Monte forever.
It was hotmaybe ten degrees more than L.A. The driver took Tyler north to Bryant and cut east. He turned on Maple and stopped the cab.
I saw police cars and official-type sedans parked at the curb. I saw uniformed men and men in suits standing in my front yard.
I knew she was dead. This is not a revised memory or a retrospective hunch. I knew it in the momentat age tenon Sunday, June 22nd, 1958.
I walked into the yard. Somebody said, "There's the boy." I saw Mr. and Mrs. Krycki standing by their back door.
A man took me aside and kneeled down to my level. He said, "Son, your mother's been killed."
I knew he meant "murdered." I probably trembled or shuddered or weaved a little bit.
The man asked me where my father was. I told him he was back at the bus station. A half-dozen men crowded around me. They leaned on their knees and checked me out up-close.
They saw one lucky kid.
A cop split for the bus station. A man with a camera walked me back to Mr. Krycki's toolshed.
He put an awl in my hand and posed me at a workbench. I held on to a small block of wood and pretended to saw at it. I faced the camera and did not blink or smile or cry or betray my internal equilibrium.
The photographer stood in a doorway. The cops stood behind him. I had a rapt audience.
The photographer shot some film and urged me to improvise. I hunched over the wood and sawed at it with a half-smile/ half-grimace. The cops laughed. I laughed. Flashbulbs popped.