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Blood's a Rover: Underworld USA 3 (Underworld USA series) [Kindle Edition]

James Ellroy
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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The Turner House
The Turners have lived in the same house for over 50 years—a remarkable feat considering the house is in the embattled city of Detroit, surrounded by vacant lots and worth just a tenth of its mortgage. Find out what happens to the house and the offspring brought up in it

Book Description

America's master of noir delivers his masterpiece, a rip-roaring, devilishly wild ride through the bloody end of the 1960's. It's dark baby, and hot hot hot.
Martin Luther King assassinated. Robert Kennedy assassinated. Los Angeles, 1968. Conspiracies theories are taking hold. On the horizon looms the Democratic Convention in Chicago and constant gun fire peppers south L.A. Violence, greed, and grime, are replacing free-love and everybody from Howard Hughes, Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover to the right-wing assassins and left-wing revolutionaries are getting dirty. At the center of it all is a triumvirate: the president’s strong-arm goon, an ex-cop and heroine runner, and a private eye whose quarry is so dangerous she could set off the whole powder keg. With his trademark deadly staccato prose, James Ellroy holds nothing back in this wild, startling and much anticipated conclusion to his Underworld USA trilogy.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews Review

    Amazon Best of the Month, September 2009: James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet novels chronicled a cynic's take on Los Angeles cops and robbers, carving a dark and creepy nook for the author in the world of crime fiction. With Blood's a Rover, Ellroy completes his Underworld USA trilogy, an epic reinvention of American history, politics, and corruption. This book comes out firing: Ellroy's hipster prose--inimitable for its high style and spectacular energy--snaps and surges through more than 600 pages like black electricity, shocking the gentle reader from page one. Opening with a heist scene rendered as coldly violent as anything from Sam Peckinpah's most sociopathic fantasies, the story hurls itself across an improbable crazy quilt plot, including Howard Hughes's Vegas power-play, political abuses and machinations in Hoover's FBI, and the mob's ubiquitous shadow, darkening everything from JFK's assassination to Nixon's 1968 Presidential campaign. Another audacious effort from a one-of-a-kind talent, Blood's a Rover is thrilling and exhausting, a gloriously guilty pleasure. --Jon Foro

    From Publishers Weekly

    Starred Review. Ellroy concludes the scorching trilogy begun with 1995's American Tabloid with a crushing bravura performance. As ever, his sentences are gems of concision, and his characters—many of whom readers will remember from The Cold Six Thousand and from American history classes—are a motley crew of grotesques often marked by an off-kilter sense of honor: stone bad-asses, in other words, though the women are stronger than the men who push the plot. The violence begins with an unsolved 1964 L.A. armored car heist that will come to have major repercussions later in the novel, as its effects ripple outward from a daring robbery into national and international affairs. There's Howard Hughes's takeover of Las Vegas, helped along by Wayne Tedrow Jr., who's working for the mob. The mob, meanwhile, is scouting casino locations in Central America and the Caribbean, and working to ensure Nixon defeats Humphrey in the 1968 election. Helping out is French-Corsican mercenary Mesplede, who first appeared in Tabloid as the shooter on the grassy knoll and who now takes under his wing Donald Crutchfield, an L.A. peeping Tom/wheelman (based, curiously, on a real-life private eye). Mesplede and Crutchfield eventually set up shop in the Dominican Republic, where the mob begins casino construction and Mesplede and Crutchfield run heroin from Haiti to raise money for their rogue nocturnal assaults on Cuba. In the middle and playing all sides against one another is FBI agent Dwight Holly, who has a direct line to a rapidly deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover (the old girl) and a tormented relationship with left-wing radical Karen Sitakis, and, later, Joan Klein, whose machinations bring the massive plot together and lead to more than one death. Though the book isn't without its faults (Crutchfield discovers a significant plot element because something told him to get out and look; Wayne's late-book transformation is too rushed), it's impossible not to read it with a sense of awe. The violence is as frequent as it is extreme, the treachery is tremendous, and the blending of cold ambition and colder political maneuvering is brazen, all of it filtered through diamond-cut prose. It's a stunning and crazy book that could only have been written by the premier lunatic of American letters. (Sept.)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 3658 KB
    • Print Length: 658 pages
    • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (June 29, 2011)
    • Sold by: Random House LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0054TTTF4
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,223 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Malice in Wonderland September 24, 2009
    The Underworld USA trilogy began in 1995 with publication of American Tabloid and covered events in the early sixties. Five years passed before readers could dig into The Cold Six Thousand. Blood's a Rover (title taken from a poem by Houseman) begins shortly after the King and Kennedy assasinations in 1968 and takes us through the Chicago riots and Nixon's elections. Like previous entries, the book delivers an alternate, underground history of the partnership between Hoover's FBI and various criminal elements. Ellroy entices us through the looking glass to demonstrate the impact of that unsavory alliance on modern political history. Characters from previous books abound (Dwight Holley, Wayne Tedrow) as well as public figures both significant (Nixon, Howard Hughes) and obscure (Sal Mineo)

    Ellroy's Hoover is not much concerned with organized crime. Instead he is obsessed with student protesters, civil rights demonstrators, non-existant domestic Reds, and any politician he believes to be aligned with these groups. In this dark world, former cop Wayne Tedrow meets with mob heads after a drop off of cash to candidate Nixon and notices on the wall, a photo showing one of the gangsters playing golf with Pope Pius.

    The author's style is stacatto, high-adrenaline narrative alternating with newspaper headlines and supposed excerpts from personal journals. A chapter begins: "Dwight read files. A radio spritzed the news. Nixon and Humphrey grubbed for votes and see-sawed poll-wise. Jimmy Ray and Sirhan Sirhan fermented in custody." Using this approach, Ellroy packs a great deal of action and emotional impact into a few paragraphs. Over hundreds of pages, the result can be exhausting.
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    47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    First off, I'll admit some bias here. I'm a big Ellroy fan, and American Tabloid is neck-and-neck with Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities for my favourite novel of all time. There appear to be a couple of Ellroy haters among the reviewers so far, and fair enough, he's a love-or-hate writer. If you don't like Ellroy, you won't like Blood's a Rover. If, like me, you do like Ellroy, then this book will fulfil yet confound your every expectation.

    I won't bother with outlining the plot other than to say it's as tangled and propulsive as you'd expect from Ellroy. What some may want to know is how it compares to American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand. It's probably closer in tone to the former, lacking the latter's highly stylised presentation. It's a smoother read, in other words, but still requires some investment on the reader's part. That investment is rewarded many times over, however, and things barrel along at a wonderful page-turning rate.

    There are two main distinctions between this and Ellroy's earlier work. The first is his portrayal of women. While there are some recognisable tics, such as the younger male characters' borderline oedipal fixations on older women, and a tendency for those same women to be physically or pschologically scarred, Ellroy this time gives his female characters more room to breathe and develop. They are more than objects of obsession there to torture the male characters.

    The other difference is the heart of the piece; one could argue Ellroy's work perhaps lacked emotional depth, but not so with Blood's a Rover. Oddly for an author of his vintage, this is perhaps the most mature book of his career.

    It's also his most personal novel since The Black Dahlia.
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    37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Third Best of the Trilogy September 28, 2009
    In this final installment of the "Underworld U.S.A." trilogy Wayne Tedrow, Dwight Holly and the boys are back carrying out their portion of an American history that might have been. They have their hands in the cover ups of the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, Howard Hughes' purchase of Vegas casinos, and the mob's Caribbean connections. And that's just for starters.

    The plot loosely centers around an armored car heist in Los Angeles involving emeralds and millions of dollars. Holly, L.A. police officer Scotty Bennett, and a young wheelman named Donald "Peeper" Crutchfield are all trying to figure out the robbery (when they are not carrying out CIA directives, mob directives, or trying to figure out the mysterious women in their lives).

    I really liked "American Tabloid." I loved "The Cold Six Thousand." I cannot say the same for "Blood's A Rover." This novel just doesn't quite have the energy level of the first two. It is an amazing piece of work, but there is just so much going on and there is just too much repetition. (How many times does the reader have to be told that a character is getting amped up to read through their heist files one more time? My guess is that I saw that scene played out at least a dozen times.)

    The characters even seem somewhat repetitious. Despite varying backgrounds and ethnicities, they all have the same amazingly vast vocabularies for people who are essentially self-centered, schemers who are prone to extreme violence.

    Really, I wanted to like "Blood's A Rover," but it is just okay. I can only recommend this novel to those who have read AND enjoyed "American Tabloid" and "The Cold Six Thousand."
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Best to read Ellroy in the time order of his ...
    Best to read Ellroy in the time order of his books. He expands and polishes his style as he grows older. He will be recognized as one of the giants of fiction in our time.
    Published 25 days ago by Eric
    3.0 out of 5 stars Short of huge expectations
    Just finished this. It was a chore. Ellroy is difficult and that's not necessarily a bad thing but the payoff here makes this book his worst since before the Black Dahlia. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Old Hawkeye
    3.0 out of 5 stars I read everything I can by Ellroy. This book ...
    I read everything I can by Ellroy. This book is ok but it does not have the force and intensity of the others.
    Published 5 months ago by Phillip G Harris
    4.0 out of 5 stars Blood's a rover is vintage Elroy and still a fantastic read.
    Ellroy excels as usual! What is new is the "red" perspective which is very interesting. Otherwise, Blood's a rover is vintage Elroy and still a fantastic read.
    Published 5 months ago by Nils
    2.0 out of 5 stars Strictly From Hunger...
    Ellroy led off the "Underworld U.S.A." trilogy with the 20-megaton "American Tabloid," his best book since "The Black Dahlia. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by ozian
    5.0 out of 5 stars epic historiography. truth telling within fiction.
    The things we knew but never saw the proof then echoes more strongly today. The things we know now will further horrify tomorrow in Ellroy's hands.
    Published 6 months ago by Craig Leslie
    4.0 out of 5 stars A fine end to the Underwood Trilogy
    Excellent if not as good as American Tabloid. A good closing out of the Underwood trilogy.
    Published 7 months ago by LFP
    5.0 out of 5 stars May be his best book yet
    Being a HUGE James Ellroy fan, I've been impatiently waiting for Blood's A Rover to hit the market. I'm very happy to say that the wait was worth every minute. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Mark Mitchell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Read the best by the best and buy the rest.
    Third installment of the American Underground trilogy. If you read the first two then you know it will be great. Read more
    Published 9 months ago by Stephen Sturgis
    5.0 out of 5 stars I'd read Ellroy's grocery list
    I'm a huge fan of Ellroy so I might be a little bit biased here. First of all, don't expect American Tabloid 2, because that's not possible. Read more
    Published 12 months ago by Dan Henderson
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    More About the Author

    James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed L.A. Qurtet - The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz, as well as the Underworld USA trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood's a Rover. He is the author of one work of non-fiction, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.

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