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Clandestine (Chivers Sound Library) Audio CD – Unabridged, February, 2002

85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ellroy has distinguished himself as a superb hard-boiled detective storyteller, and with Clandestine, his reputation will only gain more luster. Set in post-World War II Los Angeles, this crime story features Fred Underhill, an ambitious policeman who loses his badge while investigating a serial murderer. Underhill pursues the investigation on his own and eventually prevails. While these core elements are common to most crime stories, Ellroy uses them without making them clich d. He succeeds by combining skillful characterization, fast-paced action, and lightly restrained sarcasm to present a delightful mystery. Narrator Jeremy Gage is a master of nuance and timing. This should be popular among library patrons; a great addition to mystery collections. Very highly recommended.DRay Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L., IA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of the most original and daring writers alive" Independent on Sunday "The most distinctive crime writer of his generation" Sunday Times "Ellroy is a unique voice in American fiction" Jonathan Kellerman "One of the most important popular fiction writers in America, whose best books take their readers to the darkest places of the human condition - a Tinseltown Dostoevsky" Time Out
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Product Details

  • Series: Chivers Sound Library
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Chivers Sound Library; Unabridged edition (February 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792798643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792798644
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,681,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Second novel of James Ellroy, published in 1983, CLANDESTINE develops the themes already present in BROWN'S REQUIEM. Fred Underhill is a young talented cop who believes he has found some clues proving that a serial killer is at work in the Los Angeles area. We are in 1951, in the middle of the Korea war, and the americans see communists everywhere.
In his mystical quest, Fred Underhill will meet Dudley Smith, a L.A.P.D. lieutenant who'll have the career we know under James Ellroy's pen. Smith or/and the author does have an obsession : the "Black Dahlia" mystery he has been unable to solve. It's the second time in two books that Ellroy evokes this affair that will give a few years later its name to one of James Ellroy's most known novels. Another recurrent Ellroy theme appearing in CLANDESTINE is the description of the death of one of the serial killer's victim, similar to the circumstances of the death of the writer's own mother.
Fred Underhill is also a golf addict and a tormented human being who'll seek redemption during the five years he'll pass in order to solve the case he has discovered. I must confess that the last fifty pages of CLANDESTINE are so gripping that I couldn't leave the book for one minute before its ending.
A book to rediscover.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
One of my favorites of all of Ellroy's novels. It's an earlier work, but the book is extremely solid. I believe this is the first time we are introduced to The Victory Motel, Dudley Smith, and his groupies. Very entertaining. Some parts are almost gut-wrenching in their humanity. Much of the book is bittersweet. If you are a fan of Ellroy's better known works like LA Confidential and The Black Dahlia -- Clandestine will not disappoint...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Beyer on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
One of James Ellroy's first efforts, CLANDESTINE showcases a writing voice not yet matured into the staccato hipster prose of his L.A. quartet or the historical fiction of American Tabloid/The Cold Six Thousand.
That said, it's still a great read (though the romantic sequences between Underhill and Lorna are a bit clunky). The last fifty pages are classic, non-stop page turners. The interrogation scenes with Dudley Smith, Underhill and Eddie Engels are Ellroy-esque and brutal, yet they lack the wit and cold intelligence of the interrogation scenes from L.A. Confidential. Lt. Dudley Smith is a monster, but not quite the cold, calculating beast he becomes in Ellroy's later masterpieces.
For those not acquainted with the earlier works of James Ellroy, this one's a must. As I read this book, I could definitely see stronger beginnings of the voice that now makes Ellroy one of the world's very best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By McMurdock on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Some of Ellroy's works are interconnected and critics or publishers have distributed his LA novels in the so-called LA Quartet (Black Dhalia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz)or the Dudley Smith Trio (the previous except Black Dhalia). Why Clandestine doesn't appear in any of this series is a mystery to me. Indeed Clandestine can be considered the first chapter of any of the series: it is set in LA in the early 50's, the plot follows similar patterns as the rest of the series (LAPD talented young officer gets into trouble and finds redemption by investigationg a murder), it features the omnipresent Dudley Smith...

Perhaps it is not as mesmeraizing as some of the LA Quartet but it is quite more realistic. It is free of some of the coincidential elements (i.e. officer assigned to a case conected with a crime his father investigated 20 years before)that somehow destroy the coherence in the other novels.

To sum up a fantastic introduction to Ellroy's noir universe.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "harbinger_68" on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
One of the reasons I love James Ellroy is his unflinching, honest portrayal of what all humans are: flawed, to different degrees. CLANDESTINE, to me, is what begins the L.A. saga, and it is the only way to be introduced to one of Ellroy's best characters: The monster that is Dudley Smith.
Many, it seems, felt the ending wrapped up too neatly or improbably, but it worked for me entirely. It's more than a warm-up for his best, BLACK DAHLIA, and stands on its own as noir. Ellroy shows us yet another facet of self-destruction redeemed in the nick of time so that at least SOME good can come from life's horrid injustices.
On a final note, I must confess, I am a dog lover, and the addition of Night-Train was comically wonderful (read it, and you will know what I'm talking about).
James, you've done it again!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By thurlock@hotmail.com on July 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am in agreeance with the previous reviewer who stated that this book is relatively 'nice' compared with Ellroy's other books. The plot moves along nicely and only falters in its flashback segment to offer some explanation of why 'IT' all happened. A good book that is well worth a read... If you enjoyed other Ellroy novels then you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
After getting hooked on Elroy by watching and then reading LA Confidential, I progressed to the rest of the LA Trilogy. On thier completion I found myself somewhat bemused as to which novel to read next. However, in spite of the old addage, something in the cover of Clandestine called to me. I was not to disappointed. The reader is thrown straight into the seedy world of the Fifties LAPD, and into the mind of an arrogant, officer with designs on quick promotion no matter who gets in the way. His determination for advancement is only equalled by his callous disregard for women. Once again we are confronted by the nemesis, in the shpe of Dudley Smith, who having seen it all, is watchful for our devious hero. The book quickly deels with his quick rise to fame, only to fall from grace even quicker. His time out the force is both mentally and soulfully destroying, and in this time of despair his only hope is to repair his broken marraige and to solve his great case to his own satisfaction, as much to appese his own conscience as to see justice done. The hero's desires are refered to as the "wonder", but the great mystrey left unsolved after this riveting story is how James Elroy can create time and again such vivid pictures through his words.
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