Three L.A. cops walk into a late-night diner crime scene: total massacre. Over the course of about 7 years in the 1950s, Officers White, Exley, and Vincennes use the case as a means to feed their individual vices.
In the process of pursuing their various obsessions, each cop manages to slay a small community of ‘bystanders.’ More than a few L.A. citizens die in rather unhappy and bloody circumstances.
Don’t cry yet; Ellroy makes sure that everyone who bleeds out across the pages of this schizophrenic tale are as equally unpalatable as the killers themselves: child pornographers, extortionist journalist scum, pimps, “rape-o’s”, Hollywood commies with sexual penchants for little boys, three unarmed African American kids who were
on their way to Ivy League schools shot anyway, in cold blood, by L.A.’s finest (they’d previously alibied out of diner massacre complicity because they were busy raping a Mexican girl that same night). Heavy stuff.
Ellroy’s writing sports a varnish of verisimilitude that is conspicuously absent from the laundered and gentrified halls of modern literature. Unsurprisingly, Ellroy used to identify as a Nazi just to be a dick and, to this day, does not read modern fiction, for fear it will corrupt his own writing. Judicious parlay, Jimmy – L.A. Confidential and its superior predecessors, The Black Dahlia and The Big Nowhere, are each better than almost anything the NY literary establishment has forced out in the last 20 years.