Culture

James Ellroy Knows Crime. Period.

James Ellroy is going to take you to the underbelly in "James Ellroy's L.A.: City of Demons," which premieres on Wednesday, January 19, at 10:00 PM (ET) on Investigation Discovery.

You want to go. Trust us.

Dig the Demon Dog’s dossier:

LA native. Son of gorgeous nurse Geneva Odelia (nee Hilliker) and accountant Armand Ellroy. Their marriage on a one-way express to Splitsville, young Boy Ellroy heads to El Monte with Mom. Mom brutally, tragically murdered. Details are many but not many enough. Case *still* unsolved. Boyhood obsessions ensue, entangle, and engross.

» Mothers (his, in particular)
» Murder. Hers. Elizabeth Short (The “Black Dahlia” and surrogate for Geneva)
» Sex
» Music
» The L.A.P.D.
» Conspiracy
» Booze
» Bendrex
» Shoplifting
» B&E

And, finally, writing.

The backstory established, we'll fast forward. Ellroy transformed those obsessions into art of the highest order. No one writes like James Ellroy. He's the Demon Dog, sure, but also “one of America’s finest writers … period” according to TheNew York Times . Early detective stories begot epic “noir” (think L.A. Confidential), and then just epic, political novels of incredible breadth, imagination, and, of course, that style. Staccato like a sub-machine gun or a be-bop snare. It is very difficult to not try to write Ellroy. Like everyone else, we keep failing, but can’t help trying.

Now television. Ellroy says the program "will be serious, satirical, and great fun." The show will delve into the underbelly of Los Angeles, taking a closer look at the mob, the LAPD, the nightclubs, tabloids, and more.

No one writes like James Ellroy because no is like James Ellroy. Not even close. Check the trailer for his Investigation Discovery doc series and you’ll get it. Quickly.

Demon Dog as host, guide, Virgil if you will, to the Underground and its Ugly inhabitants. You want to go. Just go with him. It's safer and a lot more fun that way.

Photo of James Ellroy by Franny Freeman

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