Book Review: With A World At War, LA Still Has Its Own Troubles

This Storm is a crime novel from James Ellroy that takes place in 1942 Los Angeles. It’s one of a group of novels known as Second LA Quartet. It was first published in 2019.

This is one of these novels where it is uncertain who the real protagonist is supposed to be. Everyone’s morals seem to be a little ambiguous. There is a body found at Griffin Park. Two police officers are later murdered at a night club. A gold heist is also at the heart of this. Many characters are in other works written by Ellroy. To be honest, I am pretty unfamiliar with these novels. My only real prior exposure to Ellroy is seeing the movie LA Confidential, which is based on one of the previous novels.

This is a very dense, busy novel. The setting was fascinating. Real historic cinematic figures such as Orson Welles are peppered throughout. Ellroy apparently really delves into the culture of the city and the time quite thoroughly. There is a lot of violence and sex, which is not surprising. The characters are pretty complicated. Ellroy is an interesting writer and has no shortage of talent, but he can seem a little long-winded. The novel does not read very quickly even though it is not written with any Victorian flourishes. I struggled to stay engaged with this one, however that may be more due to not being used to this author’s style of writing. I may have to try another Ellroy novel or revisit this one in a few years.

Ellroy is a consistent best selling author for a reason and I did enjoy the film LA Confidential, so I won’t try to dissuade anyone from giving this novel a try.

Next up, Kyle Mills continues the bloody exploits of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp with Total Power.

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