James Ellroy wastes no time, or words, in pushing readers inside US history

American Tabloid’s flinty prose zooms us forward through five busy years of crimes high and low – straight into the past

Brace! Here comes a death scene from American Tabloid:

Fulo took the wheel. Pete got in back. Salcido tried to scream through his gag. They hauled down Flagler. Fulo yelled an address: 1089 Northwest 53rd. Pete turned on the radio full blast.

Bobby Darin sang ‘Dream Lover’, earsplitting loud. Pete shot Salcido in the back of the head – exploding teeth ripped the tape off his mouth.

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