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The first novel in Ellroy's extraordinary Underworld USA Trilogy

1958. America is about to emerge into a bright new age – an age that will last until the 1000 days of John F Kennedy's presidency.

Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era. Peter Bondurant – Howard Hughes's right-hand man, Jimmy Hoffa's hitman. Kemper Boyd – employed by J Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the Kennedy clan. Ward Littell – a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime.

The festering discount of the age that burns brightly in these men's hearts will go into supernova as the Bay of Pigs ends in calamity, the Mob clamours for payback and the 1000 days ends in brutal quietus in 1963.

Reviews

Intense and flamboyant... excellent. The plot runs on high-octane violence... a powerful book... one emerges breathless, shaken and ready to change one's view of recent American history

Sunday Telegraph

Brilliant and appalling. It is deeply repelling portraiture, yet mesmerising

The Times

Laconic violence, terse, slang-driven sentences, and a gleeful blurring of the moral line between good guys and bad guys... Seven hundred pages of this stuff left me feeling punch-drunk and dizzy, but then it sure beats the hell out of Anita Brookner

Mail on Sunday

A frenetic and explosive thriller . . .

Sunday Times

One of the most important popular-fiction writers in America ... a Tinsel town Dostoyevsky

Time Out

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781448108596

    November 30, 2011

    Cornerstone Digital

    592 pages

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  • Paperback

    9780099537823

    August 2, 2010

    Windmill Books

    592 pages

    RRP $22.99

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