Two books in the space of a year? Seems James Ellroy is writing again. It has been too long. But what’s this: The Hilliker Curse, my Pursuit of Women? Oh dear, more stuff about his dead mom, more stuff about his life as a prowler, peeper and panty-sniffing dope fiend. Frankly we have been here before in his excellent My dark places. But the guilt and dysfunction is weighing heavy on the great man’s conscience— he has to unburden, he has to tell us every last grimy detail of unabridled creepiness, hoping that we will still love him, or perhaps love him even more. A gamble that must have his publishers gasping with fear. More likely they traded this doomed confessionals publication in the hope they would get another bestselling quartet of LA based retro noir, a genre in which Ellroy is unsurpassed.
Fans of this great man’s writing will be unsurprised that he has had issues with women, they will be unsurprised that he has skated on the precipient edge of what Hunt S. Thompson so accurately termed ‘Bad Craziness’. One must hope that Ellroy, unlike Thompson, has not reached that point in his career where dysfunction and cash-in repetition have become substitutes for true artistic expression. Big Jim it would seem is past caring, such attention seeking confessionals are stock behaviour for Ellroy, in keeping with his renegade persona. We must remember however that even renegade persona’s have feelings. Many have been mystified that Ellroy has never learned his lesson, let us hope he never does, it’s what keeps him interesting.