They have given him his own TV show! By sheer force of personality James Ellroy the man makes fascinating viewing. Dig his fifties throw-back dress sense, his robotic alliterative monotone, punctuated like his writing with grisly and unseemly epithets. But most of all dig his relentless retro-crime enthusiasm. In the first episode we get the death of his mother, the Black Dahlia and the murder of 17 year old Lilly Burke.
This show is an opportunity for the king of Retro Noir to insinuate his personality on a whole new generation of crime fans. To those of us who know the devil dog of old there is not much new information on show here, because the great man is at his greatest when he is talking on his pet subjects. Episode two is about Lana Turner and Johnny Stompanato and Scandal rags like Confidential and Whisper. You can just bet he has a Mickey Cohen episode in the wings too and why not, this is what Ellroy does best: obsessing over past sins of a bygone generation cocooning us in the knowledge that he like us already knows the punchline.
And what a punchline it is: twisted tales from a twisted city. The show can be seen Wednesdays at seven and ten on Investigation discovery. Interestingly in the pre-show publicity Ellroy revealed that he has no computer, and no cell phone. He does not watch television. He never reads novels or newspapers, nor does he go to movies. He has no books, he says, other than his own and in case you want to talk music, he thinks Beethoven was the last musician worth a listen. Big Jim. Check him out, he’s quite something.