The Cold Six Thousand BOOK review [James Ellroy]

Book Reviews
The Cold Six Thousand BOOK review [James Ellroy]
May 8, 2001, 20:18

THE COLD SIX THOUSAND by James Ellroy; Knopf, 2001

In the sequel to his novel American Tabloid, James Ellroy continues to postulate a secret history of America in the mid '60s. Beginning with the assassination of John Kennedy in November 1963 and concluding in June 1968 with the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, Ellroy whips up a whopper of a DeLillio-esque conspiracy theory that links the Kennedy Family, Howard Hughes, J Edgar Hoover, The Klan, The Mob, the CIA, and the FBI. Fictional characters act as intermediaries between these grappling forces and fill in the blanks that have been left by historians. As in Ellroy's Los Angeles Quartet and Lloyd Hopkins novels, the protagonists in The Cold Six Thousand are heroic, but not good; they are corrupt, but with scruples. The novel's complex, dense plot lines are spelled out in short disconnected prose that demands to be processed at breakneck speed. Befitting Ellroy's desire for his writing to evolve beyond crime fiction, this 692-page book is not so much a thriller as it is an attempt to plumb the psyche of human conflict in order to crack mysteries that, outside of storybooks, are considered unsolvable.

- Jeffrey L. Ouch

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