Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Perfidia
Cover of Perfidia
Perfidia
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans—but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.
The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police Department. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith—Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a twenty-one-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls—comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns.

Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans—but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.
The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police Department. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up, and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith—Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. Kay Lake is a twenty-one-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls—comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns.

Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    CHAPTER 14
    KAY LAKE’S DIARY
    Los Angeles, December 7, 1941

    Sunday brunch with Elmer and Brenda. Decorous, save for the talk.

    Brenda owns a lovely home in Laurel Canyon. The furnishings can be seen in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Harry Cohn enjoys Brenda’s girls and gave her free run of the Columbia warehouse.

    A Mexican maid laid out huevos rancheros. Elmer mixed gin fizzes. Gary Cooper fucked Barbara Stanwyck on the couch I was perched on. Brenda swore that the rumor was true.

    I felt disembodied. It was lack of sleep more than shock over what I’d heard at City Hall. Lee Blanchard, Ben Siegel and Abe Reles. Captain William H. Parker’s belief that I would now be ripe for entrapment. He held me to be a woman who would stand up for her man and do anything to cover his misdeeds. He was gravely mistaken there.

    Elmer said, “Lee caught a squawk with the Dudster. It’s all over the air. Four Japs in Highland Park.”
    Brenda dosed her eggs with hot sauce. “You go straight to shop- talk.”

    Elmer said, “A good host plays to his guests, honey. Shoptalk is the only sort of talk that Miss Katherine Lake enjoys.”

    I laughed and picked at my food. Brenda and Elmer were nearly ten years older than I. They were professionals; I was a cop’s quasi- girlfriend. The disparity rankled. We all went back to Bobby De Witt and the Boulevard-Citizens job. Open secrets and unspoken truths began germinating there. I wanted to peddle myself to wash the stink of Bobby off of me; Brenda refused to let me do it. She said, “You live by these crazy-girl notions you get from books and movies. I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I let you take that nonsense too far.”

    Elmer handed me a cocktail. I wondered how up-to-date he was on Lee and Ben Siegel. “Bugsy” is now ensconced in a “penthouse” suite at the Hall of Justice jail. Sheriff’s deputies serve as valets, flunkies and chauffeurs for visiting starlets. Velvet curtains provide privacy for Ben and his overnight guests. His release is imminent. Abe Reles’ “swan dive” scotched the prosecution’s case against him.

    Elmer smiled and waggled his cigar stub. We possess an odd telepathy and often seem to know what the other is thinking. It always pertains to “shoptalk.”

    He said, “Lee paid off his chit with Benny Siegel.”

    I said, “Yes, I figured it out.”

    Brenda crushed her cigarette on a bread plate. “Tell all, honey. Don’t be a C.T.”

    I said, “No, your lover goes first.”

    Elmer sprawled in a chair and grabbed Brenda. She fell into his lap and went Whoops! He said, “Thad Brown drove Dudley Smith and Lee to Union Station. He read the papers a few days later and put it together.”

    Brenda said, “How’d you figure it out?”

    I made that zip-the-lips gesture. Elmer said, “Give, sister.” Brenda said, “Don’t be a C.T.”

    I played coy. “There’s a Traffic captain who knows a lot about Lee.”

    Elmer draped an arm around Brenda. “How do you know that?”

    “Because Captain William H. Parker is courting me.”

    Brenda hooted. “Honey, that sanctimonious son of a bitch does not court women in any kind of classic sense.”

    I lit a cigarette. “You mean he doesn’t take bribes, beat confessions out of suspects, or screw your girls in the back of Mike Lyman’s Grill, where I’m meeting him at...
About the Author-
  • JAMES ELLROY was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy-American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood's a Rover-and the L. A. Quartet novels, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, and White Jazz. He lives in Los Angeles.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Craig Wasson's approach to Ellroy's new historical novel reflects the testosterone one would expect of a WWII-era Los Angeles police department or a crowded, sweaty boxing match. Wasson delivers Ellroy's clipped sentences in varying tones with exacting emphasis. Accents ranging from working-class Irish to upper-class Boston roll off his tongue with ease as he deftly transitions between them. His best skill is his impression of a radio broadcaster. He fully delivers the sound of 1940s radio as the host preaches his message with all the intensity of the extremist he is. A masterful performance all around. J.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 24, 2014
    Ellroy’s latest guide to the dark passages of Southern California history is a prequel to his Los Angeles Quartet (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz), featuring many of the same characters. It opens with the murder of a Japanese family on the day before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. The story quickly spins into a tale of a city so stymied by the possibility of Far East invasion it’s all too easy for a cynical police force to make homicides, greed, and corruption the order of the day. Actor Wasson (Body Double) once again proves to be the author’s ideal vocal interpreter, not only providing more than 50 distinct voices but keeping perfect pace with Ellroy’s unique style: hammering the novel’s staccato narration, intensifying the kinetic passages, and slowing down for the characters’ fantasies and self-delusions. A Knopf hardcover.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 23, 2014
    Ellroy launches his second L.A. Quartet with a sprawling, uncompromising epic of crime and depravity, with admirable characters few and far between. The action spans about three weeks during December 1941, opening the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor with the deaths of four members of the Watanabe family, who were possibly victims of a ritual murder-suicide. A note left at the scene written in Japanese, disclaiming responsibility for a “looming apocalypse,” suggests foreknowledge of the attack. The investigation and its ramifications are explored from the perspectives of the LAPD’s Japanese crime-scene specialist Hideo Ashida; William Parker, the future LAPD head; and two figures familiar from Ellroy’s earlier books—Dudley Smith, a murderous and bent cop, and the enigmatic Kay Lake, who’s roped into going undercover in L.A.’s communist community. Cynical schemes to profit from the planned internment of the Japanese may have played a part in the killings as well. This is as good a sample of Ellroy as any for newcomers, and old hands will find new perspectives on old characters intriguing. Author tour. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates.

  • Carl Hiaasen "Perfidia is a brilliant, breakneck ride. Nobody except James Ellroy could pull this off. He doesn't merely write--he ignites and demolishes."
  • Dennis Lehane, The New York Times Book Review "[Ellroy's] style--jumpy, feverish, and anarchic--mirrors the world we enter. . . . The police are not knights, they're occupiers, and in Perfidia, Ellroy comes closer than ever to making the case that he writes alt-histories not of the Los Angeles police but of the Los Angeles police state. . . . [He] depicts with frightening authenticity how those innocent of crimes are knowingly framed in the interest of the almighty 'greater good'."
  • Bill Sheehan, The Washington Post "The unmistakable product of James Ellroy's fevered imagination. . . . Perfidia shows us the war on the home front as we have never seen it before. The result is both pure, unadulterated Ellroy and a darkly compelling deconstruction of the recent American past. . . . [It's] written in a familiar staccato style that delivers large amounts of information in extremely compressed form. The violence, which is frequent and horrific, is described with a clinical exactitude that never flinches. And the entire enterprise is colored by an instantly recognizable tabloid sensibility. . . . Like it or not, believe in it or not, this is James Ellroy's America, and it is a savage, often frightening place."
  • Zoë Ferraris, San Francisco Chronicle "Ellroy successfully spins a drug-alcohol-and-nefarious-deeds-fueled wartime web of double-dealing betrayal, insidious activities, and gruesome atrocities. . . . . It's tough and ugly and infuriating--and relentlessly readable. . . . [His] often-staccato prose is as jumpy as the time period and the fact that we see or hear about the same incidents from different--and differing--viewpoints enhances that sense of unease and distortion. But the narrative is tautly held together by the ongoing police procedural and by several primary characters."
    --Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe

    "A powerful roar of a story with wonderfully flawed characters and a richly conceived plot that will keep you turning every last one of its 700 pages. . . . This stunning novel resonates throughout with the dark vibe of noir. . . . The story is wickedly elaborate, its plotting brilliant. . . . Kudos to Ellroy for elevating the crime genre with this raucous, sprawling, political beast."
  • Tim Stegall, Austin Chronicle "[The first L.A. Quartet] made Ellroy America's best crime novelist, a terse, staccato, Bukowskian demimonde poet. . . . Perfidia represents new depth, scope, and craftsmanship in James Ellroy's canon. It is his finest work. You'll wonder how he can top it."
  • Fred Grimm, The Miami Herald "A historical novel, stippled with authentic details of that not-very-innocent era, disguised as a first-rate mystery novel."
  • Saul Austerlitz, The Atlantic
    "It is welcome news that Ellroy's latest effort, Perfidia, returns home, sliding in as a prequel to the L.A. Quartet, set in the previous decade. Ellroy's revisionist impulse is to complicate the patriotic unity of the wartime years much as he undid the myth of placid postwar Los Angeles. . . . What lies ahead, as Ellroy presses deeper into the war years, is anyone's guess, but like his protagonists, he is driven by a paradoxical obsession: to keep on digging up dark memories of the city, in the hope of rising above the psychic traumas of the past--not reborn, but newly wise."
  • Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times "If Ellroy's bitter visions entice you, Perfidia will take you once again to the underbelly of American history. . . . You will dive into Perfidia with a shiver that is equal parts anticipation and fear--because you know it's going to get very dark very fast. . . . Ellroy's singular style has been described as jazzlike or telegraphic; here it is insomniac, hallucinogenic, nightmarish."
  • Jason Sheehan, All Things Considered/NPR "Big, brash and overpowering, this will appeal to fans of Ellroy's terse, lurid style."
    --Randy Cordova, The Arizona Republic, Book Pick of the Month

    "Ellroy has a way of giving gravitas to ugliness and making brutality beautiful. . . . To see him operat
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • OverDrive Listen
    Release date:
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Burn to CD: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to device: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to Apple® device: 
    Permitted
    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Perfidia
Perfidia
A Novel
James Ellroy
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel