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Blood's a Rover
Cover of Blood's a Rover
Blood's a Rover
Underworld U.S.A. Series, Book 3
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Summer, 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. The assassination conspiracies have begun to unravel. A dirty-tricks squad is getting ready to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Black militants are warring in southside L.A. The Feds are concocting draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men at the vortex of History.
Dwight Holly is J. Edgar Hoover's pet strong-arm goon, implementing Hoover's racist designs and obsessed with a leftist shadow figure named Joan Rosen Klein. Wayne Tedrow—ex-cop and heroin runner—is building a mob gambling mecca in the Dominican Republic and quickly becoming radicalized. Don Crutchfield is a window-peeping kid private-eye within tantalizing reach of right-wing assassins, left-wing revolutionaries and the powermongers of an incendiary era. Their lives collide in pursuit of the Red Goddess Joan—and each of them will pay "a dear and savage price to live History."
Political noir as only James Ellroy can write it—our recent past razed and fully reconstructed—Blood's A Rover is a novel of astonishing depth and scope, a massive tale of corruption and retribution, of ideals at war and the extremity of love. It is the largest and greatest work of fiction from an American master.
From the Hardcover edition.
Summer, 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. The assassination conspiracies have begun to unravel. A dirty-tricks squad is getting ready to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Black militants are warring in southside L.A. The Feds are concocting draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men at the vortex of History.
Dwight Holly is J. Edgar Hoover's pet strong-arm goon, implementing Hoover's racist designs and obsessed with a leftist shadow figure named Joan Rosen Klein. Wayne Tedrow—ex-cop and heroin runner—is building a mob gambling mecca in the Dominican Republic and quickly becoming radicalized. Don Crutchfield is a window-peeping kid private-eye within tantalizing reach of right-wing assassins, left-wing revolutionaries and the powermongers of an incendiary era. Their lives collide in pursuit of the Red Goddess Joan—and each of them will pay "a dear and savage price to live History."
Political noir as only James Ellroy can write it—our recent past razed and fully reconstructed—Blood's A Rover is a novel of astonishing depth and scope, a massive tale of corruption and retribution, of ideals at war and the extremity of love. It is the largest and greatest work of fiction from an American master.
From the Hardcover edition.
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  • From the cover Part I

    CLUSTER FUCK

    June 14, 1968-September 11, 1968

    Wayne Tedrow Jr.

    (Las Vegas, 6/14/68)

    HEROIN: He'd rigged a lab in his hotel suite. Beakers, vats and Bunsen burners filled up wall shelves. A three-burner hot plate juked small-batch conversions. He was cooking painkiller-grade product. He hadn't cooked dope since Saigon.

    A comp suite at the Stardust, vouchered by Carlos Marcello. Carlos knew that Janice had terminal cancer and that he had chemistry skills.

    Wayne mixed morphine clay with ammonia. A two-minute heating loosened mica chips and silt. He boiled water to 182°. He added acetic anhydride and reduced the bond proportions. The boil sluiced out organic waste.

    Precipitants next-the slow-cook process-diacetyl morph and sodium carbonate.

    Wayne mixed, measured and ran two hot plates low. He glanced around the suite. The maid left a newspaper out. The headlines were all him.

    Wayne Senior's death by "heart attack." James Earl Ray and Sirhan Sirhan in stir.

    His front-page ink. No mention of him. Carlos had chilled out Wayne Senior. Mr. Hoover chilled out the backwash on the King/Bobby hits.

    Wayne watched diacetyl mass build. His blend would semi-anesthetize Janice. He was bucking for a big job with Howard Hughes. Hughes was addicted to pharmaceutical narcotics. He could cook him up a private blend and take it to his interview.

    The mass settled into cubes and rose out of the liquid. Wayne saw photos of Ray and Sirhan on page two. He'd worked on the King hit. His worked it high up. Freddy Otash ran fall guy Ray for King and fall guy Sirhan for Bobby.

    The phone rang. Wayne grabbed it. Scrambler clicks hit the line. It had to be a Fed safe phone and Dwight Holly.

    "It's me, Dwight."

    "Did you kill him?"

    "Yes."

    " 'Heart attack,' shit. 'Sudden stroke' would have been better." Wayne coughed. "Carlos is handling it personally. He can frost out anything around here."

    "I do not want Mr. Hoover going into a tizzy over this." "It's chilled. The question is, 'What about the others?' "

    Dwight said, "There's always conspiracy talk. Bump off a public figure and that kind of shit tends to bubble. Freddy ran Ray covertly and Sirhan up front, but he lost weight and altered his appearance. All in all, I'd say we're chilled on both of them."

    Wayne watched his dope cook. Dwight spieled more news. Freddy O. bought the Golden Cavern Casino. Pete Bondurant sold it to him.

    "We're chilled, Dwight. Tell me we're chilled and convince me."

    Dwight laughed. "You sound a little raw, kid."

    "I'm stretched a bit thin, yeah. Patricide's funny that way."

    Dwight yukked. The dope pots started boiling. Wayne doused the heat and looked at his desk photo.

    It's Janice Lukens Tedrow, lover/ex-stepmom. It's '61. She's twisting at the Dunes. She's sans partner, she's lost a shoe, a dress seam has ripped.

    Dwight said, "Hey, are you there?"

    "I'm here."

    "I'm glad to hear it. And I'm glad to hear we're chilled on your end."

    Wayne stared at the picture. "My father was your friend. You're going in pretty light with the judgment."

    "Shit, kid. He sent you to Dallas."



    Big D. November '63. He was there that Big Weekend. He caught the Big Moment and took this Big Ride.

    He was a sergeant on Vegas PD. He was married. He had a chemistry degree. His father was a big Mormon fat cat. Wayne Senior was jungled up...
About the Author-
  • James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international best sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine's Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine BLOOD'S A ROVER is a solid story with an odd name. In the beginning, writer James Ellroy uses a lot of short declarative sentences. Punchy. Brief. Specific. Fortunately, the writing becomes more expansive later, getting the chance to breathe. Narrator Craig Wasson keeps the many different characters straight, giving each a distinct voice. His acting skills serve him well, and his performance lends coherence to an untidy, complex plot. Set in the 1960s, it involves the CIA, FBI, mobsters, presidents, drug wars, and Cuba. It's hard to know whom to root for in this book, making it closer to real life than many other thrillers. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 29, 2009
    Ellroy concludes the scorching trilogy begun with 1995's American Tabloid
    with a crushing bravura performance. As ever, his sentences are gems of concision, and his characters—many of whom readers will remember from The Cold Six Thousand
    and from American history classes—are a motley crew of grotesques often marked by an off-kilter sense of honor: stone bad-asses, in other words, though the women are stronger than the men who push the plot. The violence begins with an unsolved 1964 L.A. armored car heist that will come to have major repercussions later in the novel, as its effects ripple outward from a daring robbery into national and international affairs. There's Howard Hughes's takeover of Las Vegas, helped along by Wayne Tedrow Jr., who's working for the mob. The mob, meanwhile, is scouting casino locations in Central America and the Caribbean, and working to ensure Nixon defeats Humphrey in the 1968 election. Helping out is French-Corsican mercenary Mesplede, who first appeared in Tabloid
    as the shooter on the grassy knoll and who now takes under his wing Donald Crutchfield, an L.A. peeping Tom/wheelman (based, curiously, on a real-life private eye). Mesplede and Crutchfield eventually set up shop in the Dominican Republic, where the mob begins casino construction and Mesplede and Crutchfield run heroin from Haiti to raise money for their rogue nocturnal assaults on Cuba. In the middle and playing all sides against one another is FBI agent Dwight Holly, who has a direct line to a rapidly deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover (“the old girl”) and a tormented relationship with left-wing radical Karen Sitakis, and, later, Joan Klein, whose machinations bring the massive plot together and lead to more than one death. Though the book isn't without its faults (Crutchfield discovers a significant plot element because “something told him to get out and look”; Wayne's late-book transformation is too rushed), it's impossible not to read it with a sense of awe. The violence is as frequent as it is extreme, the treachery is tremendous, and the blending of cold ambition and colder political maneuvering is brazen, all of it filtered through diamond-cut prose. It's a stunning and crazy book that could only have been written by the premier lunatic of American letters.

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Underworld U.S.A. Series, Book 3
James Ellroy
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