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Blood's A Rover - Review

I had decided not to write a review of BLOOD'S A ROVER. Why? In one word; Joan. Joan is also the one word that Mr. Ellroy has used to describe this book. She is the siren. Joan is the Helen of Troy or the Phyllis Dietrichson depending on your mood. The men of BLOOD'S ROVER are enraptured by her and struck dumb by her presence. And from this reader's prospective Joan is the character I could not discern from the two other poorly written female characters. Joan is the women all of your friends find fabulously attractive, smart, funny and that you find dull, arrogant, and a bore. I just don't see the attraction, and because her character is driving the action of most of the other characters, BLOOD'S A ROVER does not shine as brightly as it could or should.

However, books like this don't come around often. Typing out some number of words is required here. And while I have my problems with Chapter Two and Three in the Underworld series, the LA Quartet is a shinning masterwork that will obligate me to read Mr. Ellroy for as long as he writes.

James Ellory's final, and longest, book in the Underworld Trilogy deals with the concluding years of the 60's before dipping its toe into the 70's. Mr. Ellory's predilection is for the unknown bag-men of history. With BLOOD'S A ROVER he turns his gaze away from JFK, RFK, and MKL, and delves into Black Militancy and the Mob's involvement in creating a new Cuba in the Dominican Republic.

Our guides through this period are Wayne Tedrow Jr., Dwight Holly and Donald Cutchfield. Three men who finds themselves as middle managers between the FBI, Howard Hughes, and the Mafia. All of these men have made serious moral compromises in their quest for self fulfillment. As a group they make an intriguing troika on Man-children. Petty, immature, and stubborn. If Mr. Ellroy has accomplished anything with BLOOD'S A ROVER, and the Underworld series overall, it is the probable and reasonable fictional account of how American Government and society lodged its own head so seriously far up its ass. Wayne, Dwight and Don are just three men, but the inference is clear, America is littered with men who feel emasculated because their life did not turn out to be all wine and roses. If there is something to be gloried in Ellroy's creation, besides the tabloid story telling, it is how American men of the 60's and 70's were neutered because their War, Korea, didn't end in decisive victory and they did not all end up becoming astronauts, JFK or both.


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