Clandestine (1999) James Ellroy 

101004Not nearly as masterful as _American Tabloid_, book one in the Underworld Trilogy. This is early Ellroy, and I see long passages of brilliance, but mostly in the first third of  the book. The rest is uneven, rambling, and circuitously distant (Milwaukee!) from the heart and soul of his writing, his oeuvre, the dark noir of–post-war Los Angeles. The friendship of LAPD Officer Fred Underhill and his patrol partner “Wacky” Walker is the dominant feature of the first 100 pages, but ends there. Well done! Buddy cops as near Jack and Neal like seekers for “the Wonder”, not in Hollywood, or the depths of skid row, the crime scene, the race-track, or the cocktail lounge. Fred ends up with a family, stitched together from the loose ends of the novel’s, the orphan always wondered what that would be like. But kind of fizzles out for the reader.

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