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.

End Zone (1972) Don DeLillo  

11764Early Don Delillo. A great book about football! Oh.. and the possibility (1972) of nuclear war, and meaningless lives. That kind of thing…. The same themes and ruptures that will connect the Bobby Thompson homerun ball and nuclear waste dumps in __Underworld__ his cold war epic. End Zone is try outs. “blue turk right, double slot, zero snag delay” “monsoon sweep, stringin left, ready right, cradle out””brooadside option, flow and go.” Each play must have a name. The naming of plays is important. All teams run the same plays. But each team uses an entirely different system of naming. Coaches stay up well into the night in order to name plays. The heat and re heat coffee on an old burner. No play begins until its name is called.”

Odds Against Tomorrow (2013) Nathaniel Rich 

15759484This book was recommended by a radio talk show host that I usually trust on these kinds of things. It turned out not to be the kind of great read for me that it was for him. Our hero in the near future is statistical actuarial wizard that big corporations come to depend on for predictions of all kinds! Great premise that keeps you in till the end.. which is Katrina plus Sandy force wind and water event in NYC. Very adventurous tales of survival (and nearly love) ensue. I should go look to quote exactly but wonderful like something like: “The future disappears as a preoccupation when the present is so consuming.” Desire for Nietzschean intensity of life, Baudelaire and absurdity, Bob Dylan.. Mr. Tambourine Man. Maybe I did like it ok after all.

Great Jones Street, Don DeLillo (1973) 

407 2Weird wild rock n roll New York City novel. May well survive the test of time and in 50 years be THE period piece for post Woodstock conversion of rock-art-outrage-dissent into BIG BIG business-hype-rip off. Ecstasy- authenticity-acid test to frantic-poison-addiction. Don Delillo comes out, as we may have presumed as a Dylan guy. Phantasmagoric surreal character movement and dialogue comes out of the same place in creation as Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream; Motor-psycho Nightmare; Subterranean HSBlues; Tombstone Blues; Desolation Row … also the one with Einstein disguised as Robin Hood. Loved it!