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Summary

A startling panorama of Los Angeles in the '50s.

New Year's Eve as 1949 turns to 1950, Los Angeles: The City of Angels has becomes the city of the Angel of Death. Communist witch hunts and insanely violent killings are terrorising the community. Three men are plunged into a maelstrom of violence and deceit when their lives become inextricably linked as each one confronts his own personal darkness.

©1988 James Ellroy (P)2016 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about The Big Nowhere

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  • H
  • 29-05-17

Classic Ellroy, wonderfully narrated.

For those who haven't read this book, it's great. The LA quartet is a fantastic and complex slice of L.A. noir. Additionally the narrator is amazing of really brings the characters to life.

3 people found this helpful

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All round excellent

Great story and great narration. Really enjoyed this one. Not for the squeamish - a really well written and well read book.

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Exciting and scary

Los Angeles, 1950. Communist witch hunts and a spate of violent killings throw three men into a complex and dangerous web of lies, deceit and murder.

(Audiobook/paperback)
This is Ellroy’s second novel in the LA Quartet series. Though there are a few nods to the first book, The Black Dahlia, this one is a separate story. As with ‘Dahlia’, the author’s unique style of writing mixes slang, a weird kind of swearing and police jargon, making the book at times a tricky read. Though I started out with the paperback version, I switched to the audiobook halfway through simply because the dialogue wore me out! Having said this and allowing for the fact that this is a fairly complicated plot, the main characters—Mal Considine, Deputy Upshaw and Buzz Meeks—keep the action rolling along, while Ellroy’s descriptions of the city and surrounding areas are a sheer delight. Jeff Harding's narration, too, is right on the money, bringing the characters to life in an entertaining and realistic way. Referencing Howard Hughes, Communism and jazz music, the author paints a vivid and gruesome picture of 1950s America.

It’s worth noting that the violence is considerably stepped up from that of the first book, making it a gory read. Also, for anyone with a heightened sense of political correctness, it’s likely to prove offensive.

An exciting, scary and captivating book that will appeal to anyone who loves gritty, noir crime stories.

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loved it

It's no black dahlia but it is bloody good. I would highly recommend this to elroy fans

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One of Ellroys’ finest

The Dudley Smith trilogy is an excellent starter for James Ellroy, they get you into the cadence of the writing style.

A gruesome killer, bent coppers, Hollywood writers, reds, Howard Hughes and a stripper at the centre - something for everyone surely!

I enjoyed reading it many moons ago and I have now enjoyed it being read to me - the narrator has the right beat and accent for the the story.

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All style and no substance

The title of this book says it all. It is all style and no substance with a plot so convoluted it requires an explanation from the author towards the end. I wouldn’t try another book by this author. The only redeeming feature is the narrator who is first class as usual and made me listen to the end.

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Not prime Elroy

Having enjoyed previous books by James Elroy, The Big Nowhere should have been the review of the book rather than the title. The characters are paper thin, the story way too complicated and I fear he must have been getting paid by the word. I recommend skipping this one and reading another of Ellrpys better shorter more polished efforts.

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The Big Nowhere - I like the old fashioned thrillers but don't think some people would like some of the language

The Big Nowhere - I like the old fashioned thrillers but don't think some people would like some of the language
Also the political correction people won't like this book, but you
Have to remember it was written before PC can into being.
Jeff Harding great narrator

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  • Mark
  • 30-10-19

I like this book and Jeff Harding did a great job

I like this book and Jeff Harding did a great job narrating. This book has sneaked into the top tier in my library because it was entertaining and because I enjoy the Noir style books that reflect on life in days gone by. I will look at another one from James Elroy, particularly if Jeff Harding is the narrator.