Love Me Fierce in Danger
The Life of James Ellroy
by Steven Powell
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Pub Date 09 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2023
The first critical biography of a titan of American crime fiction.
This book charts the fascinating life of the novelist James Ellroy, one of the most acclaimed figures in American literature. Known as the “demon dog of crime fiction,” Ellroy’s books—including L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, and American Tabloid—forever changed the genre. In this biography, Steven Powell traces Ellroy’s rise as a literary master of crime noir from his birth in 1948 to the present, shining new light on the highs and lows of Ellroy’s complex personal and literary journey.
When Ellroy was just ten years old, his mother brutally murdered. The crime went unsolved, and her death marked the start of a long and turbulent road for Ellroy that included struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness, and jail time. As Powell reveals, Ellroy’s mother’s murder and his upbringing in 1950s Los Angeles, always on the periphery of Hollywood, had a substantial influence on his writing. Powell plumbs the history of Ellroy’s life and family, including his mother’s mysterious first marriage eighteen years before her murder.
Powell paints a vivid picture of the provocative author’s life, offering a deeper understanding of his work. Informed by interviews with friends, family, peers, literary and Hollywood collaborators, and extensive conversations with Ellroy himself, Love Me Fierce in Danger pulls back the curtain on the life of an enigmatic figure who courts acclaim and controversy with equal zealotry.
"Here is 'the skinny' (as the subject himself might put it) on one of the most charismatic and complex crime writers on the planet, affording insights into both the man and his craft. It's every bit as gripping and twisted as a James Ellroy novel. Dig it, cats."
"Whatever we thought we knew about the Demon Dog of American Literature, we were wrong; Love Me Fierce in Danger is as revelatory as it is compelling, and a masterpiece of literary biography: James Ellroy deserves no less."
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