Ellroy as a writer has never been afraid to try out new styles. As a reader this generally at first elicits confusion and then joy. It's hard work but worth it.
He's also more into killing off main characters than Martin is in Game Of Thrones. (In one book he killed off the narrator halfway through.)
Both of those thing converge in This Storm. Half the narrative is written in a mix of White Jazz/The Cold Six Thousand style. The other half - pages from Kay Lake's diary are written as a traditional narrative.
The key is though that while the main narrative is reliable, Kay Lake's diary is not. It's somewhere between 60% and 70% true and if you want to follow this story you have to take what Kay writes with a grain of salt until you see it happen in the main narrative.
But, that's OK, because this is Kay's story - and how she views things matters.
It's Ellroy's first attempt at having a woman be the main protagonist. And she's a 22 year old women surrounded by men in the late 30s to early 50s. Of course she's going to rewrite history a bit to make herself seem more important.
It takes a while though to realize this book is about Kay. There are several other protagonists introduced who seem like they will be the main deal.
Then, they are all killed off in the first third of the book.
Kay is fascinating. She lives with a cop, but doesn't fuck him. Instead he gets off on her cuckolding him. And boy does she.
There are two main guys she is fucking - though she fucks roughly five other guys - and one of them is Lt. Bill Parker - who students of history know will eventually become the Chief Parker that Parker Center is named after.
Her main antagonist is Dudley Smith LA cop, in Army intelligence and a closet dope fiend Nazi.
For reasons far too complex to explain here neither can go after the other one directly. So they have to move people into place and make things happen.
All of this is set to the background of a gold heist. And everyone is after the gold.
This takes us from Mexico to Northern California. A particularly interesting character is a gay Japanese man who is in love with Dudley but also in a gay male thrall for Kay. Which way he turns will become the linchpin for the story.
What eventually happens is a cascade of violence and betrayal that will nearly destroy both Kay and Dudley.
All in all a fascinating installment that eventually makes the argument that Nazis and Communists are two sides of the same coin - both of them out to destroy democracy and put tough men into power.
That theory plays true and plays out in ways you wont' expect.
For those of you who don't know what that is it's a woman who gets a guy to pay her money simply by being insulting to him. No touching. No sex. No nudity.
Normally she just does this online but one of her subs - who lives in northern France - was going to be in our area for a day. He promised to buy her 600 euros worth of stuff if she'd meet him in person.
So, she hit me up to be her bodyguard.
Now, I've never been a bodyguard before but figured "fuck it."
I found my summer shades in my old beach bag. I showered but didn't shave. I put on my black leather jacket and practice mean looks in the mirror.
We all agree to meet at this dive bar near my house. The girl and I meet up and wait.
He's like 15 minutes late. When he turns up I stare him down while he apologizes.
The dude is skinny and mousey and clearly nervous.
This makes me stare him down even more.
Now he's from up north and thought it would be warm here. So he didn't put on a coat.
Therefore we sit outside and drink coffee while this guy freezes.
Finally after about an hour she decides she's ok and gives me the signal.
They go off to the mall where he buys her all the stuff she wants.
We make him think we are meeting up when she's done and during the date she says he was "sweet and non invasive."
First off - and I haven't like him since Alias - Bradely Cooper is amazing in the role. You can see him as being just talented enough for a woman to try to save and not strong enough for him to let her.
Now. Lady Ga Ga. Wonderful in the first third of the movie. It was really great to see her as a normal person and not someone in a meat dress or whatever. But there is no chemistry at all on her end. SWSNBN thinks it's because in real life she knows Bradely is gay and can't see him as a realistic romantic partner. Whatever the reason she's just like "eh, he gets drunk" and you never ever see her have an expression of passion for him.
Also they introduce her as a woman who can sing with the Eddie Vedder type rockers and write songs like them, but then the movie turns her into a pop star with dancers and shit and essentially makes her Lady Ga Ga. That's a huge mistake. She should have stayed with what she spends the first third of the movie doing and ended up doing the rock thing better than Bradely Cooper.
Finally in the other versions of the film the suicide/not suicide thing is ambiguous. Here it's a clear suicide that he's somehow pushed into my her manager. And that just doesn't work.
But overall? The movie is far better than I expected. I just wish the entire film had been as good as the start.
So when Sony announced they were going to have the first three Uncharted games as a bundle called The Nathan Drake Collection at a discounted price - 30 euros for all three games - I had to get it.
Spent the last three weeks playing Uncharted 1 - Drake's Fortune.
1. Wow for an old game this is beautiful.
2. The puzzles toward the start of the game are beautiful.
3. So is climbing and jumping.
4. At the start of the game there is a really good balance between puzzles, jumping/climbing and combat.
5. But man does that fall apart towards the end of the game. I made it through 20 of 22 levels and just gave up. Because the game had become "Move from point A to point B and shoot people." That's not why I play an Uncharted game. If I want that I'll play Wolfenstein.
6. Also what the fuck with giving us zombies at the end? Did they not know where this entire story was going?
7. Other than that great fun. I bailed that late into it because I googled and it was just going to be more and more shooting. But for the first 16 levels or so It's great. And it gave me three weeks of fun.