literature | June 21, 2021

Acclaimed Author James Ellroy Returns With Tiltiltating Tabloid Thriller

James Ellroy is the author behind L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, and some of the most epic crime novels of our time. In Widespread Panic, his latest novel, he weaves a dark story of 1950’s Hollywood, punctuated by secrets, blackmail, extortion, and prowlers—making it what NPR calls “the most Ellroy novel he’s ever written.” 

In Widespread Panic, James Ellroy follows the fictional escapades of LA’s real-life man-about-town Freddy Otash. An infamous police officer and private investigator, Otash became known as a “Hollywood fixer” — working closely with Confidential, the premier gossip rag of its time, to report on the scandals of celebrities and politicians. (He was reportedly the inspiration for Jake Gittes, the detective played by Jack Nicholson in the film Chinatown). NPR writes, “Otash was running the show, and Widespread Panic chronicles his rise and eventual fall as he becomes an informant while following a series of plots that include finding Rock Hudson a fake wife to hide his homosexuality and covering Kennedy’s misdeeds to protect his political career.”


Anyone who’s ever been intrigued by Ellroy’s distinctive brand of noir fiction will delight in this titillating new adventure, which echoes his most iconic work while continuing to stay fresh.

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