Ellroy confidential

Ellroy confidential
James Ellroy: ‘I can be intemperate, but by the rage to create great art I’ve calmed down’’ Picture: Maura Hickey

James Ellroy’s novels of LA underworld life are taut and two-fisted, but in person the author is a more genial proposition than his bullish public image suggests.

On a winter’s morning in Dublin, James Ellroy, arguably the greatest living American crime writer, folds his casually-attired 6’3” frame into a slouch seat in the Brooks Hotel restaurant, and orders a scone and a cup of coffee.

He has steely blue eyes, and speaks loudly and precisely in a declamatory tone. He also exhibits deference and good manners, at odds with his abrasive public persona (four years ago, for example, he walked out of...

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