“A noirish romp through the sewage of 1950s Hollywood sleaze. . . . Entertainingly hop-headed. . . . The author [is] operating at maximum efficiency, mainlining a primo blend of over-the-top alliteration and down-in-the-gutter scandal. . . . A delirious thrill ride through the tabloid underbelly of Tinseltown. Relentlessly rabid, for those with a taste for the seamier.”


Just finished Widespread Panic by James Ellroy. Audio book version.
I love James Ellroy though I will admit he’s only for certain tastes. He is the King of L.A. Noir, and his writings live for the 40’s to the 60’ s in our history
This latest book is based on Freddie Otash, the former LA cop who worked with Confidential Magazine that made it the gossip magazine of its era.

The fans loved to read it, and the stars prayed and paid not to be in it.
In this story just about every star from the 50’s is named in some sort of scandal and Fred is either helping them bury the story, or extorting them for more info. He is the man that makes the magazine go.
From JFK to Rock Hudson to James Dean to Brando they are all here, fictionalized I hope, and you can’t wait to turn the page to see who’s name will come up next.
There are many subplots, especially when Fred becomes a stool pigeon for the cops.Even the infamous Caryl Chessman is here in his final days.

This might be his best novel since LA Confidential. It’s never boring, and the language is old time tough to the point.
Like I said at the beginning, this novel isn’t for everyone. It’s brutal in its portrayal of movie stars that will probably be amongst your favorites. Just remember, it’s a novel, not a history book. I hope.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 23rd August 2021

More Reviews By
Richard Franco