Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blood on the Moon, by James Ellroy

(hb; 1984: Book One of the L.A. Noir trilogy)

From the inside flap:

“Twenty random killings of women remain unconnected in police files. But Det. Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins sees a pattern. In a shattering climax, cold, icy intelligence and white-heated madness are pitted against each other...”


Lloyd Hopkins, a womanizing, high-strung supercop who's turned his traumas into an unhinged and noble quest to “protect innocence,” stumbles onto the bloody work of a rhyme-minded mass murderer. The victims are almost always women; the killings are definitely sexual, reflecting, in a warped doppelgänger-ish way, Lloyd's obsessive notions about -- you guessed it -- women.

Racism, sacrifice, murder, redemption, rape and bad poetry abound here, theme- and otherwise. This politically-incorrect novel is excellent, memorable and often coarse. Author Ellroy isn't trying to sell us prettiness; he's showing us blunt, surly veracities.

Followed by Because the Night.

A film version of Blood on the Moon, retitled Cop, was released stateside in March 1988.

James Woods played Lloyd Hopkins. Lesley Ann Warren played Kathleen McCarthy. Charles Durning played Arthur “Dutch” Peltz. Charles Haid played Delbert “Whitey” Haines.

James B. Harris scripted and directed the film.

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