James Ellroy the bestselling author of the noir classics L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, and The Cold Six Thousand, and self-proclaimed Luddite, is turning to technology for the first time with the publication of Shakedown, a novella released today by the digital publisher Byliner. In it, Ellroy is as frenetically depraved as ever, minting an antihero who is a cad for the ages.
Meet Freddy Otash: a corrupt cop turned sleaze hustler, extortionist, pimp, and an actual historical figure who made the 1950s magazine Confidential the go-to source for the sins of the rich and famous. In his prime, Freddy raised hell, and in the pages of Shakedown he finds himself stuck in purgatory—literally—waiting for a transfer to heaven. Will he make it there, or will fate keep him down below? Promised redemption if he confesses his past sins and transgressions, Freddy writes a tell-all peopled by Hollywood greats like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and James Dean (to name a few), who are up to all sorts of wrong. Threesomes, foursomes, you name it—anything goes in this licentious world.
Shakedown explodes the postwar America of June and Ward Cleaver, breathing randy new life into the man who whetted our national appetite for sex and scandal. Freddy's lack of scruples—and lack of morality—make today's gossip culture seem almost innocent. What's true and what's fiction? Ellroy's certainly not telling.
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