James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. When Ellroy was 10, his mother, Geneva Hilliker Ellroy left her home in El Monte, California on an errand. The next day she was found strangled. James Ellroy had been away with his mother's estranged husband for the weekend and faced the news when he returned home. Geneva Ellroy's murderer was never found, but her death has long haunted her son. James Ellroy spent his teen and young adult years as an alcoholic, petty burglar, and derelict. Later, with his addiction to paperback crime novels and his obsession with his mother's murder, Ellroy began to explore his past.

Nearly 40 years after the murder, Ellroy returned to Los Angeles to reinvestigate the crime with the help of detective Bill Stoner for 15 months. While working on the case, he learned modern methods of policework and technology. He once said that the difference between a killer and a normal human is that killers have "a profound lack of empathy that manifests itself in a deep-seated aggressive selfishness. Killers objectify their victims and are incapable of viewing them with common decent empathy."

Generally, Ellroy's novels feature the corruption of the LAPD and the dark side of politicians and stars in the 1940's and 1950's. Ellroy's written works have received numerous literary awards and the film adaptation of his novel L.A. Confidential won two Oscars. Ellroy's stories regularly appear in GQ magazine, narrated by his character Danny Getchel. Getchel was the editor-in-chief and head writer of a rag Hush-Hush and tells the stories from a hospital bed in an AIDS ward. Presently, James Ellroy lives with his wife in Kansas.

Ellroy's fiction and non-fiction novels include:

Ellroy's work is featured among that of others in:
My personal favorite of Ellroy's is The Black Dahlia. The entire story was very intriguing. However, what I liked most about the book was how the main character's relationships with his wife and best friend deteriorate over his obsession with the murder of a beautiful woman and the woman herself, whom he never met while she was still alive. In the book, hardly any of the people are entirely bad or good, which made me empathize with almost every character and doubt their innocence.

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