James Ellroy

James Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer, known for his unique style of noir or 'hard-boiled' detective fiction. His novels often delve into the underbelly of Los Angeles, featuring complex, morally ambiguous characters. He is best known for his L.A. Quartet series, which includes the novels 'The Black Dahlia,' 'The Big Nowhere,' 'L.A. Confidential,' and 'White Jazz.' Ellroy's writing is characterized by its dark themes, intricate plots, and historical authenticity.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Black Dahlia

    This noir crime novel is set in 1940s Los Angeles and follows two LAPD officers, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, as they investigate the brutal murder of a young woman, dubbed the Black Dahlia by the press. As they delve deeper into the gruesome crime, they are drawn into a dark world of corruption, obsession, and madness. The case becomes personal for both men, testing their friendship and sanity, and leading them down a path of self-destruction.

    The 1507th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. American Tabloid

    "American Tabloid" is a gritty crime novel that delves into the underbelly of American society during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The narrative follows three rogue law enforcement officers involved in various illicit activities, including drug trafficking, union corruption, and political conspiracies. The story intertwines with real historical events leading up to the JFK assassination, suggesting a sinister link between organized crime, the CIA, and the highest levels of government.

    The 1722nd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Big Nowhere

    "The Big Nowhere" is a gripping crime novel set in 1950s Los Angeles, where three protagonists find themselves entangled in a web of corruption, violence, and deceit. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Hollywood and the police force, their lives become intertwined in a dangerous investigation involving murder, organized crime, and political scandal. With a relentless pace and intricate plot twists, the book explores themes of loyalty, ambition, and the blurred lines between good and evil in a city where everyone has something to hide.

    The 1845th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. L.A. Confidential

    Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the novel follows three LAPD officers with different personalities and methods, who find themselves entwined in a web of corruption, sex, and murder. As they navigate the city's seedy underbelly, each officer faces his own moral dilemmas and personal demons, all while trying to solve a series of gruesome murders. The narrative explores themes of crime, power, and the thin line between right and wrong in a noir-style setting.

    The 2321st Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. White Jazz

    "White Jazz" by James Ellroy is a gritty crime novel set in 1950s Los Angeles, following the life of corrupt police officer Dave Klein. As he navigates the treacherous world of organized crime, racial tensions, and personal demons, Klein becomes entangled in a web of deceit and violence that threatens to consume him. With its dark and atmospheric prose, this gripping tale explores the blurred lines between law and corruption, ultimately questioning the nature of justice in a city consumed by power and greed.

    The 5918th Greatest Book of All Time