James Ellroy's Playboy extravaganza
Novelist, memoirist and alpha-dog crime writer James Ellroy has a new four-part serial appearing in Playboy, starting with the April issue. Scott Timberg spent time with the author as he shot an accompanying video for Playboy in Hancock Park, "stomping across that manicured lawn, sporting a Hawaiian shirt and golfer's cap," staring into windows as he did as a teen.
The serial, titled "The Hilliker Curse" (after his mother's maiden name), traces his romantic compulsions.
Timberg described the style as a "mix of hyped-up prose and rapid storytelling that readers expect from Ellroy's novels, blended with a reflective quality he's rarely shown in the past." Ellroy calls it "a spiritual document" and continues:
I'm made for obsessiveness. I'm built for it. I'm big and skinny, and I run at a high rev. I love to be alone most of the time. I'm emotionally hungry, I'm horny, I have a profound conscience.... Real guys love God, Beethoven and women.
"The Hilliker Curse" also sends up a flare to Ellroy fans that he's back; many have been waiting since 2001's "Cold Six Thousand" for a sequel. That novel, "Blood's a Rover," concludes the trilogy that began with "American Tabloid." It'll hit stores — all 656 pages of it — in September.
— Carolyn Kellogg
Photos: James Ellroy / Paul Fenton ZUMA KPA; the June 1956 cover Playboy magazine / courtesy of Magazineshoponline.com