Fiction Book of the Month - Perfidia
For our Fiction Book of the Month, James Ellroy returns with a fantastic thriller set in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
Now, I could write here about how much we like Perfidia but you'd expect that. It is our Fiction Book of the Month, after all. It shouldn't come as any surprise that we enjoyed it. Otherwise why would it have been picked in the first place? No, it's a general rule of thumb to assume that we really like anything we decide to promote for an entire month.
So I could quote a bookseller, or a customer, with a similarly positive view. But, again, you'd expect it. Where's the surprise in that? So, what to do? A negative review would be counter-productive (and actually impossible. Honestly, I looked and couldn't really find any that would be worth quoting).
Instead, let's be bold. Let's let you decide. We have an extract of the book, below, which should help you make up your mind. If it helps, Ellroy is fantastic. The Telegraph said "There has never been a writer like James Ellroy" and Perfidia, a thriller set in LA 1941, charged with the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor bombings, sees him at his best.
Anyway, that extract.
I wandered off in a prairie blizzard 85 years ago. The cold rendered me spellbound, then to now. I have outlived the decree and find myself afraid to die. I cannot will cloudbursts the way I once did. I must recollect with yet greater fury.
It was a fever then. It remains a fever now. I will not die as long as
I live this story. I run to Then to buy myself moments Now.
Twenty-three days. Blood libel.
A policeman knocks on a young woman’s door. Murderers’ flags, aswirl.
THE THUNDERBOLT BROADCAST
GERALD L. K. SMITH | K-L-A-N RADIO, LOS ANGELES | BOOTLEG TRANSMITTER / TIJUANA, MEXICO |
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1941
The Jew Control Apparatus mandated this war—and now it’s ours, whether we want it or not. It has been said that no news is good news, but that maxim predates the wondrous invention of radio, with its power to deliver all the news—good and bad—at rocket- ship speed. Regrettably, tonight’s news is all bad, for the Nazis and the Japs are on a ripsnorting rampage—and the war is rapidly heading our undeserved and unwanted way.
Item: Adolf Hitler breached his deal with Red Boss Joseph Stalin in the summer and invaded the vast wasteland of repugnant Red Russia. Hammer-and-sickle armies are currently grinding der Führer’s stalwart soldiers to bratwurst outside Moscow—but the natty Nazis have already bombed Britain to smithereens and have placed half of central Europe under Nordic Nationalist rule. Hitler’s still got the pep to give American ground troops a fair fight—which will assuredly occur at some not-too-far-off point in our great nation’s future. Does it make you apoplectically ambivalent, my friends? We don’t want this war—but in for a penny, in for a pound.
Item: the illustrious Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, is faring poorly in his North African campaign—but don’t count him out. Italians are lovers more than fighters, it has been said—grand opera is much more their style. That is certainly true—but those bel canto–belting bambinos still represent a strategic threat in the lower-European theater. Yes, storm clouds are forming in the east. Storm clouds are breaking to our west, I’m sad to say—in the form of our most presently poised alleged enemies: the Japs.
Are you that much more amply ambivalent, my friends? Like me, you’ve opened your ardent arms to America First. But, Hirohito’s heathen hornets are now heading across the high seas— and I don’t like it one bit.
Item: the State Department just issued a bulletin. Jap convoys are currently headed for Siam, and an invasion is expected momentarily.
Item: civilians are fleeing Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Item: President Franklin “Double-Cross” Rosenfeld has sent a personal message to the Jap Emperor. That message is both entreaty and warning: Desist in your aggressions or run the risk of full-scale American intervention.
Uncle Sam is getting hot. The Hawaiian Islands are our possession and the Pacific gateway to mainland America. The lush tropical atolls that beeline in our direction are now targets for Jap gun sights. This undeserved, unwarranted and unwanted war is heading our way—whether we want it or not.
Item: President Rosenfeld wants to know why Hirohito’s hellions are massing in French Indochina.
Item: Radio Bangkok has issued warnings of a possible Jap sneak attack on Thailand. Jap envoys are conferring with Secretary of State Cordell Hull at this very moment. The Japs are hissing with forked tongues—because they say they want peace, even as Jap Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo lambasts America for our refusal to understand Japanese “ideals” and our continued protests against alleged Japanese pogroms in East Asia and the Pacific.
Yes, my friends—it’s becoming Jewniversally apparent. This Communist-concocted war is heading our way—whether we want it or not.
No sane American desires our participation in a Fight-for-the- Kikes foreign war. No sane American wants to send American boys off to certain peril. No sane American denies that this war cannot be kept off our shores unless we circumvent and interdict it on foreign soil. I’m ripsnortingly right about this, my friends—I’m apple-cheeked with apostasy.
We didn’t start this war. Adolf Hitler and hotsy-totsy Hirohito didn’t start this war, either. The Jew Control apparatchiks cooked up this Red borscht stew and turned friend upon friend, the world over. Are you apoplectically ambivalent, my good friends?
Yes, the war is coming our way, even though we sure as shooting don’t want it. And America never runs from a fight.
Los Angeles, December 6, 1941. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. War fever and race hate grip the city and the internment of Japanese Americans begins. When a Japanese family is found brutally murdered, three men and one woman are summoned.