The First L.A. Quartet Edit

L.A. Quartet

The First L.A. Quartet is a series of crime and historical fiction novels by James Ellroy, set between 1946 and 1958. The individual books in the series are loosely connected - a number of characters are connected and appear in more than one novel, surviving minor characters sometimes go on as protagonists in the next part, and, as the name suggests, all four books take place in Los Angeles.

The four books have certain themes in common - these include murder, love, police work, mysteries, politics, masculinity, corruption, morals and death. The quartet also dramatizes real-life events of 1940's-50's L.A., such as the Bloody Christmas scandal, the Zoot Suit Riots, the Black Dahlia murder and the Battle of Chavez Ravine, as well as featuring prominent people of the time as fictional characters, such as Mickey Cohen, William H. Parker, Jack Dragna and Howard Hughes. According to Ellroy, the main theme of the First L.A. Quartet is "bad men in love with strong women."

The First L.A. Quartet is chronologically followed by the Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy, taking place between 1958 and 1972 across the United States. Ellroy commenced work on a prequel, titled The Second L.A. Quartet, which takes place during World War II, and features many characters from the Underworld Trilogy and the First Quartet as significantly younger people. Ellroy intends to finish the three series as "one novelistic history", comprising 11 books, and taking place between 1941 and 1972.

The First L.A. Quartet is:

  • The Black Dahlia (released in 1987)
  • The Big Nowhere (released in 1988)
  • L.A. Confidential (released in 1990)
  • White Jazz (released in 1992)