Love Me Fierce in Danger: The Life of James Ellroy

Anthony Cummins at Literary Review:

The American crime writer James Ellroy, born Lee Earle Ellroy, chose his pen name because it was ‘simple, concise and dignified – things I am not’, a statement perhaps underscored by another name he likes being called, ‘Demon Dog’. We learn from Steven Powell’s sober new biography that an overseas publisher who wanted to translate Ellroy’s work (‘an almost unendurable wordstorm of perversity and gore,’ according to one critic) found that translators, deterred by his difficult language and right-wing sympathies, refused to do it.

Ellroy started to read crime fiction as a boy in 1950s Los Angeles when his estranged father gave him Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer books to read while looking after him at weekends. His youth was a troubled one: drink, drugs, jail. In his thirties, he began writing a novel so as not to be bested by a friend who told him he was writing one himself.

more here.