• The Big Nowhere

  • By: James Ellroy
  • Narrated by: Jason Culp
  • Length: 16 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (423 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles, 1950. Red crosscurrents: the commie scare and a string of brutal mutilation killings. Gangland intrigue and Hollywood sleaze. Three cops caught in a hellish web of ambition, perversion, and deceit.

Danny Upshaw is a sheriff's deputy stuck with a bunch of snuffs nobody cares about; they're his chance to make his name as a cop...and to sate his darkest curiosities. Mal Considine is DA's bureau brass. He's climbing on the Red Scare bandwagon to advance his career and to gain custody of his adopted son, a child he saved from the horror of postwar Europe. Buzz Meeks - bagman, ex-narco goon, and pimp for Howard Hughes - is fighting communism for the money. All three men have purchased tickets to a nightmare.

©1988 James Ellroy (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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What listeners say about The Big Nowhere

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Best of the LA Quartet

This was the best of Elliot's LA Quartet IMO, superbly wrought and emotional in its tragic conclusion

5 people found this helpful

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An underrated classic.

Just the right combination of booze, babes, and bullets to keep any hardcore detective fiction fan happy. Not for the faint of heart or for those easily offended by 1950's racism, sexism, or homophobia.

4 people found this helpful

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ALL you want out of LA Noir.

“It all came down to money - the great equalizer and common denominator.”
― James Ellroy, The Big Nowhere

Probably 4.5 stars. I'm leaving room, saving stars, minding the gap, because I KNOW this isn't Elroy's best. Still, it is a novel that if written by any other living crime writer it might be considered their masterpiece and this is only 2nd shelf Ellroy. Chew on that. This is the 2nd book in Ellroy's LA Quartet Series (Starts with The Black Dahlia and includes this, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz). It really has all you want out of LA Noir. Hollywood, homosexuals, drugs, jazz, sex, the Mob, crooked cops, etc. The plot is near perfect and the characters are BETTER than the plot, in my book.

James Ellroy does for crime thrillers what John le Carré does for spy thrillers. They both have made their own corner of genre fiction literary. Both will be read in 400 years as future academics and fans try to tease out how exactly how f'ed-up the 20th century really was.

20 people found this helpful

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Red Chasing, Rogue Cops, Hollywood, and a Killer

Once it starts to click, it doesn't let up. My Favorite of the LA quartet.

2 people found this helpful

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Wrong narrator. Good book

Solid tough Ellroy pulp. I love see different sides of characters I've seen in his other books.

Culp missed the tough pulp cadence of Ellroy. He was just okay.

1 person found this helpful

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Dark and sleazy side of 1950 Los Angeles

Ellroy's second book in the L A quartet is dark, mean, ugly, sleazy, and gripping. It is hard to read because of its complete lack of political correctness. The attitudes toward the gay community, and people of color are hard to take. In 2019 it is shocking to read. However, it feels true to the time and the characters.

The crime is horrific. The city is presented at its worst. This is not the 1950s as presented by Ozzy & Harriet. This is not the "good old days" described by my elders. Ellroy's books are deeply cynical and a bit angry. I feel as though he has punched me in the gut after I finish his books. And, although I am in no way a cynical person, I am also not naive. I know that this side of the world exists and I find Ellroy's descriptions of the seedy side of the street gripping and thrilling. Unputdownable.

1 person found this helpful

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Crazy, demented and riveting

Ellroy's capacity to insert his readers into the fevered thoughts of The Obsessed should be regulated by the FDA! Do not operate heavy machine when using. In case of erections, seek immediate psychiatric assistance!

1 person found this helpful

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I Wanted To Love It 🤷‍♂️

This book was recommended as the perfect novel. I am very disappointed. Every book is a very personal experience so take what I say with a grain of salt. The story and characters were subpar in my opinion. If I met anyone of these characters I would have nothing but distain for them. Boomer brainrot, sorry not sorry.

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James Elroy does it again.

James Elroy does it again with another gritty and compelling story. But what really locks you in is the incredible narration by Jason Culp. Seriously, Culp is incredible...

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It starts out good and ends good

This book started out good and ended good but as I got towards the middle of the book I started to lose track of all the names and characters. There's at least 30 characters and 3 of them are main characters, you almost need to pull up this books fandom page as a reference to remember who all the characters are. If you want a book to casually listen too it might not be the book for you unless you are already a big Ellroy fan but if you are new to his work you might want to try Ellroy's earlier books like Brown's Requiem or The Black Dahlia. The Big Nowhere is #2 in a quartet of books and it leads into L.A. Confidential #3, Black Dahlia is #1 and White Jazz is #4 so would recommend reading them in order If you are interested in this book. Overall I give this book a 3.5