As long as I’m on the subject of the few books I never finished, a few words about James Ellroy’s The Cold Six Thousand, published in 2001 as the sequel to American Tabloid. I tried to read it a few years ago, and have never since seen a book quite like it. Here’s an excerpt:
The Casino Operators Council flew him. They supplied first-class fare. They tapped their slush fund. They greased him. They fed him six cold.
Nobody said it:
Kill that coon. Do it good. Take our hit fee.
The flight ran smooth. A stew served drinks. She saw his gun. She played up. She asked dumb questions.
He said he worked Vegas PD. He ran the intel squad. He built files and logged information.
She loved it. She swooned.
“Hon, what you doin’ in Dallas?”
He told her.
This isn’t just hard-boiled; it’s granite pressurized to the density of neutronium. While the staccato style is kind of fun in the early going, it just keeps going. And going. On and on. For 700 pages. Dave got through 200 of them. Dave gave up.
Even though I’m interested in the milieu of both American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand — corruption and intrigue surrounding the Kennedy assassination — the style of the second book struck me as an endless affectation, and I could not keep turning the pages.
That said, I may attempt it again one of these days; it’s one of those books that has since done pretty well with the critics.
Those are my unfinished books. Anybody else have an example?