American Tabloid by James Ellroy

By James Ellroy

We're at the back of, and lower than, the scenes of JFK's presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination--in the underworld that connects Miami, la, Chicago, D.C. . . .

Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and numerous unfastened cannons conspire in a covert anarchy . . .

Where the ideal medications, the correct quantity of money, definitely the right homicide, buys a second of a man's loyalty . . .

Where 3 renegade law-enforcement officers--a former L.A. cop and FBI agents--are shaping occasions with the virulence in their greed and hatred, using full-blast shotgun into background. . . .

James Ellroy's trademark nothing-spared rendering of fact, blistering language, and constant narrative speed are right here in electrifying abundance, placed to paintings in a singular as stunning and bold as whatever he's written: a mystery heritage that zeroes in on a time nonetheless shrouded in secrets and techniques and blows it large open.

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Reporters canvassed the opinions of art dealers and museum directors in France, England, and the United States. All gave the same answer. The painting was too famous to ever be sold on the art market for any price. No intelligent thief would take such a risk for a work he could never sell. But what if the thief did not intend to sell the painting? An intriguing answer came from Joseph Reinach, a member of les Amis du Louvre. Paris in 1911 was both the incubator of a radical new art and a collectors’ market for masterworks.

The Louvre encouraged amateur painters, allowing them to copy the masters and store their easels and paint boxes overnight in the numerous nooks and closets recessed in the wall paneling. There was one stipulation: No canvas could be the same size as the original. It was a modest and mostly ineffectual effort to prevent forgery, which was endemic throughout Europe. Collecting had become a favorite sport of American tycoons, and the market for authentic art and artful frauds was reaching extraordinary heights.

A young man, and a German, crazed by love. It was the stuff of myth. In the popular press, the calculated crime was rewritten as a tender love affair. As news of the romance spread around the world, Mona Lisa became a passionate participant in her own disappearance. The Chicago Tribune entertained readers with a whimsical report of her elopement: So Mona Lisa has another lover! … Her portrait has been stolen, carried boldly from the Salon Carré… she's gone. … Now, after four and a half centuries, Leonardo's subtle lady wins another lover, and her tantalizing discretion quite forgot, she flees with her wooer.

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