American writer James Ellroy is a provocateur who likes to play with language, and to use his words to move into the seediest streets he can find, in his imagined Los Angeles. He partly does this to reimagine violent stories from his own life, including the murder of his mother (which he revisited in his memoirs). His latest novel, This Storm is a prequel to his acclaimed LA Quartet, and part of a whole suite of novels featuring the same characters following directly on from Perfidia.

Rodney Taveira from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is undertaking a major research project on Ellroy’s life and work, and so was able to place This Storm into context, as well as assess it in its own right.