The Cold Six Thousand : Underworld U.S.A. Series, Book 2
by James Ellroy and Craig Wasson

Overview - The Black Dahlia , The Big Nowhere , L.A. Confidential , White Jazz , American Tabloid ... James Ellroy's high-velocity, best-selling novels have redefined noir for our age, propelling us within inches of the dark realities of America's recent history.  Read more...


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More About The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy; Craig Wasson

The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz, American Tabloid... James Ellroy's high-velocity, best-selling novels have redefined noir for our age, propelling us within inches of the dark realities of America's recent history. Now, in The Cold Six Thousand, his most ambitious and explosive novel yet, he puts the whole of the 1960s under his blistering lens. The result is a work of fierce, epic fiction, a speedball through our most tumultuous time.
It begins in Dallas. November 22, 1963. The heart of the American Dream detonated.

Wayne Tedrow Jr., a young Vegas cop, arrives with a loathsome job to do. He's got $6,000 in cash and no idea that he is about to plunge into the cover-up conspiracy already brewing around Kennedy's assassination, no idea that this will mark the beginning of a hellish five-year ride through the private underbelly of public policy.

Ellroy's furiously paced narrative tracks Tedrow's ride: Dallas back to Vegas, with the Mob and Howard Hughes, south with the Klan and J. Edgar Hoover, shipping out to Vietnam and returning home, the bearer of white powder, plotting new deaths as 1968 approaches ...
Tedrow stands witness, as the icons of an iconic era mingle with cops, killers, hoods, and provocateurs. His story is ground zero in Ellroy's stunning vision: historical confluence as American Nightmare.

The Cold Six Thousand is a masterpiece.

From the Hardcover edition.

  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
  • Date: May 2001

From the book

Chapter 1
Part I
November 22-25, 1963
Wayne Tedrow Jr.
(Dallas, 11/22/63)
They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it.
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.
A Negro shivved a twenty-one dealer. The dealer lost an eye. The Negro booked to Big D. She loved it. She brought him highballs. He omitted details.
The dealer provoked the attack. The council issued the contract-death for ADW Two.
The preflight pep talk. Lieutenant Buddy Fritsch:
"I don't have to tell you what we expect, son. And I don't have to add that your father expects it, too."
The stew played geisha girl. The stew fluffed her beehive.
"What's your name?"
"Wayne Tedrow."
She whooped. "You just have to be Junior!"
He looked through her. He doodled. He yawned.
She fawned. She just loooooved his daddy. He flew with her oodles. She knew he was a Mormon wheel. She'd looove to know more.
Wayne laid out Wayne Senior.
He ran a kitchen-help union. He rigged low pay. He had coin. He had pull. He pushed right-wing tracts. He hobnobbed with fat cats. He knew J. Edgar Hoover.
The pilot hit the intercom. Dallas-on time.
The stew fluffed her hair. "I'll bet you're staying at the Adolphus."
Wayne cinched his seat belt. "What makes you say that?"
"Well, your daddy told me he always stays there."
"I'm staying there. Nobody consulted me, but that's where they've got me booked."
The stew hunkered down. Her skirt slid. Her garter belt gapped.
"Your daddy told me they've got a nice little restaurant right there in the hotel, and, well . . ."
The plane hit rough air. Wayne caught it low. He broke a sweat. He shut his eyes. He saw Wendell Durfee.
The stew touched him. Wayne opened his eyes.
He saw her hickeys. He saw her bad teeth. He smelled her shampoo.
"You were looking a little scared there, Wayne Junior."
"Junior" tore it.
"Leave me alone. I'm not what you want, and I don't cheat on my wife."
1:50 p.m.
They touched down. Wayne got off first. Wayne stamped blood back into his legs.
He walked to the terminal. Schoolgirls blocked the gate. One girl cried. One girl fucked with prayer beads.
He stepped around them. He followed baggage signs. People walked past him. They looked sucker-punched.
Red eyes. Boo-hoo. Women with Kleenex.
Wayne stopped at baggage claim. Kids whizzed by. They shot cap pistols. They laughed.
A man walked up-Joe Redneck-tall and fat. He wore a Stetson. He wore big boots. He wore a mother-of-pearl .45.
"If you're Sergeant Tedrow, I'm Officer Maynard D. Moore of the Dallas Police Department."
They shook hands. Moore chewed tobacco. Moore wore cheap cologne. A woman walked by-boo-hoo-hoo-one big red nose.
Wayne said, "What's wrong?"
Moore smiled. "Some kook shot the President."
Most shops closed early. State flags flew low. Some folks flew rebel flags upright.
Moore drove Wayne in. Moore had a plan: Run by the hotel/get you set in/find us that jigaboo.
John F. Kennedy-dead.
His wife's crush. His stepmom's fixation. JFK got Janice wet. Janice told Wayne Senior. Janice paid. Janice limped. Janice showed off the welts on her thighs.
Dead was dead. He couldn't grab...


"Ellroy rips into American culture like a chainsaw in an abbatoir. . . . Pick it up if you dare; put it down if you can." - Time

"A wild ride. . . . An American political underbelly teeming with conspiracy and crime. . . . So hard-boiled you could chip a tooth on it." - The New York Times Book Review

"A ripping read....the book is pure testosterone." - The Plain Dealer

"A great and terrible book about a great and terrible time in America." - The Village Voice

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