James Ellroy with his new novel, Perfidia.
THE FILM THAT'S ACTUALLY A MASTER CLASS ON MEN'S DESIRES
"David Fincher's Zodiac is a luminous work of art. It dissects male obsession very adroitly. It shows it to be this persistent, niggling, shitty existential state of affairs that undermines your life and rarely produces anything that's worth a shit."
ARCHITECTURE ADMIRED FROM A DISTANCE
"I like the [Rudolph] Schindler and [Richard] [Neutra](http://www.neutra.org/) pads that I've seen in Silver Lake and up around Griffith Park. They're the wrong scale for me, but they're sleek and they're handsome and they're utilitarian."
LITERARY INSPIRATION FROM TV'S SILVER AGE
"I appreciate a good episode of Dragnet, the 1951-to-1959 TV show. [Dragnet creator] Jack Webb's humorlessness—although he was a funny, joking guy in reality—is classic. I took many liberties in Perfidia with the historical record, but the idea of making [the] Jack Webb [character] a cop groupie and flunky way back in the Pearl Harbor days was irresistible."
"I go to the Pacific Dining Car, which is a 24-hour elegant steak joint in downtown L.A. I met Helen [Knode] there. We got married there. We had our divorce party there. I do interviews there. I've been there a million times. There's this one particular room that I like to hole up in, which is dark and contained."
POP MUSIC HE CAN TOLERATE
"A couple of songs that come to mind: 'I Only Want to Be With You' by Dusty Springfield [pictured, above]. 'You're the One' by the Vogues. I like a good baby-I'm-gonna-make-you-mine song from the early 1960s. If I have to listen to rock and roll, I can stomach that."
THE YOUNGER COMPETITION
"I like Jo Nesb's The Snowman. I did an event with him here in L.A. about three years ago. [Nesb's series of Harry Hole novels, including The Snowman] is the silliest shit on God's green earth—you know, eyeball-gouging, corpse-fucking, entrail-eating, poetry-spouting, rock-and-roll-playing serial killers. And there's one after another after another after another in his books, and they all directly engage his detective hero."
"I'm in my bedroom now, and there's a huge portrait of Beethoven on the opposite wall. It's the blown-up poster from A Clockwork Orange—the one that Malcolm McDowell had on his bedroom wall [pictured, below]. I didn't dig the movie, but I remember coming away with 'That's the greatest Beethoven poster I've ever seen!' This fucker is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, and he's scowling at me and urging me to work."
HIGH PRAISE FOR LOWBROW ART
"I like a good oil painting of a baying hound on the moors and a woman in a tweed skirt and a cape and shit like that. There's a British woman—more will be revealed on this—that I'm rather fixated on, and the idea that maybe she and I could be on the moors with a baying hound . . . If I were to tell her this, she'd laugh in my face."
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