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The Cold Six Thousand Audiobook, by James Ellroy Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James Ellroy Narrator: Craig Wasson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Underworld USA Trilogy Release Date: May 2001 ISBN: 9780739300411
3.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 53.86 out of 5 3.86 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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.


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Quotes & Awards

  • 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

Listener Reviews

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  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zachary | 2/16/2014

    " I could not get into this book, which disappointed me because I love the movie of LA Confidential and took a chance with this book by Ellroy. His prose is really choppy, which I realize is probably intentional, but it just wasn't for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/4/2014

    " I think it's impossible to read or watch the news the same way after experiencing the world through Ellroy's dirty literary prism, and "The Cold 6000" is no exception. It's all fiction of course but he goes through painstaking historical research (he actually has a team of researchers) before he writes, so you are always left to wonder. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 2/2/2014

    " I probably should have read the first book in the series but I don't think it would have made a difference. Ellroy's prose is so simple that it is funny, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 2/2/2014

    " Yah, this one gets 5 stars too. I loved American Tabloid - never read anything like it, and so I'd give AT 6 stars if I could. I've had the hardcover of this one for years, and had it half-finished before I walked away. Went with the audiobook version instead and plowed right through it. So yes, five stars, but I feel the need to take a verrry long shower to try and get this book off of me. With perhaps the tiny exception of RFK, there are NO redeemable characters in this book. Everyone is a scumbag. There are high-level scumbags who fall in with low-level scumbags. And the scumbag alliances that are struck are characterized by one scumbag trying to out-scumbag the other scumbag. And just when Ellroy has manipulated you into sympathizing with one of the three main characters, because he at least believes in something other than money, that character ends up orchestrating a gay-tryst shakedown involving a prominent civil rights leader. The arcs of each of the three protagonists are fascinating, and the writer's style annoys less with a skilled narrator doing the reading, in my opinion. I've started worrying plot holes now that I'm finished, and I felt like the central cataclysmic events happened rather bloodlessly (bloodlessly being relative in an Ellroy book). The RFK assassination seemed almost wedged in, especially in the wake of MLK, Jr. Obviously, I know the historical timeline, but I'm not sure that Ellroy needed to cover both events. On the other hand, RFK was Ward Littel's raison d'etre, so in some ways, Ellroy HAD to include it. So while I do have quibbles, the style, the characterizations, the grittiness, the audacity - all of those things combine to make this another winner for Ellroy. Now on to 'Blood's A Rover'. For those of you who listened to the audio version of The Cold Six Thousand, Craig Wasson does the narration on Bloods A Rover as well. However, he pronounces names differently - 'Carlos MarCHello' as opposed to 'Carlos MarSello' or 'Ward Little' as opposed to 'Ward Lit-TELL'. In addition, he uses different voices for characters that have carried over from the prior book. It's a little bit distracting. Thankfully, his fey, sinister voice for J. Edgar Hoover remains intact. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry | 1/30/2014

    " Probably the most brutal -- and one of the best -- books I've ever read. Not an easy read, but a sweeping story of crime, corruption and -- most fascinating -- sin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 1/24/2014

    " A huge, sprawling, repetitive, ridiculously ambitious, messy, brilliant shotgun blast of a novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ms. | 1/17/2014

    " first of james ellroy's epic trilogy. americana/crime/history/drugs/sex/politics. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Al | 1/13/2014

    " Liked the writing. Up to a point. Then the rhythm became too repetitive. I read a sentence. I read another sentence. I grew weary. I had to stop. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 10/13/2013

    " A further evolution in noir history. An excellent story, but on the sentence level and choices of words and phrase level, in unsurpassed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 6/12/2013

    " A typical Ellroy potboiler, make sure to read American Tabloid first. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Old-Barbarossa | 5/23/2013

    " The most noir of noir. Nasty, brutish, complex. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 David | 11/6/2012

    " I loved the first book in this series, "American Tabloid." For the second book of his crime trilogy, Ellroy lost me. His writing style has gone quite terse. It just wore on me and I couldn't finish it, whereas I couldn't put down American Tabloid. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karl | 10/17/2012

    " The Cold Six Thousand: A Novel by James Ellroy (2002) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Akeiisa | 8/27/2012

    " This first part of the book feels like a rehash of American Tabloid. Once it gets past the JFK assassination, it gets a bit more interesting. Not as satisfying a read as American Tabloid. It was too long and made too many shifts between perspectives to really hold my interest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 6/1/2012

    " everyone here is so tough and hip that I feel like I can hardly measure up. it's a violent, confusing (though probably because I hadn't read the other books in the series), drug-riddled car wreck of a book, and it's hard to look away "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jubei | 4/5/2012

    " Continues where American Tabloid left off - unfortunately, this novel isn't quite as riveting as American Tabloid. Coming off the JFK assassination, this novel feels rather anti-climactic. While not the best Ellroy I've read, it is still an entertaining yarn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elise | 5/15/2011

    " So far I am loving this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 3/29/2011

    " The second book in a trilogy. I highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 2/1/2011

    " This is the second book of the trilogy. In my opinion, James Ellroy is one of the best American fiction writers of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Riccardo | 11/28/2010

    " Da grande voglio diventare uguale uguale a Pete Bondurant. A parte l'infarto. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 11/21/2010

    " I really enjoyed this. Took a few pages to get the rhythm but the style works.
    Covers all the big events from Cuba on. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bradley | 11/14/2010

    " Underworld USA volume two is the ultimate in rapid-fire writing, the best book of the series. Sentences rarely exceed five words, the plotting so dense you need garden shears, the action unstoppable. Pete B holds on, Ward goes south, and Wayne can't stop watching. Ellroy's crowning achievement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 11/11/2010

    " just as good as the first one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harold | 11/3/2010

    " Second part of the "underworld USA" trilogy. Read this a number of years ago, but had to give it another go to refresh my memory before I started part three ("Blood's a Rover"). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 8/4/2010

    " This is the second installment of Ellroy's latest trilogy. It is at times confusing and there are many characters to follow but I enjoyed it. I'll probably reread it before starting Blood's a Rover (the third in the series). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 7/27/2010

    " Loved the plot, but man, that telegraphic prose is getting on my nerves. "He was frazzled. Fried. Frappeed. He friended me on myspace."

    I read that Ellroy was using this style to echo the frenzied, frenetic pace of the late '60s, but at times he sounds like a bad beat poet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 7/24/2010

    " Book two of Ellroy's America trilogy. Explores at length Howard Hughes, the Vietnam-Heroin connection, and the King and Kennedy assassinations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stan | 7/20/2010

    " Ellroy: the staccato rhythm of the American underbelly as only he can do it. You either like him or you don't. I do. "

About the Author

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His LA Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international bestsellers. American Tabloid was Time’s Novel of the Year for 1995, and his memoir My Dark Places was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. He lives on the California coast.

About the Narrator

Craig Wasson is an actor and audiobook narrator. His most notable film appearance was in the 1984 film, Body Double. Also a prolific reader of audio books, he narrated Stephen King’s novel, 11/22/63, as well as numerous books by James Ellroy and John Grisham.