James Ellroy looks at several murders in the Los Angeles area that have had a great impact on his life. He examines the murder of his mother Jean Hilliker who was killed when he was a young boy. He also looks at the famous 'Black Dahlia' murder of Elizabeth Short and the murders of teenager Stephanie Gorman and Lily Burk.
James Ellroy looks at the fiery romance between actress Lana Turner and mobster Johnny Stompanato. Stompanato is later killed by Lana's daughter Cheryl while she was attempting to defend her mother in a fight. The court rules the death to be the result of justifiable homicide. Ellroy also looks looks at Robert Harrison the publisher of Confidential magazine and other famous tabloids.
James Ellory, much to his chagrin, looks at the serial killers of Los Angeles including 1950s mass murderer Stephen Nash, the Hillside Stranglers Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, and modeling photographer turned multiple murderer Bill Bradford.
After World War II, LA was marred by an ongoing feud between the LAPD and organized crime. Ellroy explores the scandal that brought down the entire police department - the unsolved murder of mob princess Brenda Allen Vice.
The madcap misdeeds and misfortune of tinsel town notables is nothing new. Throughout a hundred years of Hollywood heinousness, stars have been strung out, snuffed out, locked up, and lusted over. Crime author James Ellroy explores the dark side of fame.
Clamor! Commotion! Cocaine! Carnage!!! It's the Los Angeles nightclub! These speakeasies have been home to all manner of gangland garroting. From shootouts to shakedowns, James Ellroy recounts the whacked out history of these wicked watering holes.