Surprise! You Have Strep!
Some people say everything happens for a reason, and though I don't believe them, it is fun to pretend that this might be true; so the reason I got strep throat and spent Saturday in a delirious fever state and could not attend the big surprise party that night (we were part of the "plan" to execute the surprise, and perhaps one of the reasons I got strep is that I hate surprise parties-- they are stressful and I don't like keeping secrets, and what is the ultimate goal? to give the recipient a heart attack?) is because this was a fitting way to finish reading James Ellroy's trilogy of alternate history that he began with American Tabloid (the JFK assassination) and finished with Blood's A Rover . . . so in my strep-addled state-- which mirrored Dwight Holly and Don Crutchfield's mania, all of us coming in and out of consciousness, I read several hundred pages of document inserts, obtuse diaries, rogue cops, RED agents, cover-ups, cut-outs, torture, black bagging, Haitian voodoo, men with machetes and wings, emerald worship, an undercover cop with the Bent, J. Edgar Hoover's paranoia, homosexuality and racism, Tricky Dick Nixon's abrasiveness, Sonny Liston doing morphine suppositories, Tiger Kab, Klan Kamps, Black militant groups pushing heroin and knife fighting and shooting children, a peeper "detective" biting the head off a rat to break a voodoo curse, Trujillo vs. Papa Doc, fruit squeezes, right wing strong-arming, left wing radicalization, Redd Foxx snorting coke, document heists, betrayal, backstabbing, perversion, hate tracts, money laundering, voodoo porn, and, of course, loads of conspiracy . . . a fitting end to this for both Ellroy and me; it is a good read despite the conceit of the diaries, I give it four "perfect kidney shots" out of five.