L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times

John Gilmore

Gilmore follows a mad, tumultuous landscape without remorse or pity, the high and low life of L.A. true crime. A relentless panorama of sex, violence and death in five raw chronicles of SoCal sickness:
  • Porn legend John Holmes and untouchable Hollywood crime and drug impresario Eddie Nash—the unvarnished story of the sex-and-coke-laced Wonderland murders
  • Hollywood's fallen angel Barbara Payton—hell-bent on descending from movie star sexpot to the gutters and dumpsters of real-life Tinsel Town
  • "King of Western Swing" and early 50s TV singing cowboy phenom, Spade Cooley, walks the line of nightmare, depravity and murder
  • From gorgeous Hollywood hooker to San Quentin's gas chamber—the infamous Ice Blonde murderess Barbara Graham
  • "Highway Hitchhike-Killer Billy Cook" unleashing his cold-blooded hate for the human race
This is the capstone to Gilmore's celebrated body of noir work: a blood-and-semen-soaked trail of all-night diners, nightclubs and cheap motels.
trade paperback, 344 pages, illustrated
ISBN-10: 1878923161
ISBN-13: 978-1878923165


John Gilmore is one of America's natural-born gifts to literature. His books aren't just wicked and inspiring by-products of genius: they're miracles. I don't know how he keeps telling the truth of things when so much of our mental landscape is shrouded in darkness and stupidity. I adore him. He's the best ever.
— Gary Indiana 
L.A. Despair goes beyond hard-boiled, beyond the mundane horror of true-crime reportage, to recreate the vile, gutter reality glossed over by so many. Here is murder in all its stench and filth, with human animals gleefully rutting in the gore. If you're seeking a patina of respectability or entertainment, or redemption of any sort, Gilmore is not your man.
— Stephen Lemons, New Times 

About John Gilmore

Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as "the quintessential L.A. noir writer," John Gilmore has been acclaimed internationally for his hard-boiled true crime books, his Hollywood memoirs and his biting, literary fiction. He is considered one of today's most controversial American authors, with a following that spans the globe from Tokyo, Paris and London, to his native Hollywood where he was friends with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He traveled the road to fame in many guises before turning to literature: kid magician, painter, poet, actor in films, TV, and the New York stage, then screen-writer, B-movie director and a "bang 'em out alive," nine-day pulp novelist.