There are some of the scenes in Oliver Stone’s JFK where the back story about the mob and Cuba is pieced together that reminds you of the territory that Ellroy is heading into in American Tabloid.
There are numerous characters that are on the extreme end of the spectrum and maybe it was the inability to suppress all of their different demands that meant something dramatic in the 1960s was inevitable.
Those of us not living in the US often think of the 1960s as Kennedy, Johnson, the great society and Vietnam. We tend to forget Cuba and the impact that Castro had. But for those involved with crime Castro was bad news and for politicians talking tough about the Red threat having one on the doorstep was also difficult to swallow.
So although this is heading into a Bay of Pigs history lesson this is a part of the Kennedy story that most people would be least familiar with and that makes the 500 plus pages journey one that is slightly easier to go on with.