Killer on the Road

crime fiction, Novel by James Ellroy


Killer on the Road is a crime novel by James Ellroy. First published in 1986, it is a non-series book between the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy and the L.A. Quartet. It was first released by Avon as a mass-market paperback original under the title Silent Terror. But the title intended by Ellroy is Killer on the Road, and it has been republished in the U.S. under this title—as a mass-market paperback in 1990 and as a trade paperback in 1999.
After the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy, written in the third person, Killer on the Road returns to the first-person narrative style of Ellroy's first two novels. For the first time in Ellroy's career, however, the story is written from a criminal's point of view. The basic premise—a serial killer who uses a large van as a mobile killing room in which he murders hitchhikers—was apparently inspired by the case of Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris. As revealed in Ellroy's autobiography My Dark Places, several elements of the main character's young adult life were lifted directly from Ellroy's own crimes as a juvenile.

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