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Marginalia: James Ellroy On 'Widespread Panic'

Marion Ettinger

Freddy Otash is in Purgatory. Literally… literarily. In James Ellroy’s novel, Widespread Panic, the corrupt cop turned sleazy private eye is in Purgatory expiating his sins when he is offered a fast-track to Heaven. All he has to do is write a tell-all.

A fictional account based on real characters—Ellroy actually met Otash in real life—Widespread Panic is a wild ride through 1950 Hollyweird. I recently spoke with Ellroy about Otash, his novel, and about films adapted from his books. [spoiler: he doesn’t like any of them].

Here’s our conversation.

Widespread Panic by James Ellroy was published by Knopf.

Marginalia was produced at KMUW Wichita. If you like this podcast, please consider leaving a rating or review on Apple Podcasts.

Engineers: Mark Statzer and Torin Andersen
Editor: Lu Anne Stephens
Producer: Haley Crowson

Follow Beth Golay on Twitter @BethGolay.

Beth Golay is KMUW's Director of Marketing and Digital Content. She is the host of the KMUW podcast Marginalia and co-host with Suzanne Perez of the Books & Whatnot podcast. You can find her on Wichita Transit in conversation with other riders for En Route, a monthly segment on KMUW's weekly news program The Range.