Killer on the Road Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Killer on the Road

Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s, orphaned Martin Plunkett perfects his skills at burglary and voyeurism (and also has a brush with Manson's "family") before doing a year in prison for breaking and entering. He moves to San Francisco, commits his first double murder there in 1974, and then is off on a spree across the western states, killing roughly 40 people before running afoul of a Wisconsin State Police sergeant named Ross Anderson in early 1979. The sergeant turns out to be another budding serial killer! A sort of love-hate killing competition develops between the two twisted men as FBI serial crimes agent Thomas Dusenberry slowly but steadily tracks them both down. This 1986 novel (also published under the name _Silent Terror_) was Ellroy's fifth and bloodiest tale before he began the stunning LA noir quartet.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

KILLER ON THE ROAD has been first published in 1986. Martin Plunkett is a serial killer. He is clever and has killed throughout the United States over 40 people between the late sixties and 1983. While the local police juridictions are unable to find clues to accuse him, Martin Dusenberry, a FBI agent in charge of the newly created Serial Killer Service of the federal agency, is the only one aware of the existence of a monster responsible for dozens of unsolved murders.

A frightening novel of James Ellroy.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of Killer on the Road

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   scarey (primal ax-wielding fear) Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book The crook is....    -   stalking/killing innocents Crime Thriller    -   Yes Is MAIN CHARACTER an EVIL criminal?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   killer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill    -   Cynical or arrogant


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Midwest    -   West    -   California City?    -   Yes City:    -   Los Angeles    -   Dirty, dangerous (like New York)    -   dangerous Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of sex    -   descript. of male nudity    -   homosexuals doing their thing Unusual forms of death    -   asphyxiation    -   diced    -   decapitated    -   perforation--bullets    -   perforation--swords/knives    -   blunt clubbing (like seals) Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog    -   little dialog

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James Ellroy Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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