James Ellroy has established himself at the dark heart of American fiction.
At the age of 61, however, the author of LA Confidential, who admits to a teenage life of profound unhappiness in which he became a drug addict and a peeping Tom, says he has found happiness in the shape of a woman called Erica. "The past few months have been transcendent," he tells Kirsty Young on this morning's Desert Island Discs.
Ellroy's mother was murdered in 1958, an event he says has defined his life and led to his career as an author of books that explore the US underbelly but are shot through with redemption.
'Desert Island Discs' is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this morning at 11.15