Knode, Helen 1957-

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KNODE, Helen 1957-


Born 1957, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; immigrated to United States; married James Ellroy (a novelist).


Home—Northern California. Office—c/o Author Correspondence, Harcourt, Inc., 15 East 26th St., New York, NY 10003-4793.


Journalist and novelist. L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles, CA, film critic, 1985-91. Lecturer on film criticism at colleges.


The Ticket Out, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2003.


Helen Knode brings her experience as a film critic to bear on her debut novel, The Ticket Out. Knode's heroine, Ann Whitehead, is a jaded critic who balks at her editor's suggestions that she pander to the industry. When a young, aspiring screenwriter is found stabbed to death in Ann's bathtub, Ann sees the murder as a way to branch out into investigative journalism. The Ticket Out describes Ann's explorations of not one but several murders in the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, where powerful executives take advantage of ambitious women who want entrée into the business.

A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that the milieu Knode creates in her novel is "a violent and soiled Hollywood that Raymond Chandler would appreciate." The same critic felt that the book reveals "a promising start" for Knode as a novelist. In Book, Stephanie Foote praised The Ticket Out as "part noir lament, part witty liberal rant." A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the work "a juicy portrait of contemporary L.A." in which "Knode's clever, sophisticated plotting packs a punch." Joanne Wilkinson in Booklist concluded that The Ticket Out is a "very entertaining novel with a busy plot and attitude to spare."

In an interview on the Harcourt Books Web site, Knode said she was happy working as a journalist until her husband, author James Ellroy, encouraged her to write a novel. She said that Ellroy "runs around telling everybody that they should write novels if they want to. He says writing novels is a blast, and everything that goes on the page is absolutely yours. That was the first time it occurred to me to write a novel. Now I hope I never do anything else."



Book, January-February, 2003, Stephanie Foote, review of The Ticket Out, p. 77.

Booklist, December 1, 2002, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Ticket Out, p. 649.

Charlotte Observer, January 16, 2003, Salem Macknee, "Knode's 'The Ticket Out' Quickly Hooks Readers with Its Fresh Style."

Entertainment Weekly, February 14, 2003, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of The Ticket Out, p. 76.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2002, review of The Ticket Out, p. 1497.

Library Journal, November 15, 2002, Susan Clifford Braun, review of The Ticket Out, p. 101.

Publishers Weekly, December 16, 2002, review of The Ticket Out, p. 45.


Harcourt Books, (May 19, 2003), interview with Knode.*