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Sex

James Ellroy is sitting in a corner booth at the Pacific Dining Car, the 6th Street steak joint, brooding about women. It’s the perfect place for it. The last time L.A. fiction’s Demon Dog, as Ellroy likes to be called, recited wedding vows, he was right here in this windowless cave of a room. On October 4, 1991, he married his second wife, the writer and critic Helen Knode

The Grand Havana Room is good, if you can get past the doorman. The Oak Room at the Plaza is the easiest game in town; just go early in the week, like on a Tuesday night, because later it fills up with tourists and C.P.A.’s from New Jersey.

They murdered a guy in here a couple of days ago," Tony Galeota says.Behind him, 12-foot-high fences topped with spools of barbed wire frame a muddy soccer field. Guards with machine guns man rusty metal towers. In the distance, La Cordillera de San Blas cuts through the Panamanian jungle like a serrated knife.

On the topmost floor of the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, Hugh Hefner keeps leather-bound scrapbooks on rows of glassed-in bookshelves that not only fill his attic-like archive room but also run up and down the narrow surrounding hallways. 

On a February afternoon in 2009, Ryan Venneman, one of only five full-time police officers in tiny Barrett Township, Pa., decided to spend some time hunting for sexual predators online. 

A few months ago, at the Tablao Villa Rosa, a tourist-friendly restaurant in Madrid, dozens of beautifully dressed women from all over the world were gathered around a stage taking cellphone pictures of a male flamenco dancer in tight pants. 

Hunter Moore is trying to screw a 20-year-old woman on my lap. It's after 2 in the morning, we're squashed in a stretch limo with 11 others, stray limbs jumbled onto the vehicle's floor like a pile of sticks. 

On an unseasonably cool August Sunday morning in Topanga Canyon, just north of Malibu, a family of four arrives at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, an all-cage-free, everything-local restaurant that's typical of the neighborhood. This brunch is a welcome respite from the errands and worries that increasingly fill their days. 

A lair is wearing a tight white tank top cut off above the hem to show her midriff. Her black cargo pants graze the top of her combat boots, and her black leather belt is studded with metal chains that drape down at intervals across her hips. 

Frank Rodriguez cannot coach his children's soccer teams. He can't get a job at a major corporation. He can't leave the state without registering with local law enforcement. A married father of four girls, he is a convicted sex offender. Neighbors can find his name and address on a public registry online.

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