Hollywood is not all movies, fame and fortune, its underside is dirty, drugged up and criminal with a capital C. Under the watchful eye of their veteran sergeant, known as the Oracle, the men and women of the LAPD working out of Hollywood Station are the ones on the front line.
The Hollywood Station squad are as different as the streets that they police - Budgie Polk is a 27-year-old firecracker who is begrudgingly teamed with Fausto Gamboa, the oldest, tetchiest patrol officer. Andi McCrea is a single mom, Wesley Drubb a university drop-out desperate
to see some action. Flotsam and Jetsam are two aptly named surfer boys who pine for the petite - but intrepid - Mag Takara. Together they spend their days and nights in the city's underbelly, where a string of seemingly unrelated events lure them to their most startling case yet.
Wambaugh's outstanding new novel, his first in a decade, is not only a return to form but a return to his LAPD roots. Times have sure changed since the 1970s, the setting for some of Wambaugh's best earlier works such as The New Centurions and The Onion Field. Grossly understaffed, the officers of Hollywood Station find themselves writing bogus field interviews with nonexistent white suspects in minority neighborhoods to avoid allegations of racial profiling. Crystal meth rules the streets, and crackheads and glass freaks dressed in costume (Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Darth Vader, Elmo) work the tourist strip, bumming money for their next fix. With an impressive array of police characters, from surfer dude partners "Flotsam" and "Jetsam" to aspiring actor "Hollywood" Nate Weiss and single mother Budgie Polk, Wambaugh creates a realistic microcosm of the modern-day LAPD. Today's crop of crime writers, including Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos, obviously owe a debt to Wambaugh. The master proves that he can still deliver. 5-city author tour.