For a cop, a night on the job means killing time and trying not to get killed. If you're a cop in Hollywood Division, it also means dealing with the most overwrought, desperate, and deluded criminals anywhere. When you're patrolling Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, neither a good reputation nor the lessons of scandals past will help you keep your cool, your sanity, or your life when things heat up.The robbery of a Hollywood jewelry store, complete with masks and a hand grenade, quickly connects to a Russian nightclub, an undercover operation gone bloodily wrong, and a cluelessly ambitious pair of tweakers.
Putting the pieces together are the sergeant they call the Oracle and his squad of street cops. There's Budgie Polk, a twenty-something firecracker with a four-month-old at home, and Wesley Drubb, a rich boy who joined the force seeking thrills. Fausto Gamboa is the tetchy veteran, and Hollywood Nate is the one who never shuts up about movies. They spend their days in patrol cars and their nights in the underbelly of a city that never sleeps. From their headquarters at Hollywood Station, they see the glamour city for what it is: a field of land mines, where the mundane is dangerous and the dangerous is mundane.
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.
A view from a fan
I'm a fan since the first books.Still got my Choirboys belt buckle! This book makes me want to come out of retirement and get back on the streets. It's that good!
This novel makes you like you are living the Hollywood life of every type of LAPD cop. Before body cameras and cellphone video.
What a great storyteller! Funny but insightful. Sad but happy. Fiction but oh so real.