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Hollywood Hills: A Novel Hardcover – 16 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (16 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031612950X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316129503
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,936,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"good news for fans of the Hollywood Station trilogy that was supposed to have ended with Hollywood Moon. Now here comes Hollywood Hills, extending another golden opportunity to ride with the uniformed crew at what must be the most colorful cop-shop under the sun... Wambaugh salts the narrative with variously funny, sad and thoughtful anecdotes featuring a cast of characters we've come to treasure: handsome Hollywood Nate, the surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, and veterans like Viv Daley and Della Ravelle, burned by experience, but conscientiously training the next generation to face the fire." -- New York Times Book Review "If Los Angeles police detective-sergeant-turned-author Joseph Wambaugh didn't invent the modern cop novel, he's been one of its most prolific and successful practitioners... Dark slapstick--with rimshot dialogue worthy of Jay Leno--often ensues when these police officers cross paths with eccentric Hollywood-dwellers. But there's nothing comical about the murder and mayhem lurking behind the palm trees... Yet one way or another these enforcers of the law--like their author--continue to get the job done." -- Wall Street Journal "Joseph Wambaugh's Hollywood series was supposed to be a trilogy. Good news for readers that he changed his mind. His take on the Hollywood cop shop is colorful...these characters fighting crime are not to be missed. Neither are the criminals they pursue... And in addition to stupid criminals, there are some gut-wrenching, psychologically difficult criminal interludes that remind the reader that for all the stupid wrongdoers who find their reward, there are also innocent victims, and these victims take their own kind of toll. Wambaugh mixes the light and the dark in a unique way. Hollywood Hills is a keeper... The book should be satisfying to those familiar with the series, and a tantalizing starting point for those who are not." -- The Denver Post

About the Author

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the bestselling author of 19 prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. In 2004, he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in southern California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Russell Irvine on 3 Sep 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have just finished this book and I'd swop vital body parts to be able to read it again for the first time. Joseph Wambaugh is recognised as a master of his craft but no amount of praise can do him sufficient credit in my opinion. It is amazing how he ratchets up the tension while interspersing the main plot with amusing police anecdotes. I have developed a deep affection for his main characters and I miss them between books. I have The New Centurions on order and I will twitch like an addict until it arrives.
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By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover
For those who've enjoyed Wambaugh's previous books about the police officers of "Hollywood Station", this is another satisfying instalment, following a similar formula. Wambaugh blends a pacy novel, centred around two parallel criminal schemes which end up colliding. The first is an attempted art theft, and the second involves a couple of addled drug users who think it will be easy to burgle the Hollywood Hills homes of the rich and infamous. There's no element of mystery about who does what or what the crime is, rather the pages are kept turning to see exactly How It All Goes Wrong.

Also keeping the pages turning, and weaving in and out of the two capers, are the professional and personal lives of the police-men and -women. There are plenty of true sounding incidents (Wambaugh credits a long list of serving officers) some of them tragic, some funny, many eye watering. At times, some of these did read a bit as though the author just had to work the material in somehow, somewhere. However, I was grateful he did - the stories are never less than enthralling, and they bring real humanity and depth to the police officers. Books in which you can actually care about or like the main characters may be unfashionable in some literary circles, but thankfully Wambaugh rejects that kind of elitism and while some of the cops may be flawed, they're all people you would like to meet.

It's a good book. As I said above, if you liked Hollywood Station and its sequels, you'll enjoy this, not least because you meet some old friends again, and see their characters developing and being drawn out - in particular the two "surfer cops", Flotsam and Jetsam, whose language I still find totally mystifying, but who are never less than magnificently entertaining.
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By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Hollywood Hills" is the fourth in Joseph Wambaugh's "Hollywood" series. He has published a new one every year since 2007. Wambaugh has created a world at Los Angeles's Hollywood Area police station, and many of the same characters return book after book. That gives a nice continuity to his books.

What confuses some readers and reviewers of Wambaugh's work is that he does not write police procedurals. In fact, most of his books contain little plot; most of the writing is vignettes of life in the station and the precinct that come together to form a sorta-plot. Wambaugh is also NOT politically correct in his writing. His first book, "Hollywood Station", published in 2007, seemed definitely written with the idea that Wambaugh, a retired cop, had a few bones-to-pick with the way the LAPD was being handled in the new age of citizen complaints and official actions.
That book was a little bit harsher than this one, his latest. The crime scenes were more horrific as was much of the language. "Station" was written with much more of a political undertone than "Hills", which makes "Hills" a gentler read.

I don't think Joseph Wambaugh's writing appeals to many people. For those who love his work, though, "Hollywood Hills" is a great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 73 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
"It's a whole lot better to be judged by twelve than buried by six." 3 Nov 2010
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There are sparks of vintage Wambaugh in Hollywood Hills, the wry, sometimes poignant observations that gave his early work its authentic cache. Wambaugh made his bones in The New Centurions and The Onion Field, his later years inspiring a blend of humor, absurdity and real cop lore. I haven't been fond of the Hollywood series, often too stereotypical, but in this novel the particular camaraderie of law enforcement is a strong element in the plot. Familiar characters return, "Hollywood Nate" Weiss, Flotsam and Jetsam, the surfer cops, but with less absurdity and more of the in-your-face drama of the streets, the split-second decisions and bizarre threats arising from even the most innocent request for help from authorities.

Underneath the daily role calls, the crazy antics of a "Hollywood Moon" and the unpredictable residents of the city, the cops of Hollywood Division go on their nightly rounds prepared for any outrageous situation that comes over the radio. Hollywood Nate is temporarily paired with Lorenzo "Snuffy" Salcedo, Nate yet to realize his dreams of stardom in spite of the SAG card he carries in his wallet. A meeting with a B-list director, Rudy Ressler, offers an intimate encounter with the surgically-enhanced widow, Leona Brueger (shades of "Sunset Boulevard"), but the usual petty criminals and tweakers are busy ruining their lives and endangering citizens, including Jonas Claymore, who is obsessed with the Bling Ring and Nigel Wickland, an art dealer with a scheme to profit from the wealthy Widow Brueger's upcoming tour of Tuscany.

Various partners patrol the streets as their radios squawk, including a veteran female officer instructing a younger trainee on the hazards of being a woman in law enforcement and the surfer cops affectionately dubbed Flotsam and Jetsam, their tours accompanied by a language honed on the beaches of Southern California. Everything that can go wrong does, in a mad collision of coincidence and mendacity that leaves two men dead, fruit of the greedy impulses of those who yearn for a place in a city touched with magic, but only for a few. The gold of Hollywood's younger days is tarnished by broken dreams and no-talent clones, but fools continue to flock to the Mecca of celebrity, where Wambaugh's boys in blue acquit themselves with panache and humor in an ugly, often sad landscape. Luan Gaines/2010.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
If you have read and liked the other books in this series I am sure you'll enjoy this one 4 Nov 2010
By Philly gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Joseph Wambaugh has been writing about police and police work since the 70s. He published his first work while still an LAPD cop. I can remember reading The Onion Field and the powerful impact it had on me. After the turbulent times of the 1960's, Wambaugh did more to build back the reputation of the police than any other writer. His work was dark (The New Centurions, The Blue Knight) but enthralling as he laid out the emotional cost of police work. I haven't read Wambaugh's books in a long time so I was surprised with Hollywood Hills. It is a police procedural but in a much lighter vein than I expected. It chronicles the stories of the police who work out of Hollywood division in Los Angeles. It is a fast moving story with a plot centered on an art theft. There are a myriad of characters - both cops and crooks. The story is told by alternating the narrative between the police and the criminals. It is funny and the dialogue is realistic (except for the two surfer cops who were unintelligible to me). Wambaugh's depiction of every day police work seems so real, cops get in fights with bad guys, and cops get their noses broken, no super heroes here, just everyday police work. No one character is the center of this novel, each character is lightly drawn and given a place in the story but the lack of character development for me, reduces my enthusiasm for the book. Hollywood Hills is part of a series (Hollywood Moon, Hollywood Station, Hollywood Crows) but is easily read as a standalone book. If you have read and liked the other books in this series I am sure you'll enjoy this one, if you are looking for a Wambaugh story from a previous era I think you'll be disappointed.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Joseph Wambaugh, the master of cop write. 21 Dec 2010
By AC500Driver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Regular readers are now friends and very comfortable with most of the characters working Hollywood Station. Read the Hollywood series in order if at all possible. No author can write about cops as Wambaugh can. The scene where the boot knife is searched for and the dialog right after gave me goose bumps. So real, so very real; and moving. Wambaugh is the real deal and the rest of those who write of cops are not even close; even Connelly and Connelly is good. Wambaugh's take on female cops is intriguing and must be right on as well. He takes a number of them to dinner, minus male cops, and gets the lowdown for plots and characters. He never stops being the investigator. And, we benefit.

I hate when I notice not many pages remain when reading Wambaugh novels, but keep in mind the years of 'jones-ing' during his writing hiatus for too many years and am thankful for what I can get my hands on.

The 'Oracle' during my tenure on the street was Sgt Richard 'The Hooker' Traylor. RIP Hook, and Semper Cop. Catch you at that really big roll call someday.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This series stays fresh and exciting and this book proves it 16 Nov 2010
By Mary J. Gramlich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Every city has its story and is filled with every manner of character willing to tell you all about what makes them tick, the more personal the better. In Joseph Wambaugh's latest Hollywood Hills series he explores this theory and writes the story from every perspective possible in rapid fire succession. He starts with the police officer who wants to be a movie star, the struggling director that wants to be an Oscar winner, the drug addict trying to figure out how to get the money for the next score, an ex-con working a new angle, the art thief plotting his next idea, all the police officers on the beat dealing with all of this and still getting up the next day to do it all over again.

There are so many people coming and going in this book and the chapters are fast reads and come at you from every point of view. You are interjected with thoughts, feelings and desperate acts that you at times feel you need to be writing the characters down just to keep up but just as you are saying "who is that guy" Mr. Wambaugh pulls everything together so that you know what this character is up to, thinking and figuring out their next move along with them. It is fascinating reading and everyone in this book completes it and without each of them it would not work as well which is something this author is the master of.

Every person has a reason for being in the story and every reader will be mesmerized as they follow the plot of all these lives. As a fan of the police procedural book that Joseph Wambaugh writes this one stands out for me because he has taken the core characters and expanded them and pulled in new ones in such a way you can't put this book down until you figure out what is going to happen. I am thrilled to have read this and been able to hopefully sell a few copies with this review.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
wacky jocular Hollywood Station police procedural 20 Nov 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the Hollywood Hills, movie director Rudy Ressler and his fiancée wealthy Widow Leona Brueger meet LAPD cop "Hollywood" Nate Weiss. Rudy thinks Hollywood as the right look for the screen while Leona thinks he has the right "meat" for her boy toy. They ask him to keep an eye on their estate while they are out of town, which he agrees to do.

Former convict turned butler Raleigh Dibble works at the Ressler mansion where he plans to stay legit. Leona's sleazy snobby art dealer Nigel Wickland also watches the mansion, but has different plans for what is inside and for the butler he placed inside. However, his scheme runs into problems when drug addicted losers Jonas Claymore and Megan Burke intrude on his game. As the rest of the Hollywood Hills cops deal with an assortment of crazies like the notorious Wedgie Bandit, the Bling Ring break and enter teens and the Addams Family clones the Goths, cop Della Ravelle guides rookie officer Britney Small as to how to properly surf (with a nod to Flotsam and Jetsam) LAPD and the dangerous streets worked by the LAPD Hollywood Station.

The fourth Hollywood Station police procedural (see Hollywood Moon and Hollywood Crows) is a wacky jocular thriller due to the clash between the cops and robbers. Fast-paced throughout, the main plot has several folks crashing and clashing at the Ressler mansion, but not all are after a master art theft. Readers will appreciate Joseph Wambaugh's wonderfully amusing entry; as the great author places all the insanity and lunacy inside serious criminal and police activities. This is another winner.

Harriet Klausner
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