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LAPD's Finest Overcome Whatever Is Thrown Their Way
on 5 July 2007
If you read only one novel about the police this year, Hollywood Station would be an excellent choice.
There can be no finer heroes that those who serve in a police force that's under severe scrutiny like the LAPD is today. These officers have to deal with the sins of those who have been expelled, the excesses of those who want to avoid those sins being repeated, and the loss of respect in the public. Hollywood Station provides a fascinating and sympathetic look at what it's like to serve in the middle of such challenges. You'll be both fascinated and repelled by what's revealed.
In the Hollywood of today, Joseph Wambaugh takes us through the crime that's spawned by meth users, the day-to-day violence experienced by the homeless, the disgusting things that people do to those they claim to love, the dangers of selling oneself on the streets, the petty schemes of career criminals, and the outrage that ordinary citizens feel about these signs of human decay.
In parallel, we see the world of the police officer . . . both those who are new to the force and long-time veterans. They find themselves sexually attracted to each other as women are increasingly in the force . . . even though the marriages that result won't work. Their motives for joining are often a wide mark away from the reality, but they find the work rewording and sometimes even fun.
The continuing story in the book reminded me of an 82nd precinct case. In this instance, two meth users find material while fishing in a mail box that leads to a jewel heist. Emboldened by the experience, the thieves decide to go after bigger game . . . with serious consequences for everyone involved.
The back stories of the cons and the cops are well done. You'll feel like you know quite a few of the characters . . . and identify with them.
I also loved the little phrases he dropped into the book to help point out the contrast between the tinsel town of audience dreams and the reality of today such as where he mentioned leaving the "reel Hollywood for the real Hollywood."
I hope that Mr. Wambaugh considers making a book series featuring the Hollywood Station.