The Choirboys Paperback – 28 Aug 2007
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The classic novel of the LA Police. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
A former LAPD detective and perennial bestselling author, Joseph Wambaugh is the cops poet laureate, and these are the stories he was born to tell."
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Top Customer Reviews
The story chronicles the lives of ten LAPD patrolmen in the mid-seventy's, with backgrounds that range from Vietnam veteran to Mormon. They don't particularly like each other, but are forced to relay on one an other by the shocking nature of their work.
The narrative is told as a series of inter-relating stories that converge on a shooting during 'Choir practise'. Which is a type of group therapy. It involves going to the park after a particularly bad day, to get horrendously drunk and make out with 'Stationhouse Groupies'.
The book doesn't pull any punches as it talks about the day to day lives of the patrolmen who deal with rape, murder, suicide and child abuse as a matter of course.
This ultimately has a devastating affect on the patrolmen. In a dangerous occupation the worst threat to their lives is from themselves, suicide being the highest cause of death to policemen. Choir practise becomes their main way to relax and express they're feelings, this strategy ultimately fails and leads to disaster.
Hilarious and deeply moving, the book grips from the very outset and doesn't let go until its bleak denounement. The characters and their blasted world continue to haunt my conciousness long after turning the last page.
These hard drinking, promiscuous, practical joking policemen are the Choirboys.
Choir practice is the off duty drink fuelled sex sessions in MacArthur Park where inevitably things go wildly wrong and tragedy follows but before then there is an insight to the characters backgrounds and thus the way thier personalities developed.
This book is sometimes sad, sometimes funny but always addictive reading and while some of the antics seem incredulous it always seems authentic. The authenticity must be due to the author, Joseph Wambaugh's 14 years with the Los Angeles police department and the addictiveness is due to his great ability as a writer.
There is always an undercurrent, quite pronounced towards the end, where the author is critical of the higher ranks in the police deparment and rails against the incompetence and injustices of these higher ranks to the lowly beat cop.
The book is a series of vignettes following the experiences of each set of partners. Each chapter outdoes the other in terms of crime, violence, abuse and the limits of human depravity. Mr Wambaugh introduces two new characters per chapter with some biographical details, spreads a fair degree of very black humour and then culminates the chapter with desperate experiences which traumatically affect the policemen - leading to a call to all for choir practice.
In 1975 this book was considered groundbreaking. It was bitterly angry at the treatment of street cops by the powers-that-be reflecting the author's own experience. Unfortunately, the book now appears dated and was rapidly overtaken by other books, TV programmes and films pursuing similar themes.
This is not so much a crime thriller, or even a crime novel, but more a semi-autobiographical, documentary style work strictly from the police perspective.
There is a big finish with devastating effects for the choirboys but by then the format of the book had become repetitive. It is a work which is heartfelt, cautionary and well-meaning yet regrettably it seems to have lost its punch. Perhaps that is not the fault of Mr Wambaugh but the way we have become de-sensitised to this type of book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a must read, the film doesn't do this justice.Its dated,sexist bigoted and everything else in between but its great and will have you LOL'ing as us kids sayPublished 15 months ago by ryster
book arrived on time and in good condition , price was right ,and the story itself was fairly good...brendaPublished 19 months ago by Brenda
One of my favourite books of all time. Please bring it out on the Kindle so I can read it again. It is simple superbPublished 23 months ago by beatlebazza
I revisited this book after fifteen years and was not disappointed. Wambaugh is a master, I have read most of his crime fiction (and non fiction) and he is in a class of his own. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2013 by bel-ami
I came to this book sometime after its heyday, not quite knowing what to expect. Certainly it took a while to establish any rapport with the novel, the style or the characters. Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2012 by Bluecashmere.
the book is a good one but the quality of the product was poor because it was ex library stock and looked cheapPublished on 30 Sept. 2011 by baggers
A brilliant novel that show how policemen and women cope with the daily grind of keeping LA safe.One can be forgiven in thinking that
the LAPD is staffed by lunatics & psychos... Read more