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Hollywood Station    by Joseph Wambaugh order for
Hollywood Station
by Joseph Wambaugh
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Thank goodness, Joseph Wambaugh, the godfather of police procedurals is back on the Job. With Hollywood Station hitting the bookstores at the end of November, Wambaugh is returning to where he belongs after his twenty-year absence from writing about the Los Angeles Police Department.

Before Wambaugh came onto the scene so many decades ago with The New Centurions, The Blue Knight, The Choirboys, and other top-notch novels, the police procedural - as Wambaugh notes - 'concentrated on how the cop acts on the Job. I flipped it and concentrated on how the Job acts on the cop.' Hollywood Station is a fine example of Wambaugh concentrating at his very best.

And so it is that readers are invited to ride along with the LAPD in some of the most interesting cases to hit police procedural fiction in a long, long time: the surfer-cops Jetsam and Flotsam respond to a complaint about loud music but find instead a disturbing and gruesome dead-end romance; no-nonsense detectives Andi McCrea and Viktor Chernenko are determined to solve the apparently connected robberies at a jewelry store and an ATM; Hollywood Nate Weiss dreams of making it big in the world of movies and believes that working for the LAPD is simply a bit-part on the way to the big-time; twenty-something Budgie Polk, much to the chagrin of her male chauvinist partner must somehow coordinate cruising around in patrol cars and breastfeeding her new baby; Fausto Gamboa, the uncompromising veteran is about to meet his match and have his hardcore cynicism shot full of holes; Mag Takara, the tough-as-body-armor hero, is going to break everyone's hearts; and The Oracle, the sergeant with nearly fifty years of service on the Job shows no signs of slowing down, but sometimes the plans of mice and men go terribly awry.

At the same time, readers will not soon forget Hollywood Station's eccentric cast of civilians: Untouchable Al is the homeless man with a uniquely effective way of avoiding arrest by the police; the down-and-out musician Trombone Teddy proves that he still knows how to keep his 'get out of jail free card' up-to-date; Farley Ramsdale and Olive Oyl, a couple of crystal meth tweakers, have urgent appointments with their disparate destinies; and Cosmo Betrossian and Ilya Roskova, two Russian Mafia wannabes are determined either to make it big in LA or to die trying.

Take these characters and throw them all into the bizarre chaos of the hooray-for-Hollywood lifestyle, and you have the perfect recipe for excitement, comedy, danger, and surprises. With veteran Joseph Wambaugh as the master chef, the recipe is prepared to perfection. So, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this sumptuous new feast of murder, mayhem, and on-the-Job adventures.

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