A review of Hollywood Hills by Joseph Wambaugh
@@@@ (4 out of 5)
Chalk up another successful novel in Joseph Wambaugh’s continuing saga of the fascinating “coppers” in the country’s most colorful police precinct, the guys and gals of Hollywood Station. In an earlier post I reviewed the three previous novels in this ongoing story (http://malwarwickonbooks.com/?s=Joseph+Wambaugh), back when I was so foolish as to assume that they constituted a trilogy. Not so, clearly: there’s just too much life left in the surfer cops, Flotsam and Jetsam; Hollywood Nate, who is still chasing after stardom with his SAG card; and even the Oracle, whose portrait stands on the wall of the squad room amid the movie posters — and the Oracle actually died somewhere along the way, victim of a massive heart attack after 46 years on the job.
There’s a plot to Hollywood Hills, just as there was in every one of its three predecessors, but this is a novel about people, not events. There’s just enough action to drive the characters from the opening page to the very end, showing their stuff along the way.You may wonder what happens next, but you’re likely to be far more curious about how things turn out for Flotsam, Jetsam, Hollywood Nate, and that young female rookie cop.
Like so many of Joseph Wambaugh’s police procedurals, Hollywood Hills charms with what it reveals about the nitty-gritty of life on the front line of the Los Angeles Police Department. Because these coppers are uniformed officers — street cops — not high-powered detectives or police politicians. Clearly, Joseph Wambaugh has stayed closely in touch with the Department he left as a detective sergeant nearly half a century ago.