Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hollywood Hills

Hollywood Hills: A Novel
by Joseph Wambaugh
Little, Brown and Co
November 2010

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.
I read an advanced reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.

No comments: