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Hollywood Station: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Wambaugh
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Joseph Wambaugh invented the modern police procedural thriller. Now in his long-awaited return to the LAPD, he deploys his bone-deep understanding of cops' lives--and a lethal sense of humor--in a stunning new novel.

For a cop, a night on the job means killing time and trying not to get killed. If you're in Hollywood Division, it also means dealing with some of the most desperate criminals anywhere. Now the violent robbery of a Hollywood jewelry store quickly connects to a Russian nightclub and an undercover operation gone wrong, and the sergeant they call the Oracle and his squad of quirky cops have to make sense of it all. From an officer who dreams of stardom, to a single mother packing a breast pump, to partners who'd rather be surfing, they'll take you on a raucous ride through a gritty city where no one is safe. Especially not the cops.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wambaugh's outstanding new novel, his first in a decade, is not only a return to form but a return to his LAPD roots. Times have sure changed since the 1970s, the setting for some of Wambaugh's best earlier works such as The New Centurions and The Onion Field. Grossly understaffed, the officers of Hollywood Station find themselves writing bogus field interviews with nonexistent white suspects in minority neighborhoods to avoid allegations of racial profiling. Crystal meth rules the streets, and crackheads and glass freaks dressed in costume (Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Darth Vader, Elmo) work the tourist strip, bumming money for their next fix. With an impressive array of police characters, from surfer dude partners "Flotsam" and "Jetsam" to aspiring actor "Hollywood" Nate Weiss and single mother Budgie Polk, Wambaugh creates a realistic microcosm of the modern-day LAPD. Today's crop of crime writers, including Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos, obviously owe a debt to Wambaugh. The master proves that he can still deliver. 5-city author tour. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Wambaugh, awarded the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award in 2004, returns to the crazed world of the LAPD for the first time since his 1983 novel, The Delta Star. It is a triumphant return. Not only does Wambaugh give readers his usual feast of black humor, as well as deliver another cast of edgy LAPD cops and wacko denizens of the street, but he also portrays how life for L.A. cops has changed in the last 20 years. The novel is both a celebration of street cops and an elegy for the old LAPD, now hobbled by post-Rodney King federal receivership, Draconian PC codes, oversight armies, and severe manpower and equipment shortages (Michael Connelly covers some of this same ground). The setting, Hollywood Station, also serves as a symbol for the collision of cops and criminals. For example, the stars on the Walk of Fame in front of Graumann's Chinese Theater are overrun by costumed cartoon characters who are actually addicts and whores; the stars in front of Hollywood Station are modeled after the stars on the Walk of Fame, but these stars contain the names of seven officers from Hollywood Station, all killed in the line of duty. The plot careens between cops and criminals, as seemingly random acts of desperation by a group of meth burnouts tie into a Russian criminal mastermind's scheme. High-voltage suspense drives the tale, and as always, Wambaugh's characters, language, and war stories exude authenticity. Terrific. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 484 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316066141
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (November 26, 2006)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000Q9EO5W
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,412 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, very human, very good Wambaugh December 11, 2006
Under the watchful eye of the Sergeant they call the Oracle, the members of Hollywood Station go forth each day to protect and serve the diverse population of Hollywood, never knowing what the day will bring.

One shift, they might have to referee a dispute between Spider-Man and Batman. On another, they might stumble upon a robbery scene where a bound and gagged victim is nervously squeezing a live grenade between his legs in an effort to keep it from going off. On yet another shift, one of their number might be severely beaten at the end of an otherwise quiet sting operation. Despite the uncertainty they face, they do it day after day, year in and year out.

Rich in colorful incident, at times laugh out loud funny, at times achingly poignant, Hollywood Station marks the triumphant return of Joseph Wambaugh to the police procedural. Portraying a police department under fire from within and without, Wambaugh gives the reader insights into the people who do this often thankless job; his cops are tired, and grouchy, and quick tempered, but above all, they're human, dealing with high pressure situations on a daily basis, always subject to surprise. Eschewing political correctness in his search for the truth, Wambaugh emphasizes that humanity in all its glory and tragedy, producing one of the most memorable books of 2006, a worthy successor to previous classics like The Blue Knight and The Choirboys. As the estimable Ray Bradbury says in his blurb, "Bravo."
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stay Real, Farley" January 6, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One word: wow! Wambaugh is back - big time. A stripped down masterpiece of what it means to "protect and serve" in post-Rodney King LA, rendered with the passion and conviction that only an ex-cop like Wambaugh could muster. "Hollywood Station" will make you laugh, the petty politics and bureaucratic meddling will frustrate you, the heroics and camaraderie of understaffed and overworked street cops will make you proud, but most of all, the tales of "Hollyweird's" sleaze, glitz, crime and justice will keep the pages turning at the pace of high speed chase.

The plot spins loosely around the hand grenade-robbery of a jewelry store by Russian mobsters and the antics of a pair of burned out meth freaks, Farley and "Olive Oyl" Ramsdale. But the plot is only a convenient backdrop for Wambaugh to showcase a colorful collection of characters on both sides of the law. Told through a "Hill Street Blues-like" series of vignettes of the patrolmen and women of LA's Hollywood station, the legendary station sergeant, "the Oracle", dispenses wisdom honed by over forty years on LA's mean streets, playing mom, dad, coach and priest to his young troopers. But seemingly disconnected storylines weave together in time for a slick and satisfying conclusion, complete with a neat and unexpected little twist. Reading Wambaugh again after such a long hiatus reminds me that the popular crime writers of today - Connelly, Lehane, Crais - are beholden to Wambaugh much like "Flotsam and Jetsam", "Hollywood" Nate Weiss, Budgie Polk, and the other fictional officers to Hollywood station are in debt to "the Oracle." Gritty and realistic, this long awaited return was worth every minute, a heartfelt and poignant tribute to LAPD's finest. As the Oracle would say, "go on out tonight and have some fun," and read this book.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ed McBain lives! November 29, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As I began reading HOLLYWOOD STATION, I couldn't help but be reminded of Ed McBain. The similarities are countless. McBain invented the police procedural. McBain also relied on multiple story lines as each of his detectives worked on separate cases. McBain worked in social issues occasionally. They were both masters of characterization with characters who jumped off the page. The main resemblance, however, is the humor both authors employ. I found myself laughing out loud while reading The 87th Precinct series, and Wambaugh is a close second.

Wambaugh hasn't written a police procedural since THE FLOATERS, and I was worried he wouldn't be as good as I remembered. Never fear; Wambaugh hasn't lost a step. The main thread of the story deals with "tweakers," people who are addicted to methamphetamines. Farley Ramsdale and his girlfriend Olive steal mail from mailboxes and sell it to the Russian mafia. This, in turn, leads to a jewelry store robbery and an armored car hold-up. Wambaugh's collection of blue shirts begin to investigate. There is the Oracle, a sergeant with over forty years experience on the force; there are two surfer cops, nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam; there's Fausto Gambino, another old-time copper who's been teamed with a woman who's just had a baby; there's Hollywood Nate, who seems to care more about getting stand-in jobs in the movies and television than he does police work; there's even a Russian-American cop, Viktor Chernenko, who's called in to deal with the Russian mafia.

Thematically Wambaugh deals with the increasing state and federal interference in police work since the Rodney King incident. The cops even file false reports to deal with the ban against profiling. The coppers list white people they've stopped who don't exist.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wambaugh: Real or Fantasy December 14, 2006
Thank You Mr. Wambaugh for coming home! You've been missed.

The sign of a great novelist is to make the fantasy real. To involve the reader in a world where fantasy merges into reality in such a way that the reader has empathy for the characters. Mr. Wambaugh does this in Spades with Hollywood Station. Humor, grit, sadness, and euphoria all erupt on the pages of this in the "belly of the beast" police novel. Plot is tight and quick moving. Street dialog is gritty and as real as it gets. Character development is good and I hope some of the actors return to reprise their roles. All in all the book grabs you from page one, gets in your face, and finally lets you go in the last sentence.

No gratuitous violence or sexual scenes. Just a good story about what it is like to be a cop in Hollywood. "Hey dude get you board and let's go!"

If you like Connelly then Wambaugh is your man. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
Love Joseph wambaugh!!! His stories stories are so realistic, the areas are so well known to me from when I lived in LA years ago, and would drive Hollywood Blvd. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Terry Bertoline
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable
Like his books, there is something about Mr. Joseph Wambaugh that distinguishes him above the rest. For one reason of the other he always seems to deliver a good read on most his... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Eddie Wannabee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love the surfer dudes
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Clark
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected. But written well. Might ...
Not what I expected. But written well. Might be just me, wanting a cohesive story that did not readily reveal itself to me.
Published 1 month ago by Lisa A Ushman
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time.
A good story if you like idiots (police & civilians) and slugs (police & civilians). Ridiculous collection of vignettes that somehow come together in the end for a truly... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cat Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER SUPER BOOK
Published 2 months ago by RICHARD P. DIMARE
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite
This was not my favorite Wambaugh book. It was interesting, but not a great read.
Published 2 months ago by tgamb
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed the book highly recommend it
It has been years since I read a Wambaugh novel. Guy has not missed a beat , a great read.
Published 2 months ago by harold r crocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but fun. Another Wambaugh great work.
Humor, plus police work and a great story, adds up to Joseph Wambaugh. Totally enjoyed the book. Joseph Wambaugh at his finest.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just as described great item
Published 3 months ago by Vicki
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More About the Author

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the bestselling author of eighteen prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times' said, "Joseph Wambaugh is one of those Los Angeles authors whose popular success always has overshadowed his importance as a writer. Wambaugh is an important writer not simply because he's ambitious and technically accomplished, but also because he 'owns' a critical slice of L.A.'s literary real estate: the Los Angeles Police Department -- not just its inner workings, but also its relationship to the city's political establishment and to its intricately enmeshed social classes. There is no other American metropolis whose civic history is so inextricably intertwined with the history of its police department. That alone would make Wambaugh's work significant, but the importance of his best fiction and nonfiction is amplified by his unequaled ability to capture the nuances of the LAPD's isolated and essentially Hobbesian tribal culture."
Understandably, then, Wambaugh, who lives in California, is known as the "cop-author" with emphasis on the former, since, according to him, most of his fantasies involve the arrest and prosecution of half of California's motorists. Wambaugh still prefers the company of police officers and interviews hundreds of them for story material. However, he is aghast that these days most of the young cops drink iced tea or light beer, both of which he finds exceedingly vile, causing him to obsessively fume with Hamlet that, 'The time is out of joint.' He expects to die in a road rage encounter. For more information please visit or

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