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.)
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*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
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