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Showing 1-10 of 232 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 291 reviews
on October 11, 2016
As usual Wambaugh delivers! This book follows the previous one about Hollywood Division and its colorful cops. If you know and like cops and understand cop culture, you know he tells it like it is, although LA cops have some strange quirks that are slightly different from other police forces (example: cop cars are called "shops," a term that I have never heard in another department).

Wambaugh constructs plots that, while familiar, always surprise. Once you open this book you don't want to put it down. The one-word descriptions are inadequate to describe the mood, pace, and characters, because they cannot be described in one word.

Wambaugh never disappoints.
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on November 6, 2016
Harbor Nocturne is a page Turner. Every page contains dialogue from very colorful characters. Interesting police story about street cops, the sex trade and thone caught up in it. Not a typical under mystery but a very inserting look at vice, murder and sex trade. My first first read by Joseph WA Baugh will not be my ladt.
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on September 7, 2017
I'm a retired cop, and I have been reading Wambaugh since his first books came out years ago when I was a young cop and every cop was reading them. I'm still enjoying reading his works and am glad he's still writing. Him being an LAPD guy always gave him a hands-on perspective about what he was writing about. Keep it up Sgt. Joe
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on May 27, 2012
When you read Joseph Wambaugh on the endlessly diverse "coppers" of the LAPD or the equally colorful denizens of their turf, you know you've met the truth. Listen as he describes three of Hollywood's zoned-out derelicts:

"Their shirts and trousers were so stained and filthy they'd lost their color and seemed to sprout from them like fungus. Two had splotchy skin with open sores, and there were not twenty teeth among them. As younger transients, they'd covered more territory than Lewis and Clark, but as they got older they'd begun to vaporize into spectres that nobody really saw until they spoke. The unholy ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard."

No, the world of Joseph Wambaugh and his creations who people the Hollywood police station isn't pretty. It's wild, gritty, funny, outrageous, and above all endlessly surprising. Wambaugh has walked these streets. He knows whereof he writes.

The harbor of the title is the shore of San Pedro, a portion of the Port of Los Angeles. Two of the town's younger residents, Dino Babich, a longshoreman, and his childhood buddy Hector Cozzo, reflect the variously Croatian and Italian history of the place, and their renewed relationship becomes a central factor in the plot.

The story Wambaugh tells revolves around human trafficking and prostitution -- and the unsavory people who profit from it. The plot works well and offers up tension and surprises to the end. However, Harbor Nocturne is much less a novel of suspense than it is a character study of the Los Angeles Police Department, as embodied in the coppers of Hollywood Station. If there is an overarching theme to this novel, it's the extraordinary diversity of Los Angeles today, where 200 languages are spoken. The book features characters of Mexican, Serbian, Italian, Croatian, Korean, Russian, Japanese, African, and Jewish as well as plain old white-bread European descent.

Harbor Nocturne is the fifth and most recent novel in Wambaugh's Hollywood Station cycle, which began in 2006. Like its predecessors, Harbor Nocturne takes us inside the station and inside the heads of the cops who staff its evening and early-morning "midwatch." Familiar characters from the earlier novels feature prominently here: the sun-bleached surfer cops "Flotsam and Jetsam"; aspiring actor "Hollywood Nate" Weiss; and young Britney Small, who earned the respect of the "OGs" -- the Old Guys of the station -- by shooting a violent offender to death. and wishing she'd gained it some other way.

Wambaugh, now 75, is the author of 20 previous books, 14 of them novels. From his very first novel, The New Centurions, in 1971, Wambaugh has been winning acclaim and selling books about the police in very large quantities. The man knows how to write!

(From [...])
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on May 10, 2015
As usual, Wambaugh tells a good story, and includes his cast of characters from Hollywood Division in this story involving immigrants of various types who populate the Los Angeles area. He involves a story line with some characters you learn to love, at your peril. In the end, it's less humorous than books like Hollywood Moon, and depressing about the pattern of immigration where many of the smarter immigrants find that engaging criminal activity is the easiest way to "succeed" in the United States, and taking advantage of the baser human instincts is lucrative. Unless you are a cop, it's hard to know how realistic the portrayals and procedures are. However, Wambaugh and Michael Connelly are both expert at describing the soul of Los Angeles.
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on October 24, 2013
I'm giving this story 4 stars, but I really want to give it about a 4.8 because it's such a good, readable story, even though you know Wambaugh's going to break your heart at some point. The lowlifes and scumbags have their power, as they do in real life, and you know they're going to cause terrible damage before the Hollywood Station cops bring them down. Wambaugh is familiar and at home with his cops and his lowlifes, and he also clearly has a lot of affection for the `city' of San Pedro, with its unique mixture of old and new, vibrancy and decay. There's some funny stuff and some very sad stuff, and it's all entirely believable, and none of it was boring; not to me, anyway. Is it better than his other Hollywood Station novels? Gosh, I liked some of them so much, that's too hard a call for me to make. I would just say that if you liked his other HS novels, I can't see how you wouldn't enjoy this one too. And if you haven't: Well, here's an entertaining story of cops, criminals, victims, greed, love, and despair, by an author who knows his stuff.
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on March 5, 2016
I love Joseph Wambaugh's Hollywood Station series. From Hollywood Nate to the surfer cops, Flotsam and Jetsam. However, this one was more about the characters involved in the human trafficing debacle, than about the usual cops. The cops didn't solve anything or save anybody. So, I felt a bit let down by this. Though the bad guys got what was coming to them, it was a little disappointing that the cops weren't more involved in the action. But, Wambaugh is a master writer and story teller. I hope he publishes more of this series.
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on March 7, 2015
Joseph Wambaugh may be long retired from the LAPD but he still walks the best. His books are populated by real people that readers care about. His dialogue is natural, you can hear the people speaking. His characters are sympathetic and I was moved to tears a couple of times in this book. He really captures the life of a cop, but writes equally well about the average people that live in Hollywood.

I've been a fan for a long time and I will buy his books without a second thought.
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on June 28, 2012
I've read all Wambaugh's books. The day I ordered this one, I read some of the reviews (I was going to order it regardless of what I read...but I was curious). After reading some of them, I was expecting to find this book somewhat less engaging than the last one. I was also expecting to be disappointed about moving the primary setting from Hollywood. It turned out that much of the action and dialog is still Hollywood based. But more importantly this book really engaged and moved me.

For me, the Hollywood setting is important. There is no place like it. No one does a better job bringing it to life than Wambaugh. After I started this book I quit working on my project and devoured it. I could make a minor complaint here and there, and the outcome of one of the main storylines was not what I hoped for. But this is a five star book, highly recommended.

To the author: I hope the Hollywood setting stays prominent. And I hope you write many more.
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on November 13, 2013
A good read but not the best Waumbaugh has done. Compared the to the "New Centurions" and the "Choir Boys" etc, it falls short. Waumbaum goes overboard making the officers into comical characters. He emphasizes the nut cases and squalor of LA and his fixation on officer suicides. Excellent presentation of the restrictions and insanities placed on these officers by the political correctness of the butthole politicians who have seemingly taken over the LAPD.
James D Keatings books, "The Wrong House" and his out of print "All on the Same Side", present a much more realisitic depiction of life on the streets of a big city.
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