Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Moon

""...a born story-teller..." "


Ordinary isn't an adjective you'd associate with Hollywood; and Hollywood certainly isn't your conventional police precinct. These days it seems even more outlandish than usual, from drag queens in action behind dumpsters to men in massage parlours receiving the weirdest injuries from Barbie dolls. The cops at the precinct have peculiarities of their own: Hollywood Nate still dreams of movie stardom, but worries that he's too good-looking to be a character actor. Then there's Dana Vaughn, a tough no-nonsense cop who can't stand the fact that former chauvinist pig Lee Murillo has become her new guardian angel after she saved his life.

But there's a darker side to all that eccentricity - and when the enigmatic crook, Dewey Gleason, hatches an audacious kidnap plan without knowing that one of the hired help lives a double life as a serial sex attacker things start to get very dangerous indeed.

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It has been a while since I read any of Wambaugh's offerings and when I was given the chance to read this one, I jumped at it. If you are new to him then let me prepare the way for you a little. From the beginning you may be taken aback a little by the rambling storyline, the large cast of characters and the anecdotal nature of the narrative. My advice is to stick with it; the reward is well worth it. Every writer recognises the truth in the cliché that says fact can be stranger than fiction. With any other writer than Wambaugh a reader might be left shaking their head and dismissing certain parts of the story as almost too unbelievable, but Wambaugh manages to pass this off with aplomb. He clearly retains contacts in the force, for some of the stories he relates here are so crazy they simply must be true! In Hollywood Moon, Joseph Wambaugh throws out all of these kooky characters and seemingly unrelated incidents onto the page, but then displaying the mastery of a born story-teller he gathers all of the threads together, ups the pace and before you know it you are racing towards the end. This is fascinating, entertaining and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious.

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