The cops of Hollywood Station are still over-worked, under-staffed, bound by red tape, hobbled by political correctness, and constantly amazed by what the boulevards can throw at them. Scratch the surface of the 'reel' Hollywood and you'll discover the 'real' Hollywood. Here, Mickey Mouse is a crack addict, Marilyn Monroe is a man and when the moon is full, the neighbourhood gets even weirder.
When the legendary Oracle is replaced by Sgt. Jason 'Chickenlips' Treakle - a politically correct, paper shuffling putz with a shiny shoe fetish - Nate 'Hollywood' Weiss leaves the mid-watch to become a Crow, or Community Relations Officer (C.R.O.). These are the guys dealing with domestic disputes, busting stalkers, bouncing paparazzi and calming chronic complainers, wannabe cops and loons of all varieties. It should be easy duty - to the other cops it's 'the sissie beat' - but being Hollywood, the loons are not in short supply and not everything is at is seems. So when Hollywood Nate and fellow crow Bix Rumstead find themselves caught up with bombshell Margot Aziz, they think they're just having some fun. To them, Margot is a harmless hill bunny, stuck in the middle of an ugly divorce from a nefarious strip-club-owner. But Margot's no helpless victim: the femme fatale is setting them up so she can pull off the perfect murder and walk away with her ex-husband's ill-won fortune. But Margot isn't the only one with a deadly plan.
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It’s all very well being a legend, but if people think you’re no longer doing the thing that made your name celebrated, you run the risk of being yesterday’s news. Joseph Wambaugh’s esteem among crime readers couldn't be higher, with such books as The Onion Field and The Choirboys assuring him of Olympian status. But those classics were written many years ago – so it was a cause for considerable celebration when Wambaugh stormed back into the field after a period of silence with the much-acclaimed Hollywood Station, in which the author demonstrated that all his old skills were firmly in place. And now here’s Hollywood Crows to demonstrate that this was no flash-in-the-pan comeback.
Hollywood Crows is Wambaugh once again back in the groove, delivering the kind of effortlessly entertaining, sardonically funny crime tale at which he has few equals. We are back with the policemen of Hollywood Station, still up against it with unrealistic workloads, the irritating demands of political correctness and (worst of all) the myriad assortment of sleazy crime and criminals that they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Sergeant Jason ‘Chickenlips’ Treakle is the new and destabilising element in the force, a man who believes very much in going by the book -- and in not upsetting the delicate sensibilities of his superiors. Nate ‘Hollywood’ Weiss is stuck with the unrewarding job of community relations, and neither man is taken seriously by their colleagues, who believe that this they are not involved in real police work. But then Hollywood Nate becomes involved with the seductive Margot Aziz, in the throes of an acrimonious divorce from a strip club proprietor. And things become very complicated indeed when Margo decides to frame Nate and his colleague Bix as part of a scheme involving a ‘perfect’ murder.
This is delicious stuff -- not quite vintage Wambaugh, perhaps (it’s broader than his earlier books), but sharp, funny and deliriously plotted. Wambaugh admirers will feel that they have certainly got their money's worth. --Barry Forshaw.Review:
'Wambaugh's back and better than ever' Independent on Sunday.
'Hilarious' Evening Standard.
'Personalities and dialogue are utterly convincing. No-one does this kind of book better' Sunday Telegraph.
'Slick, stylish ... a hoot' Daily Mirror.
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