Joseph Wambaugh perfected the modern police procedural years ago with a full-stop writing style that no one has since matched. Somehow despite this, he moves you effortlessly through each storyline.
Hollywood Moon is the third installment (2009) in the LAPD Hollywood Station series: Hollywood Station (2006) Hollywood Crows (2008) Hollywood Hills (2010) and Harbor Nocturne (2012).
Art fraud is at the core of this story-line and it’s another convoluted ride into a world containing film directors, art gallery owners and the ‘tweakers’ of the meth world.
Wambaugh retired from police work in 1974 but has remained current by holding small gatherings with police officers asking them to talk about their work and their lives. What these women and men tell him provide a sense of where policing is now and how it is moving forward. He distils this information into a sound formula and uses it to bring momentum to every page.
While the third book lacks a bit of cohesiveness and tends to ramble a bit (some tightening of the prose is needed to get the cart securely back on the path) overall his characters are consistent.
The determination of Nate Weiss ‘Hollywood Nate’ to become a full-time actor is still there. And the antics of the series’ most irreverent characters – Flotsam and Jetsam feature largely in this book. These surfer-dude cops live and die by their time spent in the ‘barrel’ and policing Los Angeles.
The Hollywood series is like cotton candy, you don’t want too much all at once. Don’t let that dissuade you from the series; Wambaugh can rip your heart out in a minute.
Wambaugh’s gift is his ability to take you on a vertical drop from hilarity to despair in the middle of a paragraph. You are very present and in the moment when you realize things have gone horribly wrong.
In 2004 Wambaugh was presented with the Grand Master Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America that recognizes lifetime achievement and consistent quality. Here is a list of his previous work:
Finnegan’s Week (1993)
Fugitive Nights (1992)
The Golden Orange (1990)
The Secrets Of Harry Bright (1985)
The Delta Star (1983)
The Glitter Dome (1981)
The Black Marble (1977)
The Choirboys (1975)
The Blue Knight (1972)
The New Centurions (1970)
Fire Lover (2002)
The Blooding (1989)
Echoes in the Darkness (1987)
Lines and Shadows (1984)
The Onion Field (1973)