“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: Hollywood Station by Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Station was billed as a comeback novel for the former LA cop turned scribe, but when you’ve got the likes of The Choirboys, The New Centurions and The Onion Field ruffling around your CV, you’ve earned the right to be away for a while. In Hollywood Station, Wambaugh returns to the LA streets he knows best. Here, an ensemble cast of rookie cops, hardened veterans and those somewhere in-between police the crack-ridden streets of downtown Los Angeles. Throw in the Russian mafia, a diamond robbery and a hapless crystal meth thief out for one big score and you’ve got the basic ingredients for Wambaugh’s latest pot-boiler. If there’s any truth in the old adage in writing about what you know, then Wambaugh has never been off the streets. Vividly plotted and expertly etched, this is an enthralling look at the haphazard, chaotic life of an LA beat officer. As an ex-cop, it’s no surprise that Wambaugh’s empathy lies with those men and women policing the streets. Yet it’s not a blind loyalty as the author doesn’t shy away from presenting the LAPD as a police department in a political correctness crisis, and one which its officers are content to toe the line rather than dictating it on the streets. The writing is forceful, the characterisation is superb, the plot as sharp as a diamond cutter. Mr Wambaugh, it’s good to have you back.- Garreth Murphy

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