Cheers for Joseph Wambaugh for continuing the series that features the men and women of the Hollywood division of the Los Angeles Police Department. This story about a husband and wife team who excel in identity theft is by far the best of the series. Through an elaborate system of cons, deceptions, and manipulation of documents they are able to steal from innocent victims. It is amazing to see how easily they accomplish the theft of thousands and thousands of dollars and manage to go undetected for weeks. In addition to trying to trap the thieves, the police are busy looking for a young Hispanic man who is accosting women with a box cutter knife. Although at first, he only frightens the women, with each attack he becomes bolder, more violent and more unstable. When the young man happens to join forces with the identity thieves it results in a shocking and tragic outcome for the police and the Hollywood community.
To the members of the Hollywood division, a full moon brings out the craziest of the crazy, and they celebrate a 'Hollywood Moon' by awarding a pizza to the team that responds to the most bizarre crime of the night. Wambaugh’s characters and events make it hard to judge which crime can be called the most bizarre. The interaction between the police officers that make up the division gives the listener an inside view of law enforcement. The partners known as Flotsom and Jetsom, the surfer boys, give the impression that they are slackers with their humorous antics, but they are actually very effective. The way they administer the drunk driving balloon test is comical, but produces results. Even though Hollywood Nate, the aspiring actor, is seen as a womanizer, his partner, Dana Vaughn exposes a sensitive side of him he didn’t know he had. The other patrol car partners are involved in absorbing story lines, too. Christian Rummel’s narration is so effective that the listener feels like a ride along observer or a co-conspirator depending on whether he’s portraying the good guys or the bad guys.
After serving as a police officer for more than 10 years, Wambaugh is highly qualified to chronicle life in a busy police station. With his cast of characters, every night could be a Hollywood Moon. He describes the situations and dialogue with so much realism that listeners can’t help but feel intensely the emotions of joy, anger, apprehension, fear and sadness in reaction to the stunning conclusion. You will not be sorry to put this book at the top of your must read list.
Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh
Read by Christian Rummel
Hachette Audio, unabridged: 12 hours on 10 CDs