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Hollywood Crows: A Novel, by Joseph Wambaugh (Read by Christian Rummel)

Hollywood Crows
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Do not let the title fool you. This is a great story of the LA Police Department. The title refers to a special division, the community relations office, whose members are called the CROWS by the police in other divisions. They deal with calls like noisy neighbors, domestic disturbances, parking problems and other minor crimes.

This story features many of the outstanding characters from Joseph Wambaugh's previous novels. The Oracle, who served 46 years and was a father figure and mentor to the men in the Hollywood division, died of a massive heart attack in the last book. Now his picture is near the door all must exit through to go on duty, and they all touch the picture as they leave. He is revered by all except the 28-year-old college grad who followed the honored sergeant and is now irritating the men and women on the force. The surfer boys, partners nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam, are again a key part of the story. So is Hollywood Nate, the handsome cop who has an intense desire to be a Hollywood star. Wambaugh includes other new and old characters that add to the excitement and humor of the daily experiences of the LAPD.

The central plot deals with a beautiful stripper who is in a nasty divorce situation with her wealthy Arab husband who is fighting to get custody of their son. Because she suspects the husband wants to take their 9-year-old son out of the country to live, the stripper is planning to kill her husband. She connives to try to get a CROW to kill her husband by seducing the cop and setting him up to be the fall guy.

There are many twists and turns to this story, and the excitement and surprises will hold your attention from start to finish. Joseph Wambaugh is as good as ever, giving the listener the opportunity to feel what it's like to be part of a special unit in an urban police force. He combines inside information with human interest to tell an appealing story, packed with cop humor and drama.

This book is more than just a police procedural novel, however. It's also a literary portrait of some of the real characters that inhabit Hollywood. Some are comic, some are tragic, but all come vividly to life through Wambaugh's writing and Rummel's narration. This book is very entertaining and highly recommended.

John Mormon

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