Monday, June 30, 2008

Book: Hollywood Crows, by Joseph Wambaugh (2008)

Back in April I raved about Wambaugh’s Hollywood Station and said I’d be digging into the sequel post haste. I’d hoped to last a little longer than this, to save the book for when I needed a good one. Still, willpower’s overrated anyway.

Crows is another group picaresque about the men and women of the LAPD. The surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam are back, as is aspiring actor Nate Weiss. There are plenty of new characters, though, many of whom work as Community Relations Officers, the CROs of the title, responsible for “quality of life” complaints. It’s supposedly a cushy job, but as always with Wambaugh we soon discover that no part of police work is easy.

Again, there’s a gossamer of plot, as a drug addict and a divorcing couple taking their animus to murderous lengths cross paths with various police officers and each other en route to a blowout of a climax. But it’s basically an excuse for the snapshots of cop life, from hilarious to shattering, that no one does better than Wambaugh. These books are like stews made from the same basic recipe, each time with different seasonings. The resulting meals always satisfy, yet never taste exactly the same. As long as Wambaugh is dishing them out, I’ll grab a space at the table.

Comics: Two, Please

This week’s installment is below or here.