Posts Tagged ‘LAPD’

Hollywood Moon is the third in Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Station series, for the uninitiated the series follows the high wired exploits of LAPD beat cops in L.A.’s most decadent precinct.

Crimezine Barks at the Hollywood Moon

Hollywood Moon is the third in Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Station series. For the uninitiated these twisted tales of the city  follow the high wired exploits of LAPD beat cops in L.A.’s most decadent precinct.

As a former a detective sergeant himself, Wambaugh knows a thing or three about life on the mean streets of Los Angeles,  unsurprising then that this  tale is heavy laden with delicious anecdotes that bear the characteristic traits of stranger than fiction beat cop lore.

Wambaugh is no stranger to such anecdotes, his 1971 bestseller, The New Centurions and his legendary1975 book The Choirboys established Big Joe as a crime writing legend—a reputation cemented by his nonfiction book The Onion Field, a work compared by many to Truman Capote’s literary classic In Cold Blood.

But it is in black in comedy and a deft understanding of the criminal underworld where Wambaugh reins supreme. Yes, he knows cops. But he just LOVES writing about criminals—especially low-rent criminals, and that makes him our kind of guy.

The novels in the Hollywood Station series are standalone works in their own right, but many of the LAPD characters recur throughout the series. We get “Hollywood” Nate Weiss, the aspiring actor, and his partner, the daunting Dana Vaughn, she might be tough, but is she tough enough for Hollyweird? We also get the dudetastically retarded Flotsam and Jetsam, the “surfer cops” who regard police work as something of a sideline to their world of babes and pranks.

Then there are the crooks, and it is here that Wambaugh excels, because he has an almost disturbing understanding of tweakers and trannies and the myriad miscreants drifting along the shabby side streets of tinsel town. In this installment of the series, we meet Dewey and Eunice—a pair of high-tech scammers who are almost as desperate to rip each other off, as they are the public at large.

Interwoven with this sordid little story we meet Malcolm Rojas a chilling mommy’s boy with a penchant for sexual deviance. We don’t know how it will end, but we know it is going to be ugly… guaranteed.

Overseeing the carnage is Sgt. Lee Murillo who tells his troops—There is a real Hollywood moon tonight. As you know, a full moon over Hollywood brings out the beast rather than the best in our citizens. The car that comes back with the weirdest encounter of the night will get an extra-large pizza with the works.

As can be expected in the weird world of Wambaugh, it is a tough call to find the winner, will it be the case of double necrophilia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery? Or the salacious shenanigans on Sodom-Monica Boulevard? If you want to find out Crimeziners, you are going to have to get weird and bark at the Hollywood Moon. Owwwwwwwwwwwwww!



Black Box CrimezineCrimezine’s favorite Floridian Michael Connelly has hit bookstores with his latest end of aisle bestseller, The Black Box, in which he transports us back twenty years to the murder of a Danish Journalist in riot torn South Central Los Angeles.

Hieronymous Harry Bosch, Connelly’s Jazz loving LAPD Detective, made his first appearance in The Black Echo (1992), the same year that South Central Los Angeles was rocked by six days of rioting, and it has not gone without comment in the City of Angels, that the latest Conners offering dredges back through time, marking the twentieth anniversary of the riots.

The City of Los Angeles and The LAPD have come a long way since those dark days of Police brutality, and block burning social insanity. Connelly has documented much of this evolution in the Bosch series, and for this he is to be commended.

Familiar themes abound with this latest work: Deep, perplexing, mystery; obscure jazz name-checks; cruel and unusual office politics, and a trainspotterish deconstruction of the acronym-ridden Los Angeles Police Department.

Bosch is of course an obsessed loner at heart, but Conners has done his level best to make an empathy jacket for him: The ‘headshrink’ girlfriend, the morose daughter. The chick magnet appeal to any woman in uniform—that’s our Harry. But sometimes you cannot help but wonder if Conners is teasing us, for example the work obsessed Bosch leaves his brooding sixteen-year-old daughter Maddie home alone night after night to eat pizza, then rings to enquire about her safety. “Don’t worry Dad, I have a gun,” retorts the surly sprog. She isn’t joking. Hmmm—Anyone see a problem brewing?

As usual, everyone has got it in for poor Harry, a man who’s quiet and relentless quest for justice, no matter what the cost, marks him out as an outsider, in world of political correctness gone mad. It must be said that Harry’s somewhat implausible status as an aging rebel, distracts from the meticulous and engrossing outlines of police procedure that are a major part of the Bosch novels. But Connelly is a master of the finely paced plot, a skill that will soften even the hardest of hearts. Meanwhile, the suspenseful and darkly surprising ending, will no doubt have readers kicking themselves that they didn’t read the clues earlier. Conners much like Harry Bosch, is at the top of his game.

The Black Box is Connelly’s eighteenth Bosch book. Hints of Bosch’s  inevitable retirement from the department  weigh heavier with each subsequent adventure. In The Drop (2011) Bosch joined the Deferred Retirement Program and it is now clear that his ‘enemies from above’ can kick him off the force any time they choose. LAPD’s Viet Nam Vet might soon have to change his love of  ‘Murder Books’ and Black Box case files for a pipe and slippers and some lighter reading…

The mighty Conners informs Crimezine that Harry Bosch will return in the 2013 installment of the Mickey ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ Haller series,entitled  The Gods of Guilt.


Crimezine -NCIS

LL Cool J (foreground) Would you break into this mans home?

The Hollywood Hills, home to the rich and infamous. This week muscle bound NCIS heartthrob LL cool J got up close and personal with an ill advised burglar who thought breaking into Cool J’s Sherman Oaks home might be the thing to do.

The burglar, Texas transient Jonathan Kirby 56, a man with a rap sheet, (if you will excuse the rap sheet pun) going back decades, was pummeled comprehensively by the Jayster, receiving a broken nose, jaw, and ribs.

It could have been much, much worse: Crimezine is no expert in these matters, but burglarizing the home of a muscle bound rapper—a man with a weekly television show advertising well versed familiarity with fire arms of all descriptions—that would most likely figure very low on our list of home invasion targets.

We can only assume Mr Kirby is unfamiliar with Cool J’s work. The Jayster rose to fame with the hit song “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Owch!

LAPD are insistent that the Jayster acted in self-defence. Quite right too, but this being Los Angeles, Crimezine knows that the burglar is almost certainly working with a team of ambulance chasing lawyers intent upon suing the NCIS star for all manner of preposterous reasons.

If so, it may be sometime before the burglar gets to see the results of such action, his previous record could result in a sentence as long as 38 years.

Crimezine detects a wry twinkle behind those Gang Unit Shades, could it be love at first sight?


Hollywood Crows Joseph Wambaugh

Hard to believe Joseph Wambaugh was ever a cop, he is slight, quietly spoken and youthful for his seventy-five years. When he speaks of getting liquored up for the Johnny Carson show back in the seventies there is the distinct glow of mischief in his eyes. This streak of devilry comes through in his writing too, and his book Hollywood Crows is no exception.

Joe Wambugh was always a maverick, even as a Hollywood police sergeant, back in the days when a crack in the kidneys with a nightstick was a panacea for miscreants who wanted to get smart with the LAPD. From reading his writing, one can certainly picture old school Wambaugh, his breath hot with whiskey, administering swift justice to street corner stoners without any sense of irony.

The bureaucratic Federal Consent Decree that followed the Rodney King beating, the LA Riots and the Rampart scandal, spoilt things for ever for the LAPD’s style of maverick justice and free thinking ‘initiative’. Wambaugh views the decree with outrage and incredulity. He looks back nostalgically to the days of yore with petulant fondness.

Welcome to the world of the Hollywood Crows (CROS-geddit?)—LAPD’s community relations office, the liaisons who take the weight off real cops, by dealing with parking disputes and the myriad picayune community based niggles that would other wise swamp the departments crime fighting elite.

Hollywood Crows is the sequel to Hollywood Station. Many of the characters are the same: Hollywood Nate Weiss, the Surfer Cops, Flotsam and Jetsam and Bix Ramstead. The style is very familiar too, dark comedy, endless squad room anecdotes with wise guy pay-offs. Wambaugh is a master of this kind of writing. The dark humor may intrude in the verisimilitude of his tales, but so what, Wambaugh is an entertainer now, not a duty sergeant.

There are gripes with this story however, the crack-head stoner is very similar to the central character in the first book, as is the seedy nightclub proprietor who hires him to break into his ex wife’s house. Murder is of course the crime at the bottom of these ugly shenanigans and the convoluted way in which it is executed never truly satisfies, but the quality of Wambaugh’s writing is so deliciously engaging it almost doesn’t matter.

Crimezine is a big fan of Wambaugh, he has the Hollywood milieu nailed. Mulholland Drive Community liaison, Sergeant Lex Polański agrees: That Wambaugh is a son of a bitch he opines. I arrest anyone these days I got to fill more paperwork than a dime store detective novelist god damn it. Crimezine agrees, the esteemed world of crime fighting is not what it used to be, we did find it somewhat unsettling however that Sergeant Polański was looking towards the Crais residence when he made this somewhat acerbic comment. Cops.

Joseph Wambaugh-Hollwood Station-Crimezine

Joseph Wambaugh Hollywood Station: a Crimezine crime classic

Chances are you will have heard of Joe Wambaugh and his all pervasive influence on the Police procedural. Crimezines favorite Floridian Michael Connelly claims Wambaugh invented the modern Police novel. High praise indeed. But Conners is quite right. When it comes to cops especially the LAPD, Wambaugh is the man.

Joe Wambaugh is the writer behind Police Story, which ran from 1973 to 1977 and influenced every police series that followed including such classics as Hill Street Blues. A former police detective himself, Wambaugh, now in his seventies, has been writing a long time.

His first published novel The New Centurions appeared in 1971, it was quickly followed by a number of classic police novels including The Onion Field, a work of such magnitude, it was compared to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

The fictional novel The Choirboys,(1973) was influenced closely by Joseph Heller’s classic Catch 22. Wambaugh has adhered to this Helleristic voice ever since. Though Crimezine feels that there is also a debt of gratitude to such fine American authors as Charles Bukowski and Theodore Dreiser.

There were other novels of course, but none received the critical acclaim of his early ’70’s works based on the LAPD. Prior to the 2006 novel Hollywood Station Wambaugh’s novel The Delta Star was the last novel he wrote featuring LA’s finest.

Hollywood Station is rich with Wambaugh’s unique blend of black humor. It is a novel that deals with the lives of the officers who work at Hollywood Station with great sympathy and humanity. It also covers the crazy and sordid lives of the myriad small time crooks, who inhabit Hollywood Division, from the craziest vagrants to the most hopeless meth-heads who float through Hollywood’s criminal underworld.

It is a rich and engrossing world, that draws the reader in, and just as you think there is no methodology, you suddenly find that the characters stories connect. Hollywood Station also describes the crazed level of bureaucracy preventing working cops from doing their job effectively, a subject that Wambaugh tackles with great style and wit.

Hollywood Station is an awesome book. A true Crimezine classic and an essential introduction to the works that have now become Wambaugh’s Hollywood Quadrilogy: Hollywood Station, Hollywood Crows, Hollywood Moon & Holly

While researching his novel, The Drop, Michael Connelly invited two veteran LAPD homicide investigators, Rick Jackson and Tim Marcia to room 79 at the Chateau Marmont hotel to discuss how they would handle the Crimescene. Many of the detectives suggestions were used in the book. Check out the video at the link above Crimeziners. Also included is a link to Crimezines favorite Floridian talking about his latest bestseller.

Michel Connelly-Crimezinr-TheDrop

Crimezines Favorite Floridian Michael Connelly