Book Review

Book Review : “Hollywood Hills” by Joseph Wambaugh.

The legendary Hollywood Hills are home to wealth, fame, and power – passing through the neighbourhood, it’s hard not to get a little greedy.

LAPD veteran ‘Hollywood Nate’ Weiss could take or leave the opulence, but he wouldn’t say no to a shot at celluloid immortality. And it looks like he may get his chance when he catches the eye of a B-list director or – more to the point – the appreciative eye of the B-list director’s predatory fiancée. Nate knows the Hollywood maxim – you don’t pet the boss’s cougar – but he’s got to keep his silver screen dream alive, so he agrees to add her hillside mansion to his beat.
It really shouldn’t be a problem, but this is Hollywood and although the air may be a little more rarefied in the hills, when night falls, just like in the city, anything can happen…

Up here, an ex-con-cum-butler is trying to go straight, a nattily-dressed-but-destitute art dealer has his eye on an opportunity that just might save his floundering business, a drug-addled pair of petty thieves are about to get very lucky… and Nate’s flirtation in the Hills is going to leave the crew at Hollywood Station with a deadly situation on their hands.

I love a good police story, and I love a bit of Hollywood glitz and glamour so when I read the synopsis of this book I thought it sounded like something I’d enjoy. After reading the first chapter that came complete with a pair of surfer dude cops known to the rest of their team as Flotsam and Jetsam and I thought I’d made the right choice. Over the next few chapters however new characters and plot threads were brought in and I found myself becoming less sure about what the plot of the story actually was – there were so many things going on. I stuck with it though and was glad I did as bit by bit Wambaugh wove the seemingly unrelated threads together to tell a thoroughly engaging tale. I found at times that it reminded me a lot of the tv programme Southland, a definite positive for me as I’ve been missing it for some time now.

There are plenty of interesting characters to be found within the pages of Hollywood Hills. I did find initially that I confused a couple from time to time but pretty quickly I got them all sorted and separated. Some of the characters did at times feel a bit caricaturish, for example the experienced female cop who spends all her time explaining to her female trainee the ways her male colleagues will act badly towards her. Flotsam and Jetsam remained firm favourites with me, their bromance was written so well that I would have happily read a spin off novel featuring them as the main characters.

As I’ve said after a slightly shaky start I got really wrapped up in this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I shall certainly add Joseph Wambaugh to my list of authors to look out for in the future.

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