cover image Hollywood Crows

Hollywood Crows

Joseph Wambaugh. Little, Brown, $26.99 (343pp) ISBN 978-0-316-02528-7

Gallows humor and the grim realities of street police work coexist uneasily in this less than stellar follow-up to Hollywood Station (2006) from MWA Grand Master Wambaugh. Nathan Weiss, known as Hollywood Nate for his acting ambitions, and his friend Bix Ramstead are now assigned to the LAPD's Community Relations Office, which handles quality-of-life issues and whose members are referred to as Crows. Weiss and Ramstead both become ensnared by a stunning femme fatale, Margot Aziz, who's in the middle of a contentious divorce. Aziz is trying to gain the upper hand over her husband, who operates a seedy nightclub but stays on the good side of law enforcement with well-timed donations to police charities. Aziz's scheming follows a fairly predictable path, and there's not much suspense about the outcome. Through the eyes of an eccentric collection of beat cops, Wambaugh gives a compelling picture of what policing is like under the federal monitor appointed to oversee the real LAPD after the Rampart corruption scandal, but characterizations are on the thin side and some readers may find the callous cruelty off-putting. (Mar. 25)