The legendary Hollywood Hills are home to wealth, fame, and power - passing through the neighborhood, 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 onscreen fame. He may get his shot when he catches the appreciative eye of B-list director Rudy Ressler, and his troublemaking fiance, Leona Brueger, the older-but-still-foxy widow of a processed-meat tycoon. Nate tries to elude her crafty seductions, but consents to keep an eye on their estate in the Hollywood Hills while they're away.
Also minding the mansion is Raleigh Dibble, a hapless ex-con trying to put the past behind him. Raleigh is all too happy to be set up for the job - as butler-cum-watchdog - by Nigel Wickland, Leona's impeccably dressed art dealer. What Raleigh doesn't realize is that under the natty clothes and posh accent, Nigel has a nefarious plan: two paintings hanging on the mansion's walls will guarantee them more money than they've ever seen.
Everyone's dreams are just within reach--the only problem is, this is Hollywood. A circle of teenage burglars that the media has dubbed The Bling Ring has taken to pillaging the homes of Hollywood celebutants like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and when a pair of drug-addled young copycats stumbles upon Nigel's heist, that's just the beginning of the disaster to come. Soon Hollywood Nate, surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, and the rest of the team at Hollywood Station have a deadly situation on their hands.
Hollywood Hills is a raucous and dangerous roller coaster ride that showcases Joseph Wambaugh in vintage form.
©2010 Joseph Wambaugh (P)2010 Hachette
This latest in Joseph Wambaugh's LAPD Hollywood Station series does not disappoint. Wambaugh's insight into human nature gives the listener multi-dimensional characters from every imaginable walk of life; his past experience as an LAPD officer provides the necessary "reality base" for the cops' perspective. But I have to say that Christian Rummel is the reason no reader who likes Wambaugh's humor, story line, and pathos can pass up this audible book. Rummel's ability to take on countless characters' voices, each completely different from any other, and his smooth, extremely easy-to-listen-to narration make this a must-have! Great addition to the series!
Look, if you want Pulitzer level fiction, this isn't it. What you get from Wambaugh's tales of this Hollywood PD unit is solid, fun storytelling and a memorable cast of characters that have been together long enough now (4 books' worth) to become nicely familiar. The core group, led by the surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, Snuffy Salcedo, and Hollywood Nate Weiss are the (audio)literary equivalent of comfort food, satisfying and warm. I hope to see another turn from both this crew and the reader, who did a terrific job in giving each character a unique voice.
This story didn't work for me at all. The writing and character development are no better than what you'd expect from someone taking their first fiction/crime writing course. As someone who knows the LAPD intimately, I'm also confused by the various department-specific references, some of which are current to the story (consent decree) and others that are outdated (rovers vs Astros). But the main issue is the story and dialogue. Sorry
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