Partners in the Los Angeles Police Department, they’re haunted by terrifying dark secrets of the nightwatch - shared predawn drink and sex sessions they call choir practice. Each wears his cynicism like a bulletproof jockstrap - each has his horror story, his bad dream, his night shriek. He is afraid of his friends–he is afraid of himself.
©1975 Joseph Wambaugh (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Stark...orgiastic...brilliant. Wambaugh's finest book." (Los Angeles Times)
100 Must-Read Thrillers (International Thriller Writers)
Joe Wambaugh used this book to climb out of the patrol car and into the libraries, movie screens and TV's of America.
Wambaugh was a LAPD street cop when he crafted this great novel of policemen, perps and after work parties. Written in the late 1970's,without the censorship of political correctness we now suffer under, Wambaugh makes you laugh and share the pain.
Hopefully you listen to any of Wambaughs more modern novels of Hollywood Station, but this is where he started and it is worth a brief detour into the 70's to listen.
I will listen to The Choirboys again; it's memorably funny and fast paced. As the novel is a series of vividly portrayed incidents involving various members of the LAPD nightwatch, it's easy to smile or wince at a particular anecdote - and then move on.
The narrator is especially good; his voice acting is incredible. He captures the different characters precisely. It's easy to distinguish the main characters from each other and fun to do so. Frankly, the narration adds so much to the book that I'd listen again to other books the narrator has performed.
It's hard to say which is the most memorable moment - there are so many intense ones. There's the time Roscoe Rules learned a lesson the hard way in "The Time My Balls Blew Up". There's Harold Bloomguard's hilarious footrace with two prostitutes who refused to surrender. Or Roscoe's macabre performance at the scene of a tragic auto accident. And there are the choir practices where some of the LAPD nightwatch share their experiences, cynicism and disillusions.
I read The Choirboys twenty years ago and I was amazed at how many scenes, expressions, quotes were still familiar to me. From the Roscoe's repeated threats to put a choke-hold on someone making them "do the chicken" (referring to their spasms) to Whaddayamean Dean's drunken questions. They were still familiar to me when I listened to the audio book. I read one to two books a week and it's rare that I have such strong recollections of so many scenes as I do with this novel.
That's very difficult to say. I'll go with the scene where Roscoe Rules and his partner arrive at what might have become a fistfight between a Black man and a Hispanic man - but which is calming down and dissipating - and Roscoe manages to enrage everyone. A beat down occurs but it's Roscoe who's on the receiving end.
There was a painfully vivid moment in one officer's background while working child abuse cases. All of the officers go to the drunken choir practices to let off steam and vent their emotions as a way of dealing with issues civilians rarely experience - but some incidents are more disturbing than others.
The officers are raunchy, vulgar and politically incorrect. Their attitudes with respect to women, civilians, homosexuals, racial minorities is dated; to put it mildly. They're not bad men though; they have taken a job that most of us could not handle for even a day and they generally get it done. The personal cost, though, is brutal and destructive. If it were not for Wambaugh's masterful black comedic timing the book would be hard to finish.
this is an earlier wambaugh ... dark, edgy, not as humerous or zany as the later Hollywood series ... narrator is excellent ... story is a character study, or, rather, multiple character studies (each of which is given a unique signature by Oliver Wyman) ... there are a lot of comic elements that don't appeal to me, personally, but will appeal to other senses of humor. thought provoking. you hope no law enforcement agency operated like this, but you fear some just might have.
Brutally honest humans
Glitter Dome, same author- more about old style police and LA cops.
Good listen, held my attention.
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