Hollywood. Saturday night. A broken taillight leads to a routine traffic stop. It shouldn’t have changed the lives of the four men involved, but it did. The Onion Field is the frighteningly true story of a fatal collision of destinies that would lead two young cops and two young robbers to a deserted field on the outskirts of Los Angeles, towards a bizarre execution and its terrible aftermath.
The Onion Field is the basis for the movie starring James Woods and John Savage.
©1973 Joseph Wambaugh (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“More ambitious than In Cold Blood and equally compelling.” (The New York Times)
“Wambaugh is the best in the business.” (Kathy Reichs)
“No other writer illuminates the heart beneath the badge better or more honestly than Joseph Wambaugh" (Robert Crais)
Bibliophile, English Teacher, Wordsmith
This true story is of a murder that shocked the City of Angels, and became the impetus for dramatic change in police procedure, both in potential hostage situations, and, much later, in recognizing and understanding emotional trauma, PTSD, and survivor's guilt.
The characters are depicted with precision. I feel like I know them, or knew them, as the last of the four recently died (2012). Wambaugh is a master, a former policeman who writes with sensitive eloquence, an understanding of the people and places that makes his work leap off the page and seize your senses.
I first read this book many years ago and have never been free of its spell. The audiobook is even better. The memorable individuals, immortalized in this, Wambaugh's best work, continue to puzzle and fascinate. The onion field is very near what is now Interstate 5 in California's San Joaquin valley, just over the Grapevine from LA. I travel this road frequently, and never pass it without a nod and a prayer for the victims, the fateful events so hauntingly penned here, and the loss of innocence that touched so many people. Thank you, Joseph Wambaugh, for this historical treasure.
THIS IS A TRUE STORY. UNBELIEVABLE
POOR PARTNER WHO LIVES.
GETTING THE KILLER.
I WISH EVERY WAMBAUGH NOVEL WAS IN AUDIO FORMAT!!!
Fast paced and really enthralling. Wambaugh draws you in and never lets go. I love his books. Wish more were available on audible. Very credit worthy!
A very refreshing story told in a very unusual way - starting with the childhoods of the main protagonists and working through the crime and the subsequent drama in their lives. Fascinating details of how each of them is impacted by the crime and an enthralling read. Thoroughly recommended.
I am a voracious reader given the opportunity and can usually find some value in any book. I think there are only 3 books I never finished.
Better suited to someone who enjoys details of how someone's life has led them to this point.
No I will still try other books in this genre.
The narrator was fine.
I find the minutiae excruciating to read and would prefer more action
I got about half way before I gave up and still there was no onion field!
I love books and animals. I enjoy all sorts of genres, anything from history to supernatural.
This was a good book, but it felt as though it was longer than it should have been.
I think the author did a good job of injecting feeling and emotions into his work, but he included way too many details and was a bit too wordy. This reminded me of In cold blood by Truman Capote - but much wordier.
The narrator did a fantastic job - if it was not for this great narration I probably could not have finished this book.
This is my favorite true crime book. Joseph Wambaugh brings three dimensional personalities to these real life characters, without judging them; That is left up to the reader/listener. A mixture of comedy within this awful tragedy. Jonathan Davis is a superb narrator for this particular book. If you have seen the film (a must if not) Mr. Davis skillfully captures a fine interpretation of the actor's voices...especially James Wood.
Artist/crafter and writer
Joseph Wambaugh, a master at storytelling, I found this book almost too heard to continue listening... he puts you right in the middle of the event! At times too frightening!
I am so very disappointed. While this book may be well written, the audio version is the most awful audio book I have heard so far. I suppose this is an example of someone reading a book on some sort of depressant. He could not read slower if he tried. There are strangely long pauses between sentences and even mid-sentence. And then all of a sudden, he will go right from a current character description right into the next paragraph about "the gardener" -- which obviously is a completely separate thought -- with barely a breath. I am not sure if these are editing mistakes or this narrator is truly that bad.
It has taken almost an hour to introduce the first character and it appears this will be done for all 4 important characters. This book is about 18 hours and probably could be about 13.
I do not even know if I want to finish this book, as it is literally putting me to sleep. I started listening on 2x speed, which actually sounds more like normal speed, with a few spots that go a little faster than would be normal. Even with what would seem like some of the more fast-paced scenes, the narrator barely gets above his regular monotonous drone. It's as if his mother told him right before he recorded "now remember to speak slowly and annunciate."
I have purchased hard copies of some of Wambaugh's other novels and I hope he is a better author than this audio book makes him appear.
Glad I only paid a few bucks for this audio book. No wonder it was only a few bucks...
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