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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

"Stark...orgiastic...brilliant. Wambaugh's finest book." ( Los Angeles Times)
  • Top 100 Mysteries of All Time (Mystery Writers of America)
100 Must-Read Thrillers (International Thriller Writers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Definitely Funny, Probably Offensive

Would you listen to The Choirboys again? Why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Choirboys?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Wambaugh classic.

Entertaining, humorous and thought provoking while still an easy read. Evocative narration, with good characterization.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wambaugh's Best

wambaugh's best fiction book about a watch of dysfunctional Patrol officers comes to life thanks to Oliver Wyman's great narration and character work. I must listen for fans of wambaugh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rocky
  • Vancouver Washington
  • 06-18-17

Great Reading

I've read this book manytimes. Joseph Wambaugh has many great titles like ("Walkin drum" )and many others. Read any one of them for a great sit down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not Politically Correct

Great story by Wambaugh and well narrated by Wyman. If you're offended by anything politically incorrect than this is not the book for you. Otherwise it's an entertaining work of fiction that's hard to put down,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It soothed me

The story, the narration .. I've listened to it more than once. The characters are endearing and genuine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Start of a Great Writing Career

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good Solid Story

If you could sum up The Choirboys in three words, what would they be?

Brutally honest humans

What other book might you compare The Choirboys to and why?

Glitter Dome, same author- more about old style police and LA cops.

Have you listened to any of Oliver Wyman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

N/A

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Good listen, held my attention.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

You don't have to be cynical to enjoy this read, but it helps. Each character is an over the top take on a characteristic I can place on a fellow officer that I either work with now, or have in the past. Now, none of them as intense as those in the book, but enough to remind me of them. I enjoyed the narrator's voice he applied to each of the characters. There was a mild but steady build up to a larger incident at the end that kept me listening. I highly recommend this read to any who are now, or have ever been, "on the job"

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Powerful dark humor

I can remember Joseph Wambaugh saying this was "the truest novel I've ever written" or words to that effect. It's a very raw, very honest portrayal of Los Angeles in the 1960s, seen through the jaded eyes of patrol cops. Parts are laugh out loud funny, and parts will bring tears to your eyes.

A note for modern readers--a lot of the language is very crude, including some racist and sexist language that would not get into print today. Like I say, though, it's honest, brutally honest in many places.