Hollywood Station–Joseph Wambaugh


We need to have a serious talk about this book.

It’s the first book I read by Wambaugh, and it’s worth noting that he is a well-known and celebrated author of police procedurals, as well as a former LAPD cop himself.

As you know if you read along, I try to say as many nice things about books as possible because I appreciate the hard work that the authors have put in.

All of that having been said, I need to tell you this: THIS BOOK IS TERRIBLE.

Pros: it’s well done, the characters are well drawn and the writing is fine.


I will grant that this book was published in 2007, before the current emphasis on racism in policing, but this book made me very very uncomfortable. The cops in this book are hugely racist, misogynistic and occasionally anti-Semitic. If you were looking for a book that would demonstrate that the police in this country are racially biased, this is the one to pick.

I cannot think that was the author’s intention.

Irony alert: the cops are constantly chafing at the fact that the LAPD is under federal oversight following the Rodney King situation and how it makes the job of good cops harder because they are unfairly being targeted as racists.

And then in the next breath they spout some racist filth.

Also, the book starts with the cops driving through the ghetto, where there are loose dogs, playing “polo” by which they mean hitting the dogs in the head with their nightsticks. I almost stopped reading right there. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WAMBAUGH?!

No. Just…no. Do not buy this book, do not read this book. No.


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