Hollywood Moon
Joseph Wambaugh
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Buy *Hollywood Moon* by Joseph Wambaugh online

Hollywood Moon
Joseph Wambaugh
Grand Central Publishing
480 pages
September 2010
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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This is the third in Wambaugh's 'Hollywood' series following on the tails of Hollywood Crows and Hollywood Station. We know these characters - Nate Weiss, Dana Vaughan, the surfer cobs Flotsam and Jetsam - and the seedy Hollywood streets they patrol. We also know that the writing is pretty unspectacular and the storylines not too deep. Still, we're drawn to the author's work in some guilty pleasure sort of fashion. We know that we're reading clichéd and tired prose, but we don't care because we've read every other Wambaugh book dating back to The New Centurions, and we won't feel complete until we've read his latest.

From the opening sentence, there is little here that will titillate on a literay level.

"Hollywood Nate rents midgets," the long-legged, sunbaked surfer cop whom the others called Flotsam said to his partner while 6-X-32 was passing Grauman's Chinese Theatre, cruising east on Hollywood Boulevard at twilight." It's just a terribly awkward sentence with stuff hanging out all over the place.
Sentence two is not much better.
"The dying spangled sunlight ricocheted off the windows of the taller buildings, and his shorter surfer partner, also weathered and singed, whom of course they called Jetsam, glanced at the driver through teh smoked lenses of his wraparound shades and said, 'What?'"
Wambaugh is not a terrific writer, but he does manage to create some mildly intriguing plots into which he injects his usually one-dimensional characters. But maybe that's his role: writing books that you can devour over the course of a couple of afternoons without giving them a whole lot of thought. There is something to be said about that.

Briefly, the cops in this one-track down Dewey Gleason, a failed actor and master of disguises who is into a lot of bad stuff. Along with his nagging wife and a couple of scruffy Hollywood hard types, Gleason puts together a plot to have his wife kidnapped so he can take all of the money they've accumulated by running identity fraud operations on multiple levels. All goes wrong in the end, of course - a police officer is killed in the line of duty (one is always killed in the line of duty in Wambaugh's books), and the stage is set to continue in succeeding books.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Steven Rosen, 2010

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