Customer Reviews for

Harbor Nocturne

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Harbor Nocturne

Joseph Wambaugh and a new LAPD novel – not much more needs to be said, does it?

But I will anyway.

The characters in this novel fall into two groups: The cops [primarily in what used to be called the Hollywood Division, now Hollywood Station, a name more sensitiv...
Joseph Wambaugh and a new LAPD novel – not much more needs to be said, does it?

But I will anyway.

The characters in this novel fall into two groups: The cops [primarily in what used to be called the Hollywood Division, now Hollywood Station, a name more sensitive to the societal reaction to the old name - - typical of the sensitivity-training-filled culture imposed on the various precinct houses], and the denizens of Hollywood, mostly a mixture of various ethnicities – Asian, Hispanic, Eastern European – the majority of whom, it would seem, brought their less-than-honest proclivities with them from their native lands.

The cops with whom readers will be familiar from past Wambaugh novels are, happily, still here. As the book opens, the surfers, “Flotsam” and “Jetsam” [the latter now having a prosthetic leg following a recent incident], are discussing with 28-year-old Sergeant Thaddeus Hawthorne [nicknamed “Sgt. Edgar” for his resemblance to Edgar Allan Poe] his scheme designed to bust a particularly gruesome criminal enterprise headed by a man with a sexually-based fascination with amputated limbs, aided by the aforementioned surf rats.

Much of the action takes place in the town of San Pedro, whose churches offer Sunday Masses in Croatian, Italian and Spanish, where we meet Dinko Babich, who describes the town as one “where the ocean meets the ghetto.” Sitting out a suspension from his job at the docks as a longshoreman, he picks up money where he can, primarily doing odd jobs for “facilitator” Hector Cozzo [known as Hector the Collector] tonight entailing picking up a stunning 19-year-old Mexican girl, Lita Medina, from a strip bar near the harbor to a similar enterprise in Hollywood. Dinko is immediately smitten with the girl, ultimately acting as her protector when a series of events [including a couple of murders] threaten her and, by extension, Dinko.

The author’s extensive knowledge of, familiarity with and affection for the cops of LA is made very apparent. The non-PC and, one must assume, realistic terms of reference are abundant throughout. Anything weirder than usual and otherwise inexplicable is explained as simply “this is f****** Hollywood!” and “the insanity of Hollywood will eventually overwhelm you.” Despite the fact that it starts out in low gear, the pace picks up as it goes along, and the book packs quite a wallop. Recommended.

posted by gloriafeit on April 3, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

A very poor example of a police novel. Joseph Wambaugh has becom

A very poor example of a police novel. Joseph Wambaugh has become the type of "dime store trash novel" authors that are so ubiquitous today that his novels just seem to run together as one big, hazy blur. It has become very difficult to distinguish any of his ...
A very poor example of a police novel. Joseph Wambaugh has become the type of "dime store trash novel" authors that are so ubiquitous today that his novels just seem to run together as one big, hazy blur. It has become very difficult to distinguish any of his last 3-4 novels from each other. Joseph Wambaugh is also very convinced that he is the only person in the world who "understands" the cop culture. Mr. Wambaugh uses far too much "cop specific jargon", "gang specific jargon" and "teenage specific jargon" that he thinks is funny but is just so much "ho hum" humor that add very little to the character of the book. Mr. Wambaugh seems bent on defending the LAPD for the rest of his life despite the arrogance, hubris and outright contempt displayed by that organization towards all of society [even towards other police agencies] except for their own kind.. Mr. Wambaugh has spent the better part of the last 2 decades writing dime store type novels that depict and portray the male police officer as a weak, sniveling, drunken, suicidal degenerate and naively portrays all female officers as a "gift from heaven"..Writing this critique from someone who has been in the police profession for the past 30 years, Wambaugh's approach to police work in his low grade novels has become hopelessly simplistic and is fast becoming his standard for his novels..His latest novels seem to be "cut, copy and paste" cookie cutter versions of his previous novels...He would be better off spending his time researching a real life true crime story and doing some real investigative work writing the story on that subject, rather than churning out cheap novel after cheap novel that might take a couple of months to write and publish...However that would take some real journalistic effort on his part and frankly I don't see him up to the task....Save your money and buy a much better book that just came out entitled "Killing The Messenger" by Thomas Peele, a true crime story about the murder of Oakland CA Journalist Chauncey Bailey several years prior. This book was written by a real journalist who spent alot of painstaking years researching his subject before writing an excellent true crime story....

posted by CaligulaMP on April 6, 2012

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Harbor Nocturne

    Joseph Wambaugh and a new LAPD novel – not much more needs to be said, does it?

    But I will anyway.

    The characters in this novel fall into two groups: The cops [primarily in what used to be called the Hollywood Division, now Hollywood Station, a name more sensitive to the societal reaction to the old name - - typical of the sensitivity-training-filled culture imposed on the various precinct houses], and the denizens of Hollywood, mostly a mixture of various ethnicities – Asian, Hispanic, Eastern European – the majority of whom, it would seem, brought their less-than-honest proclivities with them from their native lands.

    The cops with whom readers will be familiar from past Wambaugh novels are, happily, still here. As the book opens, the surfers, “Flotsam” and “Jetsam” [the latter now having a prosthetic leg following a recent incident], are discussing with 28-year-old Sergeant Thaddeus Hawthorne [nicknamed “Sgt. Edgar” for his resemblance to Edgar Allan Poe] his scheme designed to bust a particularly gruesome criminal enterprise headed by a man with a sexually-based fascination with amputated limbs, aided by the aforementioned surf rats.

    Much of the action takes place in the town of San Pedro, whose churches offer Sunday Masses in Croatian, Italian and Spanish, where we meet Dinko Babich, who describes the town as one “where the ocean meets the ghetto.” Sitting out a suspension from his job at the docks as a longshoreman, he picks up money where he can, primarily doing odd jobs for “facilitator” Hector Cozzo [known as Hector the Collector] tonight entailing picking up a stunning 19-year-old Mexican girl, Lita Medina, from a strip bar near the harbor to a similar enterprise in Hollywood. Dinko is immediately smitten with the girl, ultimately acting as her protector when a series of events [including a couple of murders] threaten her and, by extension, Dinko.

    The author’s extensive knowledge of, familiarity with and affection for the cops of LA is made very apparent. The non-PC and, one must assume, realistic terms of reference are abundant throughout. Anything weirder than usual and otherwise inexplicable is explained as simply “this is f****** Hollywood!” and “the insanity of Hollywood will eventually overwhelm you.” Despite the fact that it starts out in low gear, the pace picks up as it goes along, and the book packs quite a wallop. Recommended.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Why is this still selling for $14.85? The hard cover is only $1

    Why is this still selling for $14.85? The hard cover is only $15.84, and the paperback is $9.99. Amazon is $12.99. If you consider printing, shipping, and inventory and personnel costs of selling books in the store. why isn't the ebook version a lot less expensive?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2012

    A very poor example of a police novel. Joseph Wambaugh has becom

    A very poor example of a police novel. Joseph Wambaugh has become the type of "dime store trash novel" authors that are so ubiquitous today that his novels just seem to run together as one big, hazy blur. It has become very difficult to distinguish any of his last 3-4 novels from each other. Joseph Wambaugh is also very convinced that he is the only person in the world who "understands" the cop culture. Mr. Wambaugh uses far too much "cop specific jargon", "gang specific jargon" and "teenage specific jargon" that he thinks is funny but is just so much "ho hum" humor that add very little to the character of the book. Mr. Wambaugh seems bent on defending the LAPD for the rest of his life despite the arrogance, hubris and outright contempt displayed by that organization towards all of society [even towards other police agencies] except for their own kind.. Mr. Wambaugh has spent the better part of the last 2 decades writing dime store type novels that depict and portray the male police officer as a weak, sniveling, drunken, suicidal degenerate and naively portrays all female officers as a "gift from heaven"..Writing this critique from someone who has been in the police profession for the past 30 years, Wambaugh's approach to police work in his low grade novels has become hopelessly simplistic and is fast becoming his standard for his novels..His latest novels seem to be "cut, copy and paste" cookie cutter versions of his previous novels...He would be better off spending his time researching a real life true crime story and doing some real investigative work writing the story on that subject, rather than churning out cheap novel after cheap novel that might take a couple of months to write and publish...However that would take some real journalistic effort on his part and frankly I don't see him up to the task....Save your money and buy a much better book that just came out entitled "Killing The Messenger" by Thomas Peele, a true crime story about the murder of Oakland CA Journalist Chauncey Bailey several years prior. This book was written by a real journalist who spent alot of painstaking years researching his subject before writing an excellent true crime story....

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    A Must for Wambaugh Fans

    I've read every book Joseph Wambaugh has written and this one does not disappoint. It is a continuation of the Hollywood Station series so the featured characters are like old friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Another excellent installment in the Hollywood Station series.

    I've been to LA many times but only once to San Pedro as I was embarking on a cruise. In addition to his usual great depiction of life in the LAPD, Wambaugh shows us a San Pedro that cruise ship passengers (and even most LA residents) haven't seen. Altogether a very worthwhile read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    Another great book by Joseph Wambaugh. He really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wambaugh’s readers know of the quality writings he puts ou

    Wambaugh’s readers know of the quality writings he puts out for all of us to enjoy. Harbor Nocturne is no exception. He basically takes you into a big city police force and before you know it, you are there in the briefing room, on a beat, in a squad car, chasing someone down a street, raiding a building, being a part of an undercover operation, or any one of many police actions. You find yourself using some of the language, not always decent, that they use or hear at their many locations of work. You will visit with them at their favorite pastime locations and watch them drink too much and usually say too much.

    One of the cops worked on the force with a prosthetic foot that he received when in a work-related accident some years ago and he was still very proficient at police work so he was allowed to continue on the job. A prostitution ring had a customer that wanted to be with someone with prosthetic equipment such as this cop had. This same ring also had a lot of involvement from a very bad foreign element with illegal girls that were tightly controlled by the leaders of this ring. The police figured this “prosthetic fetish” would be a great way to get into the gang and eventually bust them. They would murder you faster than you could do them a favor, especially if they suspected you were either trying to cheat them or double-cross them. Not the kind you would take home to mother. But, believe it or not, one of the lower men with a slight connection to the ring actually made a good friend of one of the gorgeous girls and did take her home to mother, being very much in love with her. What a circle of events this created in the mob, the police force, and out in the streets.

    The story had many connections with dockworkers. Dinko Babich was a young longshoreman who was on suspension from one infraction or another, whichever the union decided. It was Dinko that met the beautiful prostitute through some of his dealings with the lower positioned ringleaders and he persuaded Lita to come and stay with himself and his family. This is only one small part of the book. The actions and reactions of the mob, the police, the dockworkers, both business and personal connections keep the reader going and, in my case, made me shake my head wondering how people can live like this. It is non-stop action that you will enjoy. The small bits I have described are far exceeded by many more similar and possibly stranger in character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    A must for anyone that has ever worn "The Badge"

    True Wambaugh style of real life police drama. The perfect mix of emotions, tragedy, and humor that law enforcement officers everywhere live daily. Another great sequel in the Hollywood Station story line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2012

    Great read kept me riveted to the book for days.

    Characterizations were excellent and believable people who kept you on a ride from the start to the finish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Another good Hollywood Tale

    Wambaugh did a good job on this one. The same set of characters from previous books involving Hollywood Station make an appearance, including Nate Weiss, Jetsam & Flotsam, Brittany Smalls, and deadpan Sgt. Murillo. All in all, I thought this wss just another good cop book about LA.

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  • Posted July 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend!

    Joseph Wambaugh..always delivers. Harbor Nocturne is about the day to day operations of the San Pedro Califrornia police force. Yet Mr. Wambaugh, makes sure that the reader can feel and picture the positive and negative sides of the city. The story centers around the murder of a female stripper who happens to be an immigrant, and the sleazy work environment, that is part of her life. The author weaves various tales into the story which all connect at the end.

    The book is well written and well thought, without losing you in the details. It is a sterling edition of the realities of police work. Mr. Wambaugh's description of the neighborhood, the characters, the crimes, are all interwoven to make you want to keep turning the pages.

    I highly recommend this read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    MUST READ

    A FAN SINCE "THE ONION FIELD"
    GROWING UP IN THE HARBOR AREA BROUGHT THIS STORY
    CLOSER TO HOME.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Here's Wambaugh!

    I just finished re-reading the "Hollywood" novels(they're better the second time) and I am sure to enjoy this new offering.

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  • Posted May 17, 2012

    Amazon is selling this Ebook for 12.99?

    Amazon is selling this Ebook for 12.99?

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  • Posted May 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    NOT "THE CHOIR BOYS"

    I have been a devoted reader of Wambaugh. His non-fiction work is great. This piece of fiction is not up to what I know as Wambaugh's work. Slow, complicated character development.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    unexpectedly great

    I loved this book as i do all of joseph wambaugh books. My advice to all if you have enjoyed reading this authors Hollywood series you will no doubt enjoy Harbor Nocturne.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Loved this one. Wrote a review over on Amazon (sorry, they sent

    Loved this one. Wrote a review over on Amazon (sorry, they sent me a publisher's proof) ... check under 5-star review by Crabseye.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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