Review: Hollywood Hills
“Hollywood Nate” is a police officer in Hollywood with a Screen Actor’s Guild card. He’s just as interested in promoting his non-existent acting career as he is in enforcing the law. In an attempt to impress B-list director Rudy Ressler, he agrees to check on Ressler’s wealthy fiancée’s estate while she and Rudy are out of the country.
At the same time, Leona’s (Ressler’s fiancée) housekeeper becomes involved with an underhanded art dealer who hopes to replace two of Leona’s paintings with fakes. A couple of drug addicts, looking for something to steal, stumble on Leona’s estate and find themselves in the middle of an elaborate plan and they hope they can figure out a way to cash in on it.
When I was in high school or college, I devoured every Joseph Wambaugh book, I could get my hands on, so I was excited to have the opportunity to listen to his latest, Hollywood Hills, on audio. I’m not sure if my memory’s right, but I remember books like The Blue Knight and The Onion Field as being raw and gritty and Hollywood Hills had a more “campy,” for lack of a better word, feel to it.
There’s a lot going on in Hollywood Hills, but I never found the story line difficult to follow. I did find parts a little unbelievable – for instance one of the drug addicts quits cold turkey and decides she will go into rehab if they can make enough money from their blackmail scheme. One minute the most important thing in the world was scoring her next hit and the next minute, she’d quit cold turkey. There is some slang and lingo to get used to, and at first, I wondered if that would be difficult, but it wasn’t a problem at all.
I ended up liking, but not loving, this book. As I was looking for links for this review, I discovered it’s the fourth book in Wambaugh’s Hollywood Station series and I can’t help but wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read the previous books.
The audio version of this book is on 10 CDs and lasts about 11 hours. It’s read by Christian Rummel and he does a great job. His narration was flat a few times, but he is a master of voices, and definitely a reader to watch for.