Thursday, February 2, 2012

Harbor Nocturne-Joseph Wambaugh

Harbor Nocturne

Joseph Wambaugh

Mysterious Press, Apr 3 2012, $27.00

ISBN: 9780802126108

Suspended for marijuana use on the job, longshoreman Dinko Babich is in the San Pedro section of Los Angeles when he stops at a bar. There he runs into his elementary school chum Hector Cozzo who says he bought the tall Mexican female dancer stripping on the stage and needs her taken to a Hollywood nightclub owned by Russians. When Dinko and nineteen year old Lita Medina Flores meet off-stage for the first time a shocking attraction occurs.

At around the same time Dinko and Lita set off caring sparks, thirteen dead Asians are found inside a shipping container. Two illegal females learning of the horrible demises flee for their lives while the traffickers pursue them. The Hollywood Hills Police Station works the case and a related illegal elective amputations investigation. Soon the longshoreman and the exotic dancer are caught in the crosshairs of the Russians, the local gangs, the human traffickers and LAPD including the usual Hollywood Hills Station regulars (Flotsam, Jetsam, Hollywood Nate and the real Britney, etc.).

This is a superb seemingly convoluted police procedural but the Grand Master Joseph Wambaugh deftly interweaves his dark thriller into a powerful cohesive story. Readers will enjoy visiting another section of Los Angeles while rooting for Dinko and Lita to make it against the impossible odds. The Hollywood Hills Station regulars are their zany selves as each combines vigil and dedication to eccentricity as Mr. Wambaugh once again provides a great wacky graveyard humorous look at the seediest side of America.

Harriet Klausner

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