by Sukey HowardJune 2008
Tough times in Hollywood
Former LAPD Detective Sgt. Joseph Wambaugh has 17 priors - bestsellers that is, not arrests. In Hollywood Crows, he's back on his home turf, the seamy underside of Hollywood, where a crew of non-uniform uniforms, including many favorites who appeared in Hollywood Station, do their best to keep the peace among the tweekers, crackheads, street character hustlers and other assorted law-breaking Hollywood weirdoes. But trouble can lurk in the high-rent district, too, and when it comes in the form of Margot Aziz, the devastatingly gorgeous, soon-to-be ex-wife of a wealthy strip club owner, it amps up the fatal in femme fatale. Margot wants everything her husband has, wants him gone and needs a cop to help carry out her murderous mischief. Two good cops, now "Crows" assigned to the LAPD's Community Relations Office, unknowingly fit the bill. Whoever falls for Margot's magic will regret it big time. Christian Rummel's narration adds grit and grim humor to this quintessential police procedural.
ON SPIN AND SPINNERS
"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff, and the president himself." That quote caused a flurry of excitement late last fall when Scott McClellan, President Bush's press secretary from 2003 to 2006, Bush loyalist and close aide from his Texas gubernatorial days, announced that in a new book, he was un-spinning some of the spin he'd spun: "This is not a book to settle scores. . . . What I want to do is write in detail about what I know and what I learned in hopes that this account will place the events of the time, particularly after September 11, 2001, into a framework that make sense to me, to readers and later, to historians." Now that book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington, read by McClellan himself, takes us behind the scenes of the Bush presidency and looks at exactly what happened to take it off course. He looks, too, at the lessons the current presidency offers as we move closer to the 2008 election.
AND THE BEAT GOES ON
Mma Ramotswe, aka the No. 1 detective of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, is back solving crimes and taking care of business in Alexander McCall Smith's The Miracle at Speedy Motors, charmingly narrated by the luscious-voiced Lisette Lecat.
Twenty-five years after publication, Mark Helprin's celebrated epic-length epic, Winter's Tale is, at long last, available on audio. Oliver Wyman reads this stunning blend of fantasy and realism that begins in late-19th-century New York.
Dr. Alex Delaware, child psychologist and all-round good guy, and Lt. Milo Sturgis, an openly gay, top-notch LAPD detective with attitude, aptitude and an amazing appetite for everything edible, are best friends and a crack crime-solving duo. They share top billing in Jonathan Kellerman's Compulsion, as they have in the 21 preceding books in this best-selling mystery series. It's performed by John Rubinstein, who has made this audio collection (he's recorded all 22) one of the best you'll find. This latest begins with a missing girl and a small bloodstain on the front seat of a snazzy Bentley, supposedly stolen and returned in a swank part of L.A. Gradually, a shape-shifting killer emerges from what seem like unconnected cold cases and the grizzly deaths take on the pattern of serial murders. It's a doozy that will take all of Alex's insights into the darker recesses of a warped mind and all of Milo's detecting savvy to solve.