Lights, cops, action

A “Hollywood station” novel by Joseph Wambaugh is the next best thing to a ride-along with an L.A. cop—and you won’t have to worry about bullets, knives or needles anywhere near your person. Wambaugh’s not just another ex-cops turned mystery writer; he still harvests anecdotes from his current-cop friends about the pervs and perps of the Hollywood division. His signature style takes disparate characters and scams and guides them to a unified disaster. In his newest novel, two moons of crime orbit the division. Dewey Gleason, a clown with multiple aliases, is pulling identity thefts and con games devised by his dominatrix wife, Eunice. Meanwhile, young and dangerously psychotic Malcolm Rojas has his own identity issues—he’s using a box cutter in his fledgling career as a serial killer. The cops need to put the big picture together in order to get a grip on the lethal windup that was inevitable all along.