14 October 2013

Harbor Nocturne, by Joseph Wambaugh

This was an audio book.

An interesting story, well done, that deals primarily with a human trafficking case in which several would-be migrants to the USA lose their lives. The bad guys include a Ukranian and Korean gangster who have formed an unlikely and unholy alliance, and a low-level hustler from San Pedro who, in becoming their lackey, has found himself seriously out of his depth.

There is a central character, Dinko Babich, of Croatian ancestry, a young man who lives in San Pedro with his widowed mother. He falls in love with a young girl who has been illicitly transported from Mexico to work as a stripper. She is in deep trouble with the above-mentioned gangsters.

Woven in and out of the plot are a group of wonderful LAPD characters. There is the story of these police officers, that of the gangsters, the young Mexican girl, Dinko and his mother--and all of these stories play out together, rushing in and out of the focus of the novel like the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

And one mustn't forget Hollywood. Hollywood is all over, and all through this book. There are the super-hero impersonators, the stars in the pavement, and the insanity that is, in the words of the cops, "fucking Hollywood."

This was a terrific novel, of course, which provided a lot of boredom-relief on my commute for a few days.

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