More gross-out adventures, Wambaugh-style, at the L.A. Police Department—with a murder investigation in Hollywood and side-trips into narcotics, kiddy porn, massage parlors, transvestitism, and police brutality. Again, like The Choirboys, this is more a montage of grotesque/grim/comic vignettes than a novel. But the main focus is on two miserable mid-40s detectives assigned to "clear"—by fakery, if necessary—the strange Sunset Blvd. murder of movie-studio chief Nigel St. Claire: Al Mackey, who's alcoholic, suicidal, sloppy, much-divorced, recently impotent; and cool, neat Martin Welborn, who's suffering from a marital separation and haunted by two of his cases (the murder of an informer, a horrid child-mutilation). So Mackey and Welborn start sleuthing around the movie studio. But their main clues are soon coming instead from farcically coincidental cases pursued by other cop-teams. . . like vicious narcs "Ferret" and "Weasel" or sadistic "street monsters" Buckmore Phipps and Gibson Hand. And these clues—involving a hustler/model (a pseudo-naive Marine), a teenage-runaway hooker, and other sleazy types—suggest that St. Claire had teamed up with a mystery man (in a Bentley) to recruit actors for kiddy porn. . .or maybe even a snuff movie. Yes, Hollywood's foulness is the theme here—as becomes blatantly clear when Mackey and Welborn attend (undercover) a big movie-world party: the guests mix their "metaphors of sex and money like a horde of hookers"; Mackey winds up with a revolting masochist who demands that he handcuff her ("I'm helpless, you filthy gorilla of a rapist!"); and Welborn falls for an actress. . .whose career-over-love attitude will help edge him into suicide. Serious stuff. Unfortunately, however, Wambaugh's mixture of cartoon-violence, station-house satire (a blowhard captain named Woofer), and emotional matters doesn't quite work this time around; the alcoholic cop in The Black Marble was more engaging and tragic than either of the similarly burned-out basket cases here. And the mystery plot itself goes nowhere fast. Still, those who reveled in The Choirboys' neanderthal hijinks will probably not be disappointed (there are chases, practical jokes, and one really disgusting slapstick sequence). And even more discriminating readers—who'll be annoyed by the overkill, the messy plotting, and the jarring shifts in tone—will continue to be impressed by Wambaugh's pungent dialogue and garishly convincing details.

Pub Date: June 15, 1981

ISBN: 0553272594

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1981

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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