Paperback ↠ The Choirboys PDF å

Paperback ↠ The Choirboys PDF å


The Choirboys ❮Reading❯ ➽ The Choirboys ➶ Author Joseph Wambaugh – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Partners in the Los Angeles Police Department, they re haunted by terrifying dark secrets of the nightwatch shared predawn drink and sex sessions they call choir practice Each wears his cynicism like Partners in the Los Angeles Police Department, they re haunted by terrifying dark secrets of the nightwatch shared predawn drink and sex sessions they call choir practice Each wears his cynicism like a bulletproof jockstrap each has his horror story, his bad dream, his night shriek He is afraid of his friends he is afraid of himself.

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  • Paperback
  • 368 pages
  • The Choirboys
  • Joseph Wambaugh
  • English
  • 14 October 2017
  • 0752851314

About the Author: Joseph Wambaugh

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant , is the bestselling author of twenty one prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field Wambaugh joined the Los Angeles Police Department LAPD in He served years, rising to detective sergeant He also attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees In , he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America He lives in southern California.



10 thoughts on “The Choirboys

  1. Kemper Kemper says:

    Despite being a big crime mystery fan, I m not really into the scores of police procedural novels or dozens of TV shows that litter the networks these days For me, all of these stories try to portray the various kinds of cops as politically correct robots who go about their jobs with a kind of determined detachment except for maybe the occasional bit of angst to add a little faux drama to the mix To get me interested in a cop story these days, it has to be some kind of ultra realistic look at Despite being a big crime mystery fan, I m not really into the scores of police procedural novels or dozens of TV shows that litter the networks these days For me, all of these stories try to portray the various kinds of cops as politically correct robots who go about their jobs with a kind of determined detachment except for maybe the occasional bit of angst to add a little faux drama to the mix To get me interested in a cop story these days, it has to be some kind of ultra realistic look at the bureaucratic nightmare of real police work like The Wire Or be an epic tragedy with corrupt characters like The Shield Or have some kind of offbeat protagonist that interests me like Raylan Givens on Justified But show me those soulless pretty people tracking serial killers by getting their DNA tests done in three minutes on a CSI show and my eyes glaze over.Joseph Wambaugh worked the LAPD in the 1960s 70s, and during an era when cops were almost invariably portrayed as square jawed heroes, he wrote novels that dared to show the police as very flawed, damaged and relatable human beings For my money, probably his best work along those lines was The Choirboys.The book begins with the LAPD brass in an uproar about a potential scandal involving a killing during a choir practice As they try to figure out a way to spin the story and minimize the damage, we get the impression that a bunch of police officers went on a drunken rampage and somebody died as a result.Wambaugh then shifts through the events leading up to the death by following 5 pairs of uniformed police officers working out of LA s Wilshire division There s the tough veteran Spermwhale Whalen about to get his 20 years in Baxter Slate is a former classics student haunted by a disastrous tour working Juveniles Roscoe Rules is a racist moron with knack for taking the most routine calls and turning them into riots Sam Niles has been stuck with his annoying partner and supposed best friend, Harold, since they were in Vietnam together Spencer is a clothes horse who works his police discount to buy high end retail stuff at wholesale prices The rest of the so called choir boys are also a collection of misfits with disastrous personal lives.The cops engage in what they call choir practice where they go to MacArthur Park with cases of booze they ve mooched from liquor store owners, and then they proceed to get totally pants shitting howl at the moon drunk while gang banging a pair of police groupies Doesn t make them sound very appealing, does it What Wambaugh shows is that these choir practices are usually the direct result of the horrible things the cops routinely have to deal with while constantly being harassed by their bosses for violations of petty rules while ignoring the emotional well being of the officers The worst part of it is that while the choirboys are routinely abused while dealing with parade of ignorant lowlifes and see the worst that people can do to themselves and each other, it s all so achingly common place that they can t musterthan slight contempt and dark humor Until they see something so horrible that they call for a choir practice to block it out with booze and meaningless sex.The intellectual Baxter puts Wambaugh s theme into words while giving a drunken lecture during a choir practice I mean that the weakness of the human race is stupefying and that it s not the capacity for evil which astounds young policemen like you and me Rather it s the mind boggling worthlessness of human beings There s not enough dignity in mankind for evil and that s the most terrifying thing a policeman learns What keeps this book from being just a depressing look into the abyss is that it s black cop humor is constant There s almost nothing that happens that can t be made into sick humor and there s no asshole boss so irritating that he can t be the victim of an ingenious prank for revenge It s crude and socially unacceptable, but it s really damn funny, too.Rereading this in 2011, I could only imagine the howls of outrage if something like the choirboys became a media scandal A gang of drunken cops abusing their badges to score free liquor for binge drinking and pulling trains on a couple of cocktail waitresses in a public park would get a whole lot of people fired these days, but the great thing about Wambaugh is the way he convinces you that that the choirboys were usually good cops deserving of respect and sympathy

  2. Checkman Checkman says:

    So that was The Choirboys Interesting Alright how to review this novel There have been a few fellow Goodread reviewers who have asked me how the book stacks up to the real thing Is is it accurate and truthful Are cops really like that and so on and so forth After giving it some thought I think the best way to approach this reviw is to break it into sections So here goes ACCURATE TRUTHFUL with some reservations The book is mostly a series of events leading up to a tragedy There is no So that was The Choirboys Interesting Alright how to review this novel There have been a few fellow Goodread reviewers who have asked me how the book stacks up to the real thing Is is it accurate and truthful Are cops really like that and so on and so forth After giving it some thought I think the best way to approach this reviw is to break it into sections So here goes ACCURATE TRUTHFUL with some reservations The book is mostly a series of events leading up to a tragedy There is no central plot involving a criminal mastermind, criminal conspiracy or an investigation We are introduced to many different officers and different experiences they have both professionally and personally The events are tragic, hilarious, semi serious, bizarre, disgusting and horrific Some of these events took me back to calls I ve been on in the past.I can remember a suicide in which the victim used a magnum revolver on himself, dealing with a drunk driver who was totally naked except for his fishing hat , and almost shooting another officer when he ran up behind me when I was looking for a suspect who had just beaten another person to the point of death with a claw hammer The struggle to stay awake during the long stretches of nothing and the non stop craziness when call after call is stacked up and there is just not enough officers to go around The unexpected violence, the smell now that s something that one can only experience first hand The smells that cops experience.Sorry but the Internet will never convey that experience and the grinding of the teeth when one s instinct demands that a suspect be pounded, but the law and society says otherwise Wambaugh accurately conveys the anger, irritations, humor, pathos, boredom, fear and exhilaration that is part and parcel of police work He does a very good job in that respect.I ve known cops who have crashed and burned I worked for several years with an officer who fought a losing battle with alcohol and had a couple failed marriages He finally killed himself I ve known other former officers who made some really bad choices mostly having to do with sex of course and lost their jobs In a couple cases they also went to prison It happens The officers depicted in this novel are based on actual cops I wish I could say that my profession is made up of god like people, but that would be a crock and everyone knows it NOT SO TRUTHFUL in my humble opinion There are a few things to keep in mind when reading this novel First of all I have gotten the impression based on reading and instinct that Wambaugh had pretty much resigned from the L.A.P.D in spirit ,if not body, by the time he began writing The Choirboys He had already had a couple best sellers in The New Centurions and The Blue Knight and it was time to commit full time to his writing career Knowing that he was going to resign before Choirboys was published Wambaugh uses the novel as his chance to vent about all those things that he didn t like about the L.A.P.D Why not He was wealthy or getting there real quick and he didn t need the job any That tends to make one braver As a result the book presents a very slanted view of the department s administration I ve been in the profession of law enforcement for over fourteen years and I work for a much smaller department 65 officers vs thousands of officers like L.A.P.D Our administration has made decisions that have irritated me as well However administration has a very tough job involving pressures that I don t experience at my level and I m okay with that I don t believe that everyone past the rank of sergeant is an absolute and total idiot Which is the impression that Wambaugh conveys in this book Really All of them If that was the case I m surprised that anyone got paid and the fleet kept running not to mention the lights and water keep running yes police departments have to pay for utilities No it s too much I think that Wambaugh was influenced by the time period when he wrote the book The serious anti establishment attitude that was so prevalent in the early seventies It slants the book and gives it an air of unreality I also believe that it s sour grapes He was getting ready to quit and he had had enough So basically he is giving the finger to the department and that s all there is to that The officers that the book focuses on are screw ups Make no mistake they re bad cops most of them in so many ways Misogynistic, alcoholic, abusive, corrupt, racist, and so on Any police department worth it s salt would get rid of those officers as fast as it could if it had any sense whatsoever But they are purposefully exaggerated characters and they are based loosely I hope on actual L.A.P.D cops that Wambaugh had either heard about or knew In Choirboys he brought all these cops together and put them in the same division on the same watch While one will always have one or two colorful officers on any team you probably won t have ten of those officers working together.We don t have choir practices in my department We I work a twelve hour shift not an eight hour shift I work as a one man car ,not a two man car, meaning that I deal with everything on my own I don t have a partner to divide up the work load A a result when my shift is over I m tired I go home to the wife and kids I ve been married for twenty three years and I don t screw around on my wife However that s just me The book was written over forty years ago and there have been big changes not only within the L.A.P.D., but in America law enforcement and American society in general for example there are manywomen now wearing badges and they are on the road Try to keep that in mind when reading this novel Please CONCLUSIONA pretty good book all in all I found the chapter near the end in which there is a blow by blow accounting of a choir practice to be rather tedious It dragged on too long Obnoxious drunks are obnoxious drunks Doesn t matter if they are cops or civilians I don t like obnoxious drunks and I found myself skimming through that chapter I wasn t offended by the various racial epitaphs nor should you be First of all the book is forty years old and second of all police work isn t a nice job It can get ugly at times and cops are called things and say things that aren t always real pleasant If you re sensitive about such things and no I am not making fun of you if you are then don t read this novel However by today s standards it s actually pretty mild with a few notable exceptions So if you are curious about what a patrolman experiences and it is about the patrol experience not the detective then give The Choirboys a read Just remember what I wrote It isn t a real pleasant read, but you might find it rather enlightening

  3. S.P. Aruna S.P. Aruna says:

    If you only want to read one book by Joseph Wambaugh, this should be it That was my objective While his earlier novels made cops out to be unambiguous good guys, this one makes an attempt, a bit satirical perhaps, to tell it like it is.You might want to call it a black comedy, or perhaps a police force version of Catch 22, but for me it was a very naked, inside look at the social and psychological challenges of being a police officer, particularly for those with serious personality flaws to If you only want to read one book by Joseph Wambaugh, this should be it That was my objective While his earlier novels made cops out to be unambiguous good guys, this one makes an attempt, a bit satirical perhaps, to tell it like it is.You might want to call it a black comedy, or perhaps a police force version of Catch 22, but for me it was a very naked, inside look at the social and psychological challenges of being a police officer, particularly for those with serious personality flaws to begin with, despite the sometimes lampoonish portrayl of the novel s characters.It is important to keep in mind that Wambaugh was an active duty police officer when he started writing, until he decided to write this one when he quit after 14 years, knowing this book would give him flak As such, the novel presents valuable insights into the nature of what is wrong with police departments in large cities in the US In the book, we have a sample of 10 policemen, a large enough sample I should think, and every one of them is dysfunctional The power of the uniform, brute excessive force, substance abuse, psychological stress, strained domestic relationships, etc., all added up to the downfall of the choirboys It also illustrates the Us and Them attitude, with these guys so socially isolated, that they spend most of their off duty time with each other They feel that many of the people they re paid to protect are not unlike the suspects they arrest.We can assume that the basis for the characters is drawn from Wambaugh s time in the LAPD, and suggests several things that need to be done, with the foremost being a comprehensive psychological evaluation of all candidates wanting to be law enforcement officers, and similar procedures for weeding out the bad ones, and addressing the conditions that make for bad cops Grim and morbid, spiced with scenes of twisted, deviant, even sickening humor, this novel is not for everyone.Now a rant about the movie I saw the film after I read the book, and it was such a mess I couldn t recognize it It seems they got the wrong director, Robert Aldrich, to make it A quote from Wikipedia, Aldrich stated, I don t find the fact that cops can t cope particularly rewarding I can t relate to it I don t know how to feel sorry for a cop He also said I disagree with Wambaugh to such an extent that I don t think people really like cops Fair enough, except the result waslike another installment of Police Academy, just as stupid but not even funny Wambaugh went into a rage, and he sued the production company and was paid 1 million in compensation Hows that

  4. Szplug Szplug says:

    Whereas The New Centurions was a rather grey and grimy introductory work, The Choirboys was a raunchy and grinning buzzbomb of a shock, delivered when I was still young enough to hold that cops were a far different,upright and austerely dignified breed of human than the noodle legged, drunken clowns carousing and stumbling about MacArthur Park so perfectly etched by Wambaugh Here was a group of average schmoes punching the clock, dealing with the annoying and overbearing bureaucratic Whereas The New Centurions was a rather grey and grimy introductory work, The Choirboys was a raunchy and grinning buzzbomb of a shock, delivered when I was still young enough to hold that cops were a far different,upright and austerely dignified breed of human than the noodle legged, drunken clowns carousing and stumbling about MacArthur Park so perfectly etched by Wambaugh Here was a group of average schmoes punching the clock, dealing with the annoying and overbearing bureaucratic pricks who lounged about their headquarters offices and dreamed up new means of obstructing and wearing down the patrolmen, and interacting with the dregs of Los Angeles society, a badly wounded, messed up, selfish, impulsive, and intoxicated tribe, as likely to receive impatient blows from LA s finest as an understanding and reasoned professional intervention.The nightly bullshit sessions in the park, where the beer flows freely, the anecdotes, complaints, and creatively augmented war stories get passed around as easily as the rumpled barmaids who donate their bodies for recreational activities, and the Choirboys struggle to make sense of their lot in life of the ugliness and violence that trails them like a shadow when they hit the streets, always threatening to overtake them and interfere with their penny ante dreams and schemes are the best part of the book, providing a hinge between the adventures the various partners encounter amidst the dirt and grit of low end neighborhoods In particular, the misanthropic pressure cooker Roscoe Rules and Whaddayamean Dean who, when drinking, quickly loses his ability to dothan grin, drool, and repeatedly ask the question that provided him with his nickname are great creations, the lead performers in provoking the laughter that broke out time and again whilst I read this entertaining and at the time eye opening book

  5. Aditya Aditya says:

    James Ellroy, who incidentally provides a great introduction to the book cited this as an inspiration and had my interest piqued But nothing could have prepared me for The Choirboys It is simultaneously one of the funniest and bleakest book I have ever read, a crime book that doubles as satire Wambaugh about to quit LAPD after fourteen years, unloads years of pent up frustration here somehow converting it into a crime classic This is as raw and crude as it gets It imagines LAPD as a combina James Ellroy, who incidentally provides a great introduction to the book cited this as an inspiration and had my interest piqued But nothing could have prepared me for The Choirboys It is simultaneously one of the funniest and bleakest book I have ever read, a crime book that doubles as satire Wambaugh about to quit LAPD after fourteen years, unloads years of pent up frustration here somehow converting it into a crime classic This is as raw and crude as it gets It imagines LAPD as a combination of inept administrators and mentally shot street cops Stupidity is ingrained in the first group and depravity institutionalized in the second Wambaugh aims to shock and succeeds without being solely defined by it.This is thematically most similar to One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest rather than any crime book Anti authority sentiments dominate the narrative and neither has an iota of sentimentality towards their characters The rebels The Choirboys are full time losers They hold on to a pugnacious cynicism because it helps them forget that their prospects are deader than a fish that has been out of water for months While the antagonists are bumbling officious fools resorting to petty tyranny as that is the only way for them to get their kicks In a memorable example, a captain asks his underlings to offer an elaborate introduction to 911 calls This is meant to soothe potential Good Samaritans, instead it gets a heart attack patient killed because he never gets to ask for an ambulance while a cop drones on at the other end of the phone The titular Choirboys are five pair of LAPD patrolmen who have seen so many things going wrong on the job that their only coping mechanism is organizing choir practices every other week The choir practice is the act of getting totally wasted and gangbanging a couple of police groupies The book opens with the police top brass covering up a shooting at one of these parties Then it follows the pairs individually to show how completely off the rails things have to go for a human mind to essentially become a showcase of sexual perversions, psychological disorders and sucidial thoughts.There is not much in terms of a conventional plot It is completely episodic The Choirboys contain among others outright bigots Roscoe Rules, complete idiots Father Willie Wright, and frustrated underachievers Spermwhale Whalen and Baxter Slate Their sobriquets are explained while we follow them in incidents that are tonally all over the place A drunk dwarf with missing legs who exposes himself to passing women is hilarious A homeless eccentric who has to act violent to get admitted to a nuthouse instead of jail is heartbreaking A child abuse case leaves nightmares While a drunken plane ride is just too over the top and hence boring.The atmosphere is unparalleled and the prose is loaded with gallows humor It offers a gaze so unflinching that it makes you feel like a voyeur simply by virtue of reading it So this would not work without the wit It is the only way for the reader to wrap their head around the narrative which is an educational tour in the worst that the human race has to offer One choirboy s greatest wish There was a word as dirty as nigger to apply to all mankind. Another whines I know shit roles downhill But why am I always livin in the valley Wambaugh however has a tendency to get carried away and this needed oneedit It could easily lose fifty pages The choir practices get repetitive and the quality of hijinks the patrolmen get involved in drop over the course of the read However a strong ending and the book s uniqueness means I would let it pass Frankly this is like acting out your most perverted sexual kinks with your sister Illicit, fun and memorable but also the kind of experience that keeps the shrink in business Now you decide if that works for you Rating 5 5

  6. Scott Sigler Scott Sigler says:

    For writers, this book is a fantastic example of defining and developing memorable characters by showing their day to day, repetitive traits Wambaugh s characters pop fully formed into your head, set up shop, and hang out for the entire time you re reading the novel.It would have been a four star for me, except the repetitive traits became too repetitive Whaddaya Mean Dean s schtick quickly grew old Instead of his repetitive, oblivious questions being awesome seasoning, they became the full m For writers, this book is a fantastic example of defining and developing memorable characters by showing their day to day, repetitive traits Wambaugh s characters pop fully formed into your head, set up shop, and hang out for the entire time you re reading the novel.It would have been a four star for me, except the repetitive traits became too repetitive Whaddaya Mean Dean s schtick quickly grew old Instead of his repetitive, oblivious questions being awesome seasoning, they became the full meal The simplistic patterns of the characters seemed to largely ignore the realities around them.I get that this novel reflects a required attitude of law enforcement officers, in that they have to build up a thick wall of mental and emotional armor to do their job Part of that armor is ritualizing the daily drudgery in order to cope with a thankless job and the feeling that they rarely make an actual difference in the world I m guessing that Wambaugh nails that part of the cop life but, by the end, the Choir Practice scenes grew tiring Instead of being thrilled with every nuance of the work, as I was in the first half, I gradually grew to wonder when those scenes would end.Three stars, but again, if you re a writer, this book feels like a master class on how to create memorable secondary characters

  7. Ben Winch Ben Winch says:

    This was good Moving Funny It went on too long in places got lost in its own sexual scatalogical humour but it stayed interesting overall and kept me reading, mostly with enjoyment, through 400 pages, till the end I didn t read it for the quality of the prose, but the prose was good good enough I read it for the characters, the laughs, the glimpse of something foreign, exotic and mostly pretty much believable I read it cos I hit a few bumps in the road and felt like lying on the bed This was good Moving Funny It went on too long in places got lost in its own sexual scatalogical humour but it stayed interesting overall and kept me reading, mostly with enjoyment, through 400 pages, till the end I didn t read it for the quality of the prose, but the prose was good good enough I read it for the characters, the laughs, the glimpse of something foreign, exotic and mostly pretty much believable I read it cos I hit a few bumps in the road and felt like lying on the bed with a book I could escape into No evil thing can happen to a good man, either in life or in death So says Socrates somewhere late in the piece, and despite all that s dark and painful here I came away believing it On a side note, I m guessing there s a big Catch 22 influence the structure that keeps circling back on itself, the tragic incident in the vortex, the chapters devoted to specific characters rather than split up chronologically, the black humour Sure, it s slight overreach this ain t Catch 22 but it s easy to read, makes sense, keeps you guessing I liked it And, to some degree, it spoke to me

  8. Rob Damon Rob Damon says:

    Remember those times when you were a child, on those rare occasions when you were allowed to stay up late and you got to see what TV shows and films your parents watch after you d gone to bed If, like me, you are old enough to have been a child when it was unheard of, or very rare, to have a TV in your room, then you might relate to the previous sentence.Those nights, either because my parents were away and I was being looked after by a not so strict baby sitter, or was up late for some other u Remember those times when you were a child, on those rare occasions when you were allowed to stay up late and you got to see what TV shows and films your parents watch after you d gone to bed If, like me, you are old enough to have been a child when it was unheard of, or very rare, to have a TV in your room, then you might relate to the previous sentence.Those nights, either because my parents were away and I was being looked after by a not so strict baby sitter, or was up late for some other unforeseen event, were like small glimpses into what awaited me in years to come when I finally turned into an adult.Well, I don t know if it s because this book is about a bunch of 1970 s cops doing things that young children would never imagine a policeman gets up to , that this book reminds me of those nights I was able to watch late night TV and hear unshaven, greasy looking men talk about broads and tits , or see those broads and their tits on the screen in some gritty cop show where the character swore, smoked dope, shot people, and had sex.While reading this book, I was a child again, looking into the adult world and feeling nervous but excited about that world being my world one day There s no plot, but plenty of story In fact it reads almost like a journal, or a commentary of police life in 1970 s Los Angeles through the eyes of very real characters with names like Spermwhale , and Whatdoyamean Dean Amongst all the thugs, drunkenness, prostitute shagging, drug taking, odd shooting, and roll calls, this book convinces the reader that police are people just like the rest of us The writer, apparently, was a cop, and so this can be read as a first hand account of what life on the streets of LA was like back in those days I wonder if it s still the same Definitely worth a read for its realism

  9. Bernie Weisz Bernie Weisz says:

    Written by Bernie Weisz Historian Pembroke Pines, Florida e mail addresS BernWei1 aol.comTitle of Review The Choirboys An Authentic 1975 Predawn Nightmare In 1975, a Los Angeles Police Department officer turned novelist named Joseph Wambaugh wrote the controversial novel The Choirboys Still a hot book, Wambaugh wrote this almost 40 years ago What was happening in 1975 Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, the city of Saigon on April 30th was surrendered to the North Vietnamese Written by Bernie Weisz Historian Pembroke Pines, Florida e mail addresS BernWei1 aol.comTitle of Review The Choirboys An Authentic 1975 Predawn Nightmare In 1975, a Los Angeles Police Department officer turned novelist named Joseph Wambaugh wrote the controversial novel The Choirboys Still a hot book, Wambaugh wrote this almost 40 years ago What was happening in 1975 Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, the city of Saigon on April 30th was surrendered to the North Vietnamese and all remaining Americans were evacuated, thus ending America s role in the Vietnam War The U.S Apollo and the Soviet Soyuz spacecrafts took off for their historic July 15th link up in space Gerald Ford experienced two unsuccessful assassination attempts on his life, one by ex Charles Manson gang member Lynette Squeaky Fromme Muhammed Ali defeated Joe Frazier in the Thriller in Manilla , The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans to win the Super Bowl, and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Boston Red Sox in 7 games to capture baseball s fall classic , and Joseph Wambaugh penned The Choirboys The Choirboys was a tragicomedy that parodied the effects of urban police work on young officers, which Wambaugh exaggerated through the exploits of his characters, a group of Los Angeles police officers in the Wilshire Division of the L.A.P.D Wambaugh used a group of ten patrol officers as his main characters that held end of shift get together s which Wambaugh euphemistically coined choir practice It was sarcastically called choir practice to disguise the true nature of these meetings from their superior officers, which involved heavy drinking, complaints about their superior officers, war stories, and group sex with a pair of raunchy, overweight police groupie barmaids Wambaugh had these choir practices held in MacArthur Park, overviewing downtown Los Angeles Although a novel, MacArthur Park named after General Douglas MacArthur is a real park located at 2230 West 6th St., in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California Aside from Wambaugh s novel, MacArthur Park was featured as the setting in two movies, e.g Kiss Kiss Bang Bang , and Training Day Sardonically disillusioned, at these choir practices , each of Wambaugh s officers expresses differently that many of the fellow officers they work with are not unlike the suspects they arrest, and the absurd regulations of the L.A.P.D are oppressively enforced on them while their commanders who usually acquire their positions through nepotism, favoritism and are without basic police work skills indulge themselves hypocritically I do not want to be a plot spoiler , but I will mention that the theme of police officer suicide provides all the way to the end of this novel a grim undercurrent to the black humor and is suggestive of a subconscious motivation for all The Choirboy s activities The author, Joseph A Wambaugh, born January 22, 1937, was originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania He was the son of a police officer, and joined the U.S Marines at age 17 He works this into The Choirboys early, as he starts off with The Secret of The Cave , which is a description of two future police officers experiences while they were trapped in a cave near Khe Sanh, South Vietnam in 1967 This little vignette at the beginning of The Choirboys has later disastrous consequences at the conclusion of this book, as the reader will find out One of Wambaugh s characters, officer Sam Niles, due to the aforementioned Vietnam experience, developed severe claustrophobia, which later became a key factor in what Wambaugh called the MacArthur Park shooting Wambaugh married at 18, received a B.A and M.A degree from California State University in Los Angeles, and then joined the L.A.P.D in 1960 Rising from the rank of patrolman to detective sergeant, he served until 1974 Because he was amongst their ranks, Wambaugh had a unique perspective on police work which greatly assisted him in his first novel, The New Centurions , published in 1971 to critical acclaim and popular success Wambaugh actually remarked while working, I would have guys in handcuffs asking me for autographs Both The New Centurions and his second book, The Blue Knight were novels written while he was actively employed in law enforcement Quitting police work and turning to full time writing, The Choirboys was also the start of a new approach Where in his first two books, Wambaugh portrayed conventional and heroic fictional policemen as the basis for his characters, starting with The Choirboys , he began to use dark humor and outrageous incidents to emphasize the psychological peril inherent in modern urban police work Further, in The Choirboys , Wambaugh used names of many characters by often unflattering nicknames rather than given names e.g Herbert Spermwhale Whalen, Father Willie Wright and Henry Roscoe Rules It is no coincidence that Wambaugh left the L.A.P.D while writing The Choirboys as the reader will discover that in this book he became sharply critical of the command structure of the L.A.P.D and individuals within it, and later, of city government as well It is interesting to note that in 1977, The Choirboys was made into a film starring Louis Gossett, Jr and James Woods However, the movie lost the focus that Wambaugh so eloquently set forth in his novel Wambaugh s book had The Choirboys , i.e the five sets of L.A.P.D partners which, while on night watch, were joined together by the pressures of the job Wambaugh showed that this patrol squad was composed of men of varying temperaments and they chose to spend their pre dawn hours decompressing from the job in relaxing drink and sex sessions they deemed choir practice in MacArthur Park Wambaugh s thrust was that these men were endangered ultimately not by the violence of their jobs but by their choice of off duty entertainment However, in the film, the entire ending was changed by the producer Ostensibly to make itinteresting, the film showed Wambaugh s characters as a bunch of drunken debauchers, while the book had The Choirboys as sympathetic characters Ultimately the film was unsuccessful and critically panned Wambaugh himself refused to have his name associated with the film, as considered it to be an extremely poor interpretation of his novel For this reason, he is uncredited as it s creator In 1995, The Choirboys was selected by the Mystery Writers of America as 93 of The Top 100 Crime Novels of all Time But Wambaugh didn t stop there He has written a total of 19 nonfiction accounts of crime and detection and novels, with his most recent contribution to the literary field of Hollywood Station 2006 novel , Hollywood Crows 2008 novel and finally, as of this writing, Hollywood Moon 2009 novel However, The Choirboys will give you everything crime, humor, sarcasm, violence, sex, gore, war and muchA great book

  10. Phillip Thurlby Phillip Thurlby says:

    I m a gumshoe kinda guy I go for the classic, hard boiled stories in the form of Chandler and Hammett and often have some apprehensions when it comes to police procedural ish stories However, a colleague recommended this book to me and since I am working my way through the Crime Masterworks series I thought why not Boy am I glad I did The story revolves around 70s LA cops who each have their own vices and troubles as they try to tackle the grim world they are empowered to protect When I m a gumshoe kinda guy I go for the classic, hard boiled stories in the form of Chandler and Hammett and often have some apprehensions when it comes to police procedural ish stories However, a colleague recommended this book to me and since I am working my way through the Crime Masterworks series I thought why not Boy am I glad I did The story revolves around 70s LA cops who each have their own vices and troubles as they try to tackle the grim world they are empowered to protect When things get a bit much and they often do these cops call a Choir Practice , which is a booze and sex orgy, off duty in a public park.The story sets off in a fairly episodic structure, with each pair of officers having their own choir practice triggering strange and dark experience However, the intertwining of the characters and their stories is so deftly done that these dark and often humorous short stories are all pulling the characters together towards the final climax.But the plot is irrelevant it is the characters that make this story as brilliant as it is I can not remember a story with so many central characters that all remained unique and memorable Wambaugh s use of character nicknames is a mechanic that is as eloquent as it is simple and we are provided with a mini character portrait as soon as we find out the tag each character has been given by the other officers And whilst the characters are all rich with back story and mannerisms they never stray too far into the absurd They avoid being cartoonish and remain grounded real men SPOILER SORT OF But the most interesting thing about all of them their unifying feature and reason for the choir practices, is their vulnerability These men are scared, not of the street, not of those around them, but of what the job will do to them They are frightened of the day when they decide enough is enough and the fact that thedark things they deal with on the job the quicker they might arrive at the decision END OF SORT OF SPOILER This is a book I feel genuinely enriched to have read

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