The Glitter Dome
By Joseph Wambaugh
First Published: 1981
Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Modern Fiction, Police Drama, Comedy
The Glitter Dome by Joseph Wambaugh is a mixture of gritty police realism and laugh out loud comedy. This is one of the many excellent police dramas written by Wambaugh. All of his early books are great. In this novel, as in all of his novels, Wambaugh does a terrific job of describing real working cops with all their hopes, fears, and insecurities. In short, he shows that cops have the same problems as everyone else but with their job, they are exposed to all the worst aspects of society which tends to bring out the best and worst of the men and women in uniform.
The Glitter Dome delves into the world of the Hollywood detective division. This gives Wambaugh the perfect background to bring to life as diverse a cast of characters as you could imagine. When the investigation of a high profile studio president is going nowhere, the case is handed over to two experienced detectives, Al Mackey and Marty Welborn, who have a reputation for being able to solve the toughest cases, through creative means. For this case, they need help. They get it from a pair of vice cops, called the Ferret and the Weasel, and a pair of street cops commonly referred to as the street monsters thanks to their fondness for violence.
The comedy in The Glitter Dome is terrific if you appreciate “dark” humor and will make you laugh out loud more than a few times. Don’t expect political correctness. The scene where a gay rights activist is beaten up by both the cops and the gays he was trying to help is utterly hilarious. Some of Wambaugh’s books have as many disturbing and sad scenes as they do humorous scenes. This novel has decidedly more humor and a satisfying ending.If you like crime fiction, cop drama, or dark humor, don’t miss The Glitter Dome.