Books: Really the Blues

THE NEW CENTURIONS by Joseph Wambaugh. 376 pages. Atlantic-Little Brown. $6.95.

Criminologists, law professors and judges have theories and ideas and observations about crime, but policemen know. Because they are just ordinary men, the burden of knowledge generally makes them clannish, somewhat smug and unusually prone to divorce and suicide. In the case of Joseph Wambaugh, a sergeant in the Los Angeles police department, firsthand knowledge has led to a workmanlike first novel, short on nuance, but notably convincing. It follows three L.A.P.D. rookies through five years on the force, climaxing in the terrorized disorder of the police effort to contain the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!