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The Black Marble

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  865 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
He is a damned good cop--a burned-out homicide detective wrapped around a Smith & Wesson .38 and a vodka bottle. She is his partner--twice divorced, nursing a grudge against men, obsessed by the awful temptation of love.
Paperback, 420 pages
Published September 2nd 1998 by Dell (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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After a slow start, Wambaugh gets really fun with his usual cynicism mixed with humor style. Sgt. Valnikov, a world weary cop, has been paired with Natalie in the burglary squad and they wind up investigating the theft of a potential Westminster Show winner. (If you haven’t seen Best in Show, you must.)

The interchanges between Natalie, who thinks Valnikov is just some dope addled cop, and Valnikov, who has his own worries, are priceless, not to mention the often quite funny, yet cynical stories
Julia Hughes
Aug 26, 2011 Julia Hughes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was the first Wambaugh novel I read, and I was swept along by his offbeat humour and wry observations of how misconceptions and jumping to conclusion can backfire.
I'm hoping the characters are a little larger than life, but ready to believe in them, and they were wonderfully drawn, and even felt some (until he cut vicky's ear) sympathy for the Terrier King. The budding romance between the old world weary white russian cop and the smart young ladycop is heartbreaking pathos. Every now and t
Barbara Donoghue
Aug 23, 2016 Barbara Donoghue rated it really liked it
Stephen King mentioned this author in one of the Mercedes books. I had to see why Stephen King liked him. Joseph Wambaugh is too much fun to read.
Seton Catholic
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I have never read a book from this author before but I liked his writing and actually found humor in some of what he was saying throughout. In the beginning I liked it but was getting a little the story continued it got more interesting and enjoyable to read with the wealthy LA people's drama. It was interesting to read about what the cops do in their job in LA and it felt very realistic, like I was there. I also enjoyed reading about the dogs and dog ...more
Ronald Keeler
Mar 26, 2016 Ronald Keeler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
It’s a Joseph Wambaugh novel, it is a bit hard for me to accept that there might be a reader who does not know what to expect when reading one of his novels. He writes of the world of cops with knowledge from experience of having been a cop. The most entertaining depictions presented are those of life in a squad room or precinct, where the cops live. For those without experience as a cop, it might be difficult to imagine it could be as wacky as described in this book. I had no problem accepting ...more
Erin Mihulka
Aug 07, 2015 Erin Mihulka rated it it was amazing
I can honestly say this is possibly one of the best books I've read. It's one of my favorites...Having said that, it isn't for everyone...
It's actually pretty dark in parts, but also has some excellent humor...another book I found myself audibly giggling...
I feel Joseph Wambaugh is probably one of my all-time favorite writers...Although I've only now read two of his books, I love his writing style...I'm a HUGE fan of in-depth character development and details and painting a picture with words...
Sep 14, 2008 Annene rated it it was ok
Joseph Wambaugh is generally a sparse and realistic writer with an eye for detail that comes from experience, but there's nothing cold about his portrayal of crime no matter how exact the procedural.

The Black Marble is a different kind of Wambaugh; he's pushing the humor here and you can feel the force. Yeah, in case you don't get it, I'm saying the humor is forced.

Oh, and if you're easily offended by jokes about rape or Black People or Mexicans or Italians or Cripples or Russians or violence a
Evyn Charles
Apr 19, 2010 Evyn Charles rated it it was amazing
Only recently started to read this well-established author. I started with a fairly recent book and as usual, I am now going back and reading his books in chronological order.
So far, the writing has been as solid as they come. A current author that comes to mind in the same genre is Michael Connelly. Wambaugh uses more cynicism and humor. His storytelling intertwines different stories and characters, a little bit like a TV show.
Just finished Chapter 6 and IMHO it was brilliant. The characters ar
May 20, 2013 Stacey rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2016 Jmrathbone rated it liked it
This doesn’t seem to fit with “The Onion Field” or “The Blue Knight”. It reads more like something from Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey. Fortunately, I think both of these authors are fun to read. I was just a bit surprised at this writing style from Joseph Wambaugh. That being said, I must admit I did like “The Black Marble”, but could have done with less dog poop.
Nov 13, 2013 Jeremiah rated it liked it

I didn't look too closely at this one and was fooled somewhat into thinking it was a sequel to the Hollywood Station series. It was a reprint of one of Wambaugh's books from the 70s. It started off slowly but eventually found its groove.

Very enjoyable characters and unlike many of Wambaugh's books the good guys come out okay.
Kevin Montgomery
Apr 25, 2009 Kevin Montgomery rated it it was amazing
My favorite of the Wambaugh novels. Hillarious, horrifying, gruesome, and poingnant all at the same time. This is a story of quirky cops, as all his novels are. This one, however, is also a love of those delightful improbable romances that will leave you in tears. Whenever I run out of reading material at home,this is the book I turn to. I've read it at least 10 times.
Fredrick Danysh
Oct 25, 2014 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing
The author of The Choirboys has given us another novel about life in Southern California. Crimes investigated range from extortion using kidnapped dogs to murder. The book has a varied cast of characters.
May 19, 2015 jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In turn rollicking, disturbing and touching. I even felt a slight degree of sympathy for Philo Skinner until he mutilated Vickie. I learned a lot about dog shows and breeds. All in all, pretty good.
Apr 23, 2014 Debra rated it it was ok
Was not too impressed with this book. Perhaps if I had read the book shortly after it was written it would have come across as more raw and true to life. I didn't find the characters likable or funny.
Dec 21, 2012 Markus added it
Hey, Cops are human too. A great read for a policeman, a policeman wannabe, or a citizen wondering what cops do after hours. I wouldn't recommend it for a cops wife. Or even his girlfriend... Too much information ; )
Apr 23, 2014 Karin rated it did not like it
Wambaugh usually spins a pretty good yarn,somebody must have locked him in the closet and wrote this thing in his name .What is the obsession with dogpoop here and all that weird animal stuff?
You lost me with this one,Joe.Is there any more stuff like that with his name on it......anyone?
Jul 18, 2012 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exciting story of extortion and dog napping set against the background of 2 diverse warring detectives who are partnered together for the case.
At times full of black humour with a fast paed storyline.
Jan 07, 2013 C.S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
It took me a few pages to get into Wambaugh's style but I am glad I did. While the book feels a little dated it was still a fun read. Wambaugh has a knack for making me laugh out loud.
Sep 04, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
Not such a great read but picturing Harry Dean Stanton, who played the role of the sleezy dog trainer in a movie based on this book, made it a fun read.
Raegan Butcher
Feb 06, 2009 Raegan Butcher rated it liked it
Joseph Wambaugh writes some of the funniest dialog and I've read a lot of his books. This one was bit more melancholy than some of his others but enjoyable nonetheless.
Joe  Noir
Apr 29, 2013 Joe Noir rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece. One of two masterpieces written by Joseph Wambaugh, the other being The Onion Field. This is the first book I would recommend to someone who has not yet read any Wambaugh.
May 17, 2013 Arlene rated it really liked it
What a great story! The audio was absolutely entertaining... the way to go.
Dog lovers, dog shows, theft, death, romance...loved this story.
Walter O'Bryant
Jul 17, 2012 Walter O'Bryant rated it really liked it
This was the first book I received when I joined my first book club. It was not a choice I made for myself as a young reader it became a favorite of mine.
Judy rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2010
Jack Witt
Jack Witt rated it it was ok
Feb 27, 2011
John rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2013
Ray Gehrig
Ray Gehrig rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2013
Frank Shedd
Frank Shedd rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2011
Sue Burke
Sue Burke rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2011
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Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant (1960-1974), 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 1960. He served 14 years, rising to detective sergeant. He also attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned Bachelor of Arts and ...more
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