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The Golden Orange

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  598 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
When forty-year-old cop Winnie Farlowe lost hisshield, he lost the only protection he had. Eversince, hes been fighting a bad back, fighting thebottle, fighting his conscience. But now hes infor a special fight. Never before has he come upagainst anyone like Tess Binder. Shes astunningly beautiful, sexually spirited three-timedivorcee from Newport Beach-capital of Californ ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Bantam (first published May 1st 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lance Charnes
Dec 31, 2011 Lance Charnes rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Joe Wambaugh completists; Orange County nostalgists
Joe Wambaugh is best known for his brutally honest early works centered on the LAPD -- The Blue Knight, The New Centurions and some of his other 1970s novels. This isn't one of those. More's the pity.

Winston Farlowe, the protagonist -- it's impossible to call him "the hero" -- is drinking his disability pension after being cut loose from the Newport Beach PD after a line-of-service injury. Tess Binder, a Newport Beach serial trophy wife, tracks him down at the dive bar he haunts and winds him up
Edmond Gagnon
Jul 28, 2015 Edmond Gagnon rated it really liked it
Wambaugh's still got it!
The cast of characters is not as numerous and in depth of his previous work, but they are still colorful and interesting, as is the story. He has you wondering about the plot direction early on, but it doesn't become clear until near the end.
It is then you say to yourself, "Oh yeah, I saw that coming."
A good read!
Sep 13, 2010 Kristina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-fiction
Everything was going along fine until I realized this book hinges on a legal principle that the author did not understand and obviously, from the ending, did not care to fully research.
Feb 10, 2017 Ed rated it really liked it
Author Wambaugh has been writing true crime and this 1990 work is only his second novel since 1983. The setting has moved from LAPD to Orange County, and while enjoyable this is not up to his landmark novels of the 1970s.

Police Novels - When an injury ends his police career in California's Orange County, Winston (Winnie) Farlowe works at odd jobs--and indulges in vodka-inspired pranks. On probation after his latest escapade, he rushes to join drinking buddies at a favorite saloon. There Tess Bin
Pamela Mclaren
Nov 03, 2013 Pamela Mclaren rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This is not so much a mystery as one man's dissent ito total cynicism and ruin. The whole book is a bit of a depressing broadside against Orange County, California, which is a lot more than what is portrayed in this book and I dare say while I think there are some women who go out of their way to track down ad marry vulnerable rich men, this book portrays them both as one-dimensional and rather pathetic beings.

Winnie is a former police officer who apparently has sloshed his brain out on his var
Chris Gager
May 26, 2011 Chris Gager rated it liked it
Not the cover of the edition I read. My first JW read and not bad but well within the expectations of the genre(SoCal-detective-whodunit lifestyle). He does get onshore and offshore confused once, also East and West. There's also an alarming amount of boozing in this book. Much like "The Gold Coast". I'll finish it this afternoon but I think I've got the end twist(s) figured out. We'll see. It was a treat to begin the book and start reading about Balboa-Newport-Laguna Beach. The old stomping gro ...more
Matt Spano
Nov 07, 2014 Matt Spano rated it liked it
This is my first Wambaugh book and I read it on a recommendation. It was entertaining and a fast read. It's typical police melodrama, but not so predictable. I like the author but I feel like he doesn't hit his stride until well past the middle of the story. His characters are vibrant even if they are a bit cliche. My only real criticism is that people don't speak the way he writes the dialogue. It's just not genuine, but it moves the story. Towards the end of the book I feel like he really nail ...more
Peter Swanson
Jan 01, 2016 Peter Swanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, mystery
I spent my teens in Newport Beach, and my father lived there for 38 years. A friend of Dad's, in fact, had enough events from his life appear in this book that he considered suing Wambaugh. (He didn't.)
I'm thoroughly acquainted with both the geography and social strata of this book, and—as usual—Joseph Wambaugh's perceptions are spot on. It is very funny, and a caustically incisive and insightful satire on life among both the seriously pretentious/ambitious/annoying citizens and the ordinary fol
May 22, 2015 Duane rated it liked it

This certainly isn't Wambaugh's best product overall; in fact, it just sort of disintegrates at the end when he can't pull the plot together.

But it's well worth reading for the incisive portrayals of the degenerate rich of Orange County, particularly the vapid, moneygrubbing "Beach Mamas". (Now if he'd just set his sights north and take out the fruity idiots up there in Marin County as well...)

Apr 19, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
Written in 1990, "The Golden Orange" is a mystery thriller that has some comic flair. It's prime character is a retired cop named Win Farlowe. Win it seems is a terrible drunk. After several scarpes with the law Win ends up hooking up with Tess Binder. What an unbelievable match. However we know Tess has her motives. It was an enjoyable read. Several parts were pretty funny. I loved the twists at the end. Yes 5 stars out of 5 for Joesph Wambaugh's "The Golden Orange"
Jan 27, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
Recommended to Kim by: Jeff Potts
It was hard to get into this book in the beginning because the characters are so self-absorbed. The author also uses too many idioms - making the characters feel less believable. I gave it three stars because I enjoyed reading about the places where I spent so much time working (Orange County) and living (La Quinta). I also appreciated the plot twist at the end.
J. Ewbank
Aug 22, 2011 J. Ewbank rated it really liked it
Whis book by Wambaugh was a wild and wonderful read. The lead characters were very well sketched out and very believable. Their dealings with each other was interesting and kept your attention. The conclusion was believable and an interesting surprise. It is an enjoyable and quick read and is well worth reading.

J. Robert Ewbank, author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Jun 07, 2008 Lee rated it liked it
Joseph Wambaugh graduated years earlier from my high school. I have read several books he has authored. The setting of "The Golden Orange" is in my backyard - so to speak. That in itself was interesting.
Oct 08, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
I missed this one back in the 90's, so I was glad to bumb into it @ my library. Even tho cops & California aren't my favorite subjects, I really enjoyed the Winston Farlowe character. Waumbaugh's style is clear, full of action and irony. Did not diappoint.
Feb 27, 2013 Nranger7 rated it liked it
I guess this book wasn't too bad, but it centers around an alcoholic and since I have my own alcoholic in the house I wasn't too thrilled with reading about one. I skimmed a lot. I did enjoy the ending.
Jul 24, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
This book took a bit to get going but when it did I spent most of my time reading trying to figure out the storyline. At that point I had a hard time putting this book down. Nothing like a little mystery to keep your mind engaged.
Cathy Jarvis
Mar 17, 2016 Cathy Jarvis rated it really liked it
I read this book in the early 1970's. I was somewhat surprised that I remembered quite a bit of this book. This time I had the audio version to listen to while driving to, from and between client appointments. Still a good read.
Sep 18, 2013 Lawrence rated it really liked it
Very good. Old timey washed up cop story with interesting characters and a look at the wealthy gold diggers of Newport Beach. Neat twist at the end-did not see that coming!
Sep 03, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
I like to read about poor old drunks. Winnie is just a mess.
Mar 04, 2009 David rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. In this book Wambaugh jumps between three main characters. They are all regular people with real people flaws and real people problems.

Partridge Public
Wambaugh, Joseph
Dec 22, 2015 Maynard rated it really liked it
Good story. Joseph Wambaugh is one of my guilty pleasures.
Book Concierge
Jan 28, 2009 Book Concierge rated it it was ok
Shelves: concierge, library, crime
This was disappointing. I used to really like Wambaugh and this just didn't meet my expectation - although - I DID like the ending.
May 07, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
Another tale where alcohol rules and ruins lives. Makes me happy that it has never played a part in my happiness or unhappiness.
Feb 09, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Another great Wambaugh pathos and police protagonist, washed-up, ex-cop tries to get his life back on track in a unique setting, Newport Beach, California.
It took place all over Orange County. Talked about money in the 80's-90's.
Nov 09, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it
it's been a while since I read a Joseph Wambaugh book but once again, I enjoyed it. Shades of Elmore Leonard in that this novel is also populated by some colorful characters.
Mike Harper
Oct 14, 2016 Mike Harper rated it liked it
An amusing and well plotted book, featuring an alcoholic ex-cop with principles. I found it a little too preachey, as if Wambaugh himself were an AA member. Still, it is a pretty good read.
Feb 18, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mistery
unexpected masterpiece... the life of the two lovers is a bit overlong in the middle section but the ending is dynamite ...among Wambaugh ' s best..recommended!
May 12, 2014 Doug rated it it was ok
Not his best work. Must have needed to make a boat payment.
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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 M ...more
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