Retired Captain Connie Dial is a 27-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who rose through the ranks from patrol officer to commanding officer of LAPD’s Hollywood Division. She was one of the first women to work in an LAPD patrol car and worked many years as a narcotic detective on the streets of Hollywood before returning to that division as the lieutenant officer in charge of West Bureau Narcotics and, finally as the area commanding officer.
She had a variety of assignments as a detective and lieutenant, but early in her career with the police department, Dial worked as an undercover intelligence officer and then was assigned to Internal Affairs where she supervised a special surveillance detail targeting bad cops. She served as a watch commander in South Central L.A. during the Rodney King riots and was the patrol commanding officer in West LA Division who responded to the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman homicides.
Prior to her career in law enforcement she was a journalist and photographer and worked for a television news station, a chain of newspapers and a trade magazine. A graduate of Cal State L.A. in English and Journalism, she also earned a law degree while a member of the LAPD and is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.
Fallen Angels is her third book in a series of unique stories probing the edgy politics and internal workings of the LAPD. Internal Affairs (2009) and The Broken Blue Line (2010) followed Detective/Sergeant Mike Turner from the streets of Hollywood to the office of the chief of police as he investigated murder and mayhem inside and outside the department. These books expose an LAPD not usually shared outside the ranks of sworn officers and offer an authentic glimpse into the gritty world of big city policing.
Library Journal April 6, 2012 Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, Dial, Connie. Fallen Angels. Permanent. Apr. 2012. c.296p. ISBN 9781579622749. $29
The third novel from 27-year LAPD veteran Dial eschews the role of Sgt. Mike Turner, featured in Internal Affairs and The Broken Blue Line, in favor of Capt. Josie Corsino, who manages a division of homicide detectives better than the men in her personal life. The novel opens with the discovery of the corpse of a murdered starlet and branches out quickly to mine the rich seam of police corruption, police bureaucracy, and damage control PR. Added to the mix are Hollywood’s seamy side, murder, suicide, blackmail, prostitution, and politicians on the take. Verdict Dial writes with the knowledge and procedural minutiae of the insider she once was. And she bolsters her novel’s feminist credentials (not to mention the integrity of the storytelling and plot) with another strong realistic female protagonist, Lt. Marge Bailey. Authentic, well paced, and deftly written, this is a great addition to the police procedural crime fiction subgenre.
Kirkus Reviews May 15, 2012 Fallen Angels, by Connie Dial. Permanent Press. $28 hardcover, 296 pp, pub date April 1,
She’s a wife, a mom, an LAPD captain and compelling no matter what she does.
Meet Capt. Josie Corsino, a good cop. She’s been that for two decades plus, is proud of her achievement, remains passionate about the work, regards it as a high calling and hates bent cops. Unfortunately, she’s about to confront a mess of them. The complex, frequently embittering case that flushes them out begins in the Hollywood hills and centers on the murder of Hillary Dennis, a teenage movie star with connections going every which way: to a powerful, eminently dislikeable city councilman, to his wayward son, to organized crime and, yes, to the upper reaches of the LAPD. As murder follows murder, Josie battles a variety of dubious agendas while trying desperately to protect embattled colleagues, often as not from their own self-destructive behavior. Meanwhile, trouble looms on her domestic front. After 20 years of marriage her husband is suddenly restive. Her beloved, quixotic son who may, incidentally, have been closer to Hillary Dennis than was wise also has issues with her. “You really don’t give an inch, do you?” David says, “You look and talk like other mothers, but you’ve got the heart of a gunnery sergeant.” He’s right, and he’s wrong, which is, of course, part of what makes Josie remarkable.
A veteran cop herself, Dial (The Broken Blue Line, 2010, etc.) does authenticity to the max, and readers will like that. But it’s tough, vulnerable, never-say-die Josie that they’ll love.
Publishers Weekly February 13, 2010 Fallen Angels, Connie Dial Permanent, $28 (296p) ISBN 978-1-57962-274-9
Dial’s detail-laden third procedural (after 2010’s The Broken Blue Line) features a new protagonist, Capt. Josie Corsino, the head of the LAPD’s Hollywood division. When 17-year-old movie actress Hillary Dennis, whose star was already on the descent, is shot to death at a notorious party house in the Hollywood Hills, suspicion falls on Cory Goldman because, according to the victim’s mother, Cory threatened to kill Hillary shortly before the murder. Since Cory is L.A. city councilman Eli Goldman’s son, Deputy Chief Eric Bright tells Corsino to go easy on Cory. Other pressures arise: Corsino’s son, David, is tied to Cory; Corsino’s husband, Jake, is unhappy; and too many incompetent or corrupt cops hamper her investigation. When Donnie Fricke, one of her most trusted officers, gets into trouble, Corsino must navigate the dual minefields of political and criminal activities in the LAPD lend credibility to the dark picture she paints of its operations. (Apr.)
Booklist April 1, 2012 Fallen Angels. Dial, Connie (Author) Apr 2012. 296 p $28.00. (9781579622749).
Two ex-cops are currently turning out mysteries centering on the LAPD’s Hollywood Division: Joe Wambaugh, who left the job fairly early after establishing the genre of gutsy, raucous police procedurals, and Connie Dial, who retired as commanding officer of the Hollywood Division after 27 years, including patrol, undercover, and narcotics work. Wambaugh gives readers a totally wild ride, often veering off into tangentially related war stories and cop humor, careening back into plot limits just in time. Dial’s ride (this is her third novel) is much more controlled when it comes to obeying conventional limits with plot and characters. Captain Josie Corsino, beset at home with an absentee husband and a troubled adolescent son, almost finds working in the byzantine politics of the L.A. police a relief. The plot focuses on how Corsino oversees the investigation into the murder of a 17-year-old Hollywood starlet at a notorious “party house” in the Hollywood Hills. The investigation quickly uncovers a netherworld of connections that can destroy careers. As with Wambaugh, the great thing about Dial is that readers know her take on the LAPD and the craziness of Hollywood crime is based on long reflection.
Suspense Magazine April 2012
“Fallen Angels” by Connie Dial
The third book in Dial’s series about the LAPD following “Internal Affairs” and “The Broken Blue Line,” Dial’s “Fallen Angel” once more takes the reader into the inner circle of the LAPD. Having spent almost thirty years on the force in various capacities Dial writes from experience.
When teenage movie star Hillary Dennis is murdered in a Hollywood “party house,” Captain Josie Corsino and her homicide team are tasked with finding her killer. Hillary is a hard-partying seventeen-year-old with a penchant for drugs and alcohol. Leaving the grasp of her overbearing, religious fanatic mother after being discovered, the b-movie star surrounded herself with dubious characters.
As Corsino and her right-hand man Detective Red Behan gather clues in the starlet’s murder, the body of Misty Skylar—Hillary’s agent—is found in a back alley with a gunshot through her mouth. Skylar was one of the attendees at the party house and was one of the potential suspects on the ever-growing list, which now includes several police officers and the son of a well-known city councilman who happens to be her son David’s friend.
The more Corsino digs, she realizes she has very few people she can trust in the department as she connects the chief of police, corrupt cops, and an organized crime boss to the murders. It seems Hillary and Misty had a side business in prostitution and Hillary was keeping a diary with the names of her clients and was using it to blackmail people in high places.
Connie Dial masterfully writes a compelling thriller. She draws on personal experiences, giving the reader a true glimpse into the world of policing and the corruption that is unfortunately a part of the system. She keeps her readers engaged and guessing at the identity of the killer until the reveal.
ENTERTAINMENT REALMApril 9, 2012
Fallen Angels by Connie Dial. Publisher: The Permanent Press (April 2012). Mystery/thriller. Hardcover.
“By the time she wrapped up business at Avanti’s, it was too late to make the last couple of clubs. Josie was grateful. She was tired and out of condition for the grind of real police work. There was a time when she could stay up all night booking suspects, change her clothes and go to court the next morning. She still could if she didn’t have to run the whole damn division, but that was another life.”
I thoroughly enjoyed and more importantly appreciated the first two mysteries [Internal Affairs and The Broken Blue Line] written by Connie Dial. As with past novels, Connie Dial exposes corrupt police officers, shady dealings and poor police work. Her vast experience in narcotics, undercover surveillance and Internal Affairs surveillance glows through the pages. It makes the novel much stronger, deeper. Dial knows L.A. and police work rather intimately and it shows throughout this mystery. As soon as I got confused along came a sentence or paragraph to bring things back into focus.
“It was unheard of in the LAPD’s modern era for an area captain to be involved hands-on in a homicide investigation. She knew that but it didn’t matter. At the moment, Behan was the only subordinate except Marge she completely trusted.”
The case is that of a young starlet found dead in a notorious party house in the Hollywood hills. As detectives begin to work the case connections to the department grow increasingly questionable and compelling. Off-duty officers working closely with the deceased? Drugs, shattered dreams and gritty Los Angeles street life seamlessly mingle.
Dial focuses on a woman as main character, Captain Josie Corsino. Extremely disciplined despite disorder in her personal life, Josie puts all her effort and time into her work. Josie’s son is a not-so-far-successful musician and her husband, a former prosecutor, left to pursue private practice and personal space from their marriage. Many television shows revolve around the concept of accomplished professional women with disastrous personal lives [Ally McBeal, Damages]. Not new but should continue to be addressed, analyzed, discussed and written about. Interestingly Josie doesn’t know who major celebrities are/ doesn’t watch films yet she’s the police captain in Hollywood.
Behind the scenes of a police officer’s life never gets old. Thus mystery/thriller remains a popular genre– Law and Order and CSI remain highly watched television programs not to mention 48 Hours. Dial hits on after-hours, cops’ marriages, working off-duty, office politics and daily minutiae. Fallen Angels unravels in a slow, steady spiral.
New York Journal of Books April 20, 2012 Fallen Angels by Connie Dial, The Permanent Press, 296 pages
Author bio: Prior to her 27-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, Connie Dial was a journalist who worked as a reporter and photographer for a chain of newspapers in the San Gabriel Valley and later as an editor for a trade magazine. She briefly wrote news for a local television station.
She joined the LAPD as a police officer in 1969 but left because at that time women couldn’t promote higher than sergeant and were given very limited assignments. When she returned in 1973 as a police officer, she was among the four women in the first academy class who would be allowed to work as patrol officers and whose promotional opportunities would be unlimited.
She worked patrol for a year and was asked to be an undercover officer for the intelligence division where she reported on groups who planned the overthrow of the U.S. government. After being arrested during a riot in downtown L.A. she left that assignment to testify on behalf of officers who were injured during the melee.
After being promoted to detective, she was assigned to narcotics division where she was the first woman to work the field enforcement section. She arrested street drug dealers, served search warrants, and made undercover buys. With her partner she arrested several members of the Black Guerilla Family, a notorious prison gang. As an undercover officer she bought heroin from Jimmy Lee Smith, the paroled Onion Field killer, and he was returned to prison.
In 1985, she was asked to join a new special surveillance squad for Internal Affairs Division. The unit investigated police officers accused of using or selling narcotics or participating in other criminal activities.
As a lieutenant watch commander in the Newton Division in South Central L.A., she was on duty the night the Rodney King riots started and worked 12-hour shifts for a month following the riot. She has always admired the hard-working men and women of Newton Division who kept the city intact and innocent citizens safe during that very difficult and dangerous time.
Her career as a commanding officer began in West Los Angeles as a patrol captain. She was there during the earthquake and was the commanding officer who responded to the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman homicides. She spent most of the early morning hours watching the WLA detectives do a thorough and professional job at the crime scene before the decision was made to give the investigation to the Robbery Homicide Division.
After returning to the Narcotics Division as the captain for the Field Enforcement Section, she was promoted as the area commanding officer for the Hollywood Division. Hollywood was a productive, high-energy division where she promoted community policing and had an active successful youth program as well as one of the best Community Police Advisory Boards in the city. She received several commendations for community policing and recognition for her work in the community including the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction award. She was rated highly by her officers and at the time of her retirement was the only female area commanding officer in the department.
She graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA and is a member of the FBI National Academy Associates; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the California Police Officers Association; and a lifetime member of the California Narcotic Officers Association. She serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Relief Association and on the Los Angeles Police Relief and Assistance Foundation board.
She lives in Southern California with her husband, retired Police Detective Jon Dial, and two Yorkshire Terriers, Bogart and Bacall.
Review: Fallen Angels kind of sneaks up on you in a way that’s hard to define. It’s a straightforward police procedural, with the Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division investigating a tricky case full of cop lore and excitement. And there is much less violence than one might expect—though plenty of corruption to keep things confusing and intriguing.
Ms. Dial writes with the authority that comes from 27 years on this police force, and she brings the viewpoint of both female cop and newly promoted captain to the story through the voice of her main character, Josie Corsino.
Josie gets stuck in the miserable position of not being able to trust her own officers when two related murders point toward involvement of her higher-ups, her staff—and her family.
Fortunately, two of her colleagues are reliable: a brilliant detective who drinks too much (and marries too often), and a fashion-model-gorgeous vice supervisor with a garbage mouth. This team digs out the truth from multiple sources while Josie dodges literal and political bullets.
As Ms. Dial puts it: “Every decision Josie made as the commanding officer of the Hollywood station was potentially explosive in a city full of unmarked special-interest landmines. The chief of police, police commission, her bureau, the diverse community, the ACLU, the officers and their union—all their needs and demands kept in perfect balance like a juggler spinning plates. Josie thrived on the work. Her marriage might be in a tailspin and her son a complete mystery to her, but she knew she was good at her job.”
Indeed, Josie is a careful, thinking person with clear priorities and boundaries. Yet she understands that some lines are fuzzy or flexible, and knows when to cross or hold firm. She can make hard decisions fast and accept the consequences. This gets her into trouble with darn near everybody and often leaves her standing alone.
Always conscious of her responsibilities as captain, she must in this case drop back to detective duty and do her own legwork, unofficially, because so many in her division are implicated in the deaths of a B-movie starlet turned junkie, and the starlet’s dubious agent.
Throughout the investigation, Josie remains aware of her moral and legal duties as a cop, at the cost of important relationships and possibly her career. Much of the story covers how her choices affect her colleagues and family, leaving the reader in suspense over how her life, as well as the case, will work out.
This is what gives Fallen Angels its insidious quality. While the story, like most crime novels, is focused on the who-done-it-and-how plotline, each scene has an emotional subtext that seeps into the reader’s heart and mind. It feels like we’re implanted in Josie’s head or riding around on her shoulder, getting an up close and personal view of life as a real captain of a real police force dealing with the dark side of human nature.
The "fallen angels" in this book are not just victims of the Hollywood star machine, but also Los Angeles police officers who have fallen from grace. Josie’s job is to root them out of the force and minimize the damage without getting killed or canned.
She must also keep good people out of danger. The way she holds up under the strain draws our respect and compassion. She lives the motto “protect and serve” with an understated heroism and sensibility that leave the reader hoping this book will be the first of a long series.