Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets Hardcover – Jun 1991
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This 1992 Edgar Award winner for best fact crime is nothing short of a classic. David Simon, a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun, spent the year 1988 with three homicide squads, accompanying them through all the grim and grisly moments of their work--from first telephone call to final piece of paperwork. The picture that emerges through a masterful accumulation of details is that homicide detectives are a rare breed who seem to thrive on coffee, cigarettes, and persistence, through an endlessly exhausting parade of murder scenes. As the Washington Post writes, "We seem to have an insatiable appetite for police stories.... David Simon's entry is far and away the best, the most readable, the most reliable and relentless of them all.... An eye for the scenes of slaughter and pursuit and an ear for the cadences of cop talk, both business and banter, lend Simon's account the fascination that truth often has." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Baltimore Sun reporter Simon spent a year tracking the homicide unit of his city's police, following the officers from crime scenes to interrogations to hospital emergency rooms. With empathy, psychological nuance, racy verbatim dialogue and razor-sharp prose, he offers a rare insider's look at the detective's tension-wracked world. Presiding over a score of sleuths is commander Gary D'Addario, "connoisseur of survival" who grapples with political intrigue, massive red tape and "red balls" (major, difficult cases). His detectives include Tom Pelligrini, obsessed with solving the rape-murder of an 11-year-old girl; Rich Garvey, whose "perfect year" is upset by a murder case that collapses in court; and black, cosmopolitan Harry Edgerton, a lone wolf, son of a jazz pianist. This hectic daily log reveals the detective's beat on Baltimore's mean streets (234 murders in 1988) to be brutal, bureaucratic and, occasionally, mundane.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
But we don't.
This breaking of a societal covenant happens everyday, every hour, and every minute somewhere around this little blue marble we all call home. Many thoughts have been spent trying to understand this phenomenon, which seems unique to our human race among all the species present here. One book does delves into the how, why, and wherefores of this most heinous crime.
This treatise on murder is a thick tome called Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, a massive 646 page volume jam packed with facts, thoughts, truths, and skullduggery. And that is on both sides of the law. During a newspaper strike in 1987, Baltimore Sun police reporter David Simon wanted to kickstart a pet project of his. He sought unfettered access to the Baltimore Homicide Squad for a full year, and despite some objections inside the unit, the brass rubberstamped the idea. Simon began 1988 trailing detectives around all aspects of their job. Crime scenes, autopsies, interrogations, deliberations, and arrests all became fodder for this tale. Throw in a huge whack of inter-office and inter-department politics, and you have a true dramatic tale of Shakespearean proportions.
Simon finished his time studying the unit, then proceeded to spend the next two years pulling the narrative threads together. One particular murder, a brutal unsolved killing of a precious little girl named Latonya Kim Wallace, became the backbone of the book. Evidence and suspects are gathered by the diligence detectives, feverishly working the case, but to no avail.Read more ›
In case you weren't aware of that, this book is actually the story of one of Baltimore's homicide units in 1988. Simon went around with the detectives for the entire year and have put their stories down in this book.
At times it is quite sad to read about the brutal atrocities that people are committing against each other. At times it is satisfying to read about the detectives tracking down or lucking in to catching those responsible for the many deaths. But it is always engrossing and fascinating to follow the process and the people involved in one of the uglier jobs possible. This book is a must for any fan of police stories, criminal investigations or anything related to law and order. And in case you further didn't realize it, this book was the basis for the tv show of the same name. It makes the show even scarier to know that not only is it based on real life, but many of the stories from the show are taken straight out of the book. If you were a fan of the show, you will easily recognize many of the exact same cases here in the book. (Or rather vice versa since the book was first.) Easily one of the best books that I've read in a while!
This book covers the city of Baltimore, which is about an hour's drive from where I live. It describes the dark underbelly of the city, something most of us thankfully never see. When I go to Baltimore, I see a living, functioning city. From this book I learned that there a whole dimention to the city that I, again thankfully, know nothing about. I find it in a way shocking that the horrible crimes that Simon describes take place not in some far-off location, but basically in my own backyard, involving people I could possible bump into on the street. I do not generally suspect the worst about people, so to read about the things people are capable of doing to each other, in my own country, in my own state, is mind-blowing.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
David Simon writes pretty better than pretty much anybody. If he wrote an annotated phone book, I'd buy that, too.Published 23 months ago by Alex Carey
I have watched ever show associated with this book, Homicide Life on the Streets, The Wire and The Corner. All so damn fantastic. How could i not love the book. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2013 by Donna Robertson-Balzer
Hard to follow and understand what the author is talking about. David Simon is all over the place with the story, not what I expected.Published on May 28 2011 by Zeus
After watching (alas) the complete television episodes, venturing the book was an experiene on its own. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2008 by Paul H Aube
I first became interested in this book through the television show, but what an absolute gem to find: funny, in-depth and provides a close look at the human element behind police... Read morePublished on May 18 2008 by W. Patrick Bradley
If you like the show you will love the book! It follows Baltimore detectives as they solve crimes and what they go through in their daily lives.Published on Aug. 16 2004 by Travis Jackson
This book is brilliant. As a would-be journalist, I would say "life-altering". Not only is the subject matter compelling, the style is sweet enough to make Ann Rule cry... Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by E. Jahneke
If you are interested at all in the criminal justice, police, CSI, law enforcement, or legal fields...you MUST read this book!!! Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by Brandon Ching
This is an excellent book and should be required reading for all Americans!Published on May 22 2003 by Mark Coons