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Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets Hardcover – Jun 1991


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 599 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T) (June 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039548829X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395488294
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 16.5 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #329,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

From Library Journal

The city of Baltimore saw 234 murders in 1988. Allowed unlimited access to a shift of the city's homicide unit, police reporter Simon chronicles that year. The sociopaths, the crackheads, and their crimes are horrifying, but equal horrors are found in the attitudes of jurors in a case of the shooting and blinding of a policeman and in statistics showing the ultimate legal fates of those apprehended by the unit. Immersing his readers in cases, procedures, politics, and the detectives' personalities, Simon risks being sabotaged by the sheer scope of his account. Still, for those with strong stomachs and the willingness to work to keep the characters and dramas straight, he has produced a riveting slice of urban life. Recommended.
- Jim Burns, Pompano Beach City Lib., Fla.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Amazon.com: 180 reviews
84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Sept. 19 2001
By Jeffrey Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Appropriately enough, one of the best cop shows in the history of television was based on one of the best true crime books ever written. Journalist David Simon spent a year observing Baltimore Homicide detectives and it is their poignantly true stories -- almost all as funny, heartbreaking, and memorable as any fiction -- that make up this book. While fans of the TV show will immediately recognize the initial templates for such beloved characters as Frank Pembleton, Bayliss, Munch, and others, this amazing book is much more than just a basis for a classic television show. It is, quite simply, one of the most insightful books about modern law and order ever written. All of the detectives live brilliantly on the page and Simon's prose reminds us what great writing actually is. Though this is a word I've probably overused in this review, there is no other way to describe Simon's achievement: amazing.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
First Rate Journalism July 28 2000
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've always felt that the main problem with the TV show version of "Homicide" is that, good as it is, it just can't match the gritty realism of the book it is based on. Journalist David Simon spent a year as a fly on the wall observing the Balitimore Police Homicide Unit, and dutifully recording everything he saw by and large without editorial comment. The result is absolutely indespensible for anyone with an interest in law enforcement. Being a homicide detectives is a tough job both emotionally and professionally with many hours of tedium that can often result in the frustration of an unsolved case. Particularly poignant is the story of a unsolved child murder case that haunts one of the detectives to the point of endagering his mental well being. The value of this book to the nation's hard working law enforcement professionals simply cannot be understated.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Best Cop Book Ever Oct. 25 2005
By B. Cross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will keep this short: I have been a city cop for almost eighteen years and I defy anyone to find a better book about policework than this one. This is the closest you can come to knowing what being a cop is all about short of actually wearing a badge.
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
The finest non-fiction book I have ever read March 15 2000
By Paul Fidalgo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Simon's Homicide reads not as a murder mystery, not as a documentary, and not as a dramatic novel, but as a life lived in the Baltimore homicide unit. The reader does not feel passive, as though he were watching the goings-on through a filter like a television or even a bystander. The reader is there, with the detectives, sharing their experiences, sharing their very thoughts. This book is a masterpiece, a book that completely enthralls you to the point where during the time you are reading, nothing means more to you than the resolution of each case, each obstacle, each crisis. Please, do yourself a favor and read this remarkable book.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Been there and done it Nov. 8 2009
By Richard Ellwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very familar with this book as I am a former member of the Baltimore homicide unit. I did not have a chance in the past to read it, but now that I am retired I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I know most of the homicide members that are mentioned in the unit and some of them worked in my squad when I was there. It certainly depicts what goes on daily in the Baltimore homicide unit.


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