File Size: 2335 KB
Print Length: 673 pages
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1 edition (April 1, 2007)
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Simon was attuned to life on the gritty, city streets of Baltimore with an ear for the argot unlike any other producer of a TV crime show or crime writer. It showed in the TV series "Homicide: Life on the Streets," "The Corner," and lastly his masterpiece, "The Wire," and it shows in this pull-no-punches book. The senseless killings, the frustration of the detectives when confronted with a stone-cold "who-dun-it" they knew would never get solved, the anger when obviously guilty people they had arrested went free after trial ... it's all here, and more. As I read this book, I could see the models for the characters who appeared in the TV shows (I didn't even need to see the photos of the actors playing these models to figure out who they were) being developed. It isn't easy to make non-fiction a gripping read, but David Simon makes it look easy.,As a huge fan of The Wire (I've watched the series through at least 5 times), I can't believe I only read this just now. This book is probably my favorite narrative nonfiction book of all time now, along with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It is written much like a novel, with engaging stories and characters throughout.
The best part is that, like real life, not all of the storylines get neatly tied off in a bow. Just like life, politics dictates that resources are shifted from one case that has gone cold to the next hot case.
The bits about interrogation are also amazing, tackling interview techniques used by cops, discussion around Miranda warnings and the 5th Amendment, and how cops have to ork around these limitations.
Really awesome stuff. If you have ever been interested in Law & Order, The Wire, Radley Balko, or issues of police brutality or effectiveness, or if you have ever lived in an American city, or in America, I consider this a must-read. Do it!,Second time reading this book. Very well written and captures the futility of what modern police departments fight against on a daily basis. The "politics" of law enforcement is explained in terms of public perception and internal police perception especially when the public (media) grabs something and turns it into a circus. The detectives come across as real people with personalities and imperfections just like the rest of us. The book recounts a year during the 1980s and there is some follow-up material which helps close out some of the individual stories. I would highly recommend this book for those highly critical folks that assume the everything a cop does is done out of malice or hate. It brings a sense of everyday realism to the job that few other books can claim.,This book honestly should be required reading. Too often citizens do not know what the police have to deal with on a daily basis, or have unreasonable expectations on what constitutes evidence. We watch CSI, Law and Order, NCIS, and other procedurals and the guilt of a suspect is without a doubt. There is the proverbial smoking gun. And yet homicide detectives have to piece together cases and find suspects based on intuition, luck, and good old fashioned detective work. Those who earn their living solving homicides routinely see the dark side of humanity, and there often is no happy ending. No reckoning. No justice for the guilty This is a hard life for those who protect the citizens and try to bring murderers to justice. If you like police procedurals, then this is the holy bible of police procedurals, out of the mouths of Baltimore's finest.,This is an excellent book! The characters in it are engaging. The dialogue is wonderful. And the situations are both scary and amazing: amazing in how so stupid some people are and how little it takes for someone to kill someone else, scary because it is all true.
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!,The Wire and Homicide are about people, good, bad and in between. It is their humanity that makes Simon's writing so interesting. Homicide is a fairly long book, but I could not put it down. Highly recommended!
Watch the HBO series The Wire to see many of the real people in the book portrayed.
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