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Homicide: Paperback – 4 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847673112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847673114
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 4.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 348,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Simon's Homicide won the Edgar and Anthony awards and became the basis for the NBC award-winning drama. Simon's second book, The Corner: A Year in the Life of An Inner-City Neighbourhood, co-authored with Edward Burns, was made into an Emmy-winning HBO miniseries. Simon is currently an executive producer and writer for HBO's Peabody Award-winning series THE WIRE. He lives in Baltimore.

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Review

'A staggering work that is almost impossible to put down...a gripping depiction of America's culture of violence.' -- Metro

Book Description

A True Crime classic from the creator of THE WIRE

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Antonin Artaud on 10 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
Despite being yet another who came to this book via The Wire, I had my doubts before reading it. Could it really be as brilliant, as addictive, and most importantly as entertaining as The Wire? Surely this is a huge tome full of dry forensic details and information about hair strands and blood splashes? Maybe a grisly peek into a blood drenched hell hole of a city? Or maybe a rip roaring "warts and all" exposé of boorish, wiseguy detectives, 700 pages of foul language and Budweiser? None of those particularly appeal to me, but it turns out that this book contains a little of each and much more. What's more, these strands are woven together by David Simon into a book so readable, so addictive - words that flow so easily off the page - it seems like magic. And all this despite the subject matter - knife wounds, rape, dead infants, drugs, autopsy procedures, the very dregs of society? Of course it's as good as The Wire.

When a non-fiction author grapples with several case studies and a wide array of characters in a book like this, it usually follows that some will be weaker than others, some less interesting, some you want to skip to get onto the good stuff. It is a problem with most non-fiction of this kind. Not here. Simon pitches and paces his book to near perfection. Although the Latonya Wallace investigation forms the spine of the book, there is never the urge to skip ahead or skim over boring bits. There are no boring bits. The cases covered vary widely in nature and in significance, but they are all gripping. Simon lays out a huge spread, and it's all equally tasty. Why is it good? Why is it as good as The Wire? Why is it like The Wire? Simon cares. He has a down to earth integrity that you can feel before you hit page 10. He cares about the job, the detectives, the victims.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very realistic account of a year in the lives of one shift of homicide detectives written by a newspaper reporter that reads as well as fiction. You are right there at the crime scenes with the primary detectives when they roll the body over looking for clues, when they interview the witnesses, fill out the paperwork and go out for drinks after work when the board is changed from red to black, signifying the case has been closed. You can get a real appreciation as to what it is like to be an underpaid, underappreciated and overworked homicide investigator in a major city. Interrrogation techniques are revealed in this unique book. Some trial action. Definitely worth the read. Contains real life violence. A good companion to the TV show.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By s.j.tyrrell@open.ac.uk on 15 Feb 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I furst stumbled across this book in 1996 while studying film at college. I was a fan of the TV series and had just finished reading Clockers by Richard Price and thought it might be a worthy successor. What I read was perhaps the most astounding piece of literature I had ever picked up. Unlike many police procedurals the writing never wandered into a stale environment of form numbers and procedures and instead was a revelation at how tedious and tumultuous just a normal day can be. Crimes are interwoven into a cross section of Baltimore society with such skill and craftmanship that sometimes its almost too painful to witness the events that permeate the narrative. The skill of the writing and the sheer power of the subject matter combine until it is only with great reluctance that you manage to put the book down. I could go on for ever at how a little girls death rips through the entire homicide unit that in the hands of a lesser author would have been a book unto itself. But exisitng on the periphery of the main investigations are myriad vignettes into the hearts and minds that are equally as compelling. The use of ellipsis in the writing is magical and draws you further into the world of the detectives and their work but reading you find yourself witnessing the harrowing state of mind of a community wrenched apart by crime. Simons talent lies in how he manages to plug into the veins of this community while suggesting the problems are far from regional. Reading it for the second time a month ago made a great book even better. read it or it is sadly your loss. Check out The Corner as well.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book months ago and immediately put it on one side because a) I hadn't realised it was non-fiction and thought it was a novel and b) it was just so enormous - 650 pages!
However when I finished the last DVD in The Wire I felt bereft and missing the mean streets of Baltimore. So now was the time to tackle Homicide..... I was not disappointed - in fact it is one of the best pieces of factual reportage that I have ever read. Simon was given access to the Police Department Homicide team for a year during which time he came to know the individual detectives and their strengths and weaknesses, the problems of policing the city, the local politics, the tyranny of the "solved crimes" league tables. He also records the black humour that detectives use as well as the many acts of empathy and kindness.

Rarely a day goes by without a murder taking place. Many are easily solved -such as domestics. Murders involving drug dealers and customers are usually met with a wall of silence and often the culprit is never identified. Other murders (such as when the victim is a child) arouse great anger and distress and extra resources are poured into the squad in order to find the guilty person.

Although non-fiction the book is constructed like a novel. As the book progresses the reader becomes more and more involved in the life of the homicide department. I found myself willing Pellegrini to somehow find the killer of little Latonya Wallace......

The writing is superb - not a superfluous word - and the book is packed with social issues relating the crime and punishment.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes crime fiction or police procedurals.
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