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Summary

Why would you kill your neighbour? Based on the best part of a decade embedded with the homicide units of the LAPD, this groundbreaking work of reportage takes us onto the streets, inside the homes, and into the lives of a community wracked by a homicide epidemic.

Through the gripping story of one particular murder of an 18-year-old boy named Bryant Tennelle, gunned down one evening in spring for no apparent reason, and of its investigation by a brilliant, ferociously driven detective - a blond surfer turned cop named John Skaggs - it reveals the true origins of such violence, explodes the myths surrounding policing and race and shows that the only way to reverse the cycle of violence is with justice.

©2014 Jill Leovoy (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"The best crime journalism since Serial" ( Esquire)

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Ghettoside.

Excellent, necessary and thought provoking analysis of an often neglected and misunderstood issue within American society. Leovy's writing is clear, compassionate and does a solid job of conveying the gravity and, far too common, hopelessness involved in the day to day work of murder police working in South LA. Perhaps most important is her clearly sincere intent to engage fully, and on a personal level, to the human suffering of those affected by the murder epidemic which has been the principal focus of the last tens years of her career.

This is an excellent narrative and, despite living a million miles away from the scenes of violence and desperation she describes, one which had me fully engaging with the suffering of those most vulnerable within contemporary American society.

The performance by Lowman is similarly flawless; at no point did I feel that I was listening to someone reading the words of another. Her narration is filled with a calm authority and realism which just adds to an already excellent narrative.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • EJ
  • 24-08-17

Not what I expected.

The story itself is interesting enough. There are several sort-of-intersecting tales of surviving through the struggles of high crime areas of LA.

However, what I expected to be a documentary was very overly described almost to the point of coming off as fiction. Descriptions of the police officers as looking like surfers with blonde hair...I've no patience for that in a documentary.

And the story is read by Rebecca Lowman, who as far as I can see online is a youngish white woman. I can't recall that the book included even a single mention of a youngish white woman. I apologise for playing into stereotypes, but the story would have been more credible and relatable if narrated by someone who could vocally convey the criminals, victims or their families, or the seasoned detectives.

So, I liked the substance, but the writing and narration style didn't work for me.

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Stunning

I'll be listening to this book again soon. It's gripping, heart wrenching and illuminating ... and very much worth listening to. It reminds me of the books homicide: a year on the killing streets, and behind the beautiful forevers, and just as good as them both. There's not much praise greater than that!

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  • Przemyslaw
  • 07-04-18

Harrowing and heartbreaking.

This book, along with Simon's 'Homicide'. Try to show the reality of a different world. The detectives of which, underfunded, overworked, within a system that seems broken, are the last chance at justice.