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Book Details

Title:   Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets
Author:   David Simon
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   08.04.07

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Notes History
Date Read Note
08.04.07 My curiosity to read this book stemmed mainly from The Wire. In a commentary for the first episode, Simon said that he took a particular anecdote from his book so I thought it would be full of similar little tales and also give a clearer picture of guys like Jay Landsman (who now has a small role on the show) and Ed Burns (co-creator and writer of The Wire) and see the connections with the show. The book is a pretty massive tome detailing a year of murders, intercutting fly-on-the-wall day-to-day reportage with lengthy examinations of pretty much every aspect of the job, from surveying the crime scene to gathering evidence to interrogating witnesses to coercing confessions to the medical examiner's office and autopsies to the prosecution and how the crime ends. It's like 600 pages of pretty small text and takes a long time to read, which is kinda good because by the time it ends you feel like you know all these guys. A big piece of interest for me is that the year spent with these guys was 1988... so although certain things haven't changed at all in 20 years (people are still getting murdered, drugs are still the cause of a lot of it) but others seem very very old (like all the pre-CSI trace evidence stuff). Maybe it's still true but a large point I took away was that in '88, detectives almost never matched blood or hair or fibers or any of that stuff. take that, CSI! Mostly, I loved the stuff dealing with the detectives talking to one another. Real meaty stuff with veterans giving rookies shit and laughing about the stupidity of criminals, that kinda stuff. The treatises on procedure got a bit dry but after all, this is 600 pages here... what else would it be if not thorough. Simon does a great job... with the whole thing really but especially in creating dramatic structure with nonfiction events. There's a major case that he starts and ends and occasionally checks in with throughout the book and you know it's real life so it might not have the outcome that you want it to have but the case is so intriguing and you so get behind the detectives that it's really dramatic and wrenching to read. so yeah, really good book. more of a thing to read slowly and live with for a while. I am SO excited now for the final season of The Wire. Argh!



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