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Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets [Kindle Edition]

David Simon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $12.01 (55%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

From the creator of HBO’s The Wire, the classic book about homicide investigation that became the basis for the hit television show

The scene is Baltimore. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. At the center of this hurricane of crime is the city’s homicide unit, a small brotherhood of hard men who fight for whatever justice is possible in a deadly world.

David Simon was the first reporter ever to gain unlimited access to a homicide unit, and this electrifying book tells the true story of a year on the violent streets of an American city. The narrative follows Donald Worden, a veteran investigator; Harry Edgerton, a black detective in a mostly white unit; and Tom Pellegrini, an earnest rookie who takes on the year’s most difficult case, the brutal rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl.

Originally published fifteen years ago, Homicide became the basis for the acclaimed television show of the same name. This new edition—which includes a new introduction, an afterword, and photographs—revives this classic, riveting tale about the men who work on the dark side of the American experience.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This 1992 Edgar Award winner for best fact crime is nothing short of a classic. David Simon, a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun, spent the year 1988 with three homicide squads, accompanying them through all the grim and grisly moments of their work--from first telephone call to final piece of paperwork. The picture that emerges through a masterful accumulation of details is that homicide detectives are a rare breed who seem to thrive on coffee, cigarettes, and persistence, through an endlessly exhausting parade of murder scenes. As the Washington Post writes, "We seem to have an insatiable appetite for police stories.... David Simon's entry is far and away the best, the most readable, the most reliable and relentless of them all.... An eye for the scenes of slaughter and pursuit and an ear for the cadences of cop talk, both business and banter, lend Simon's account the fascination that truth often has."

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.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing September 19, 2001
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.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest non-fiction book I have ever read March 15, 2000
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.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Journalism July 28, 2000
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.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Cop Book Ever October 25, 2005
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.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Photos missing from Kindle edition December 14, 2009
By Raul
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The print edition of 'Homicide' has a 8-page set of black and white photos in the middle:

1) 6 portraits of detectives that appear in the book.
2) below them 6 pictures of the characters they inspired in the TV series.
3) and three more: 2 detectives at a crime scene, David Simon at the pub with the guys, The Board.

These pictures are gone from the Kindle edition. Whereas this is a rather minor loss, you are not missing anything essential from the reading experience, something has been subtracted from one edition nevertheless. So you've been warned.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Been there and done it November 8, 2009
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book without realizing that it was the genesis of the television program by the same name, and I was immediately dragged in to the stories. Written as a yearlong narrative of the events and personalities of the Baltimore Police Homicide Division, it really gives the reader a feeling of being along for the investigation. The dialogue and descriptions are so realistic and insightful that I found myself wondering how the Detectives felt to read this objective reflection of themselves. The pacing of the book contributes to the overall effectiveness of the narrative by educating the reader slowly as to the characters, the lingo and the mentality of a Baltimore homocide detective. By the end (and I was sorry to have it end) I felt like I knew the detectives and the criminals and the victims and their families. If you like true crime, this is the book for you!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the absolute best of its kind November 10, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The television show was excellent, but HOMICDE the book is much better. It is perhaps one of the finest pieces of narrative non-fiction of the past 50 years. David Simon's background as a journalist for the Sun makes him uniquely qualified to examine the inner workings of a homicide unit, and to lay bare the shortcomings and serious flaws of Baltimore's city government (the action in the book takes place during the worst of the crack wars in the late 80s, but it's remarkable how little things have changed).

What's more, Simon writes with great deadpan humor and is able to find both humanity and wit in this true-life story of the "murder police." He is truly one of the most accomplished narrative writers of our time. I also highly recommend THE CORNER, another look into Baltimore's gritty urban landscape.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars How murder is investigated
I imagine there are better accounts of homicide investigation, certainly of individual cases especially, but David Simon's Homicide is a very readable and interesting account of... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Chris Junker
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the best books I have read.
When I say one of the best books, I do not mean this year; I mean EVER. I watched the Wire and became entranced by the characters and scenes that Simon created, and this book was... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Rashanii
5.0 out of 5 stars engrossing
I found it hard to put down especially after watching The Wire. Well-crafted and beautifully written. A great snapshot of police work in one particular time and place.
Published 1 month ago by Kangareview
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and unflinching.
Beautifully written and impeccably researched, this book covers a year in the life of Baltimore's homicide squad. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Timmins
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, intricate, and enjoyable
Like many I'm sure, I arrived upon David Simon's writing after seeing the undeniable prowess of The Corner and The Wire. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A well written account of the difficulty of conducting investigations where the first axiom is "everybody lies. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ghostgum
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I read this years ago and bought this copy for a policy academy recruit. He loved the book and shared it with other recruits. I loved the TV show by the same name as well.
Published 3 months ago by D. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
A Year on the Killing Streets. This book simply makes you feel like you were a detective for a year in "Bodymore" Maryland. It never lets up and I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sabre39
5.0 out of 5 stars For all 'The Wire' fans here is a great book for all the fans !
Love anything this guys writes...directs, (the wire) he's awesome....Haven't finished the book but I can already tell through his storytelling or fact telling that this guy knows... Read more
Published 4 months ago by WjFost11
5.0 out of 5 stars David Simon is one of the best journalists working. Great book.
While he was working at the Baltimore Sun, David Simon somehow persuaded the Baltimore Police Department to allow him to spend a year with their homicide detectives, watching &... Read more
Published 4 months ago by EnglishMajor
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Smaller city cops
Rory, a great book that fits that description is Anderson's "Shadow People: how meth-driven crime is eating at the heart of rural America." Like "Homicide," it's a first-person narrative from a journalist who spent something like 2 years embedded with rural county sheriffs... Read more
Jun 3, 2012 by Jake |  See all 3 posts
Homicide by David Simon, differences between UK Canongate edition and NA... Be the first to reply
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