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L.A. Rex Paperback – Bargain Price, September 4, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; 1st Thus. edition (September 4, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1594482659
  • ASIN: B001G8WSFA
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,887,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Delicate readers be forewarned--Will Beall's gritty, gangland drama, L.A. Rex hits hard. The story pulls you down hard and fast into a dark ultraviolent world of corruption where hardcore gangbangers and dirty cops battle it out on the streets of South Central. The fact that Beall is currently a cop in South Central adds an interesting wrinkle--readers will find themselves wondering (and worrying about) how much is true. Beall was kind enough to take time out from tracking down witnesses to talk to us about the "authenticity" of popular crime novels and movies. See his favorites below. --Daphne Durham

Will Beall's Favorite Crime Novels


Clockers

Dirty White Boys

No Country for Old Men

Billy Bathgate

The Underground Man

See the complete list (with comments) from Will Beall



--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Beall's hard-edged debut explores the familiar territory of drugs and corruption on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. In scenes that alternate between the past and the present, rookie police officer Ben Halloran, who's partnered with tough veteran Miguel Marquez, struggles to conceal his secret affiliation with a ganglord, even as the pair probe a series of murders. Beall, himself an officer in the LAPD's 77th Division, writes what he knows, but loads of pointless, gory violence (including gougings and mutilations), some awkward prose ("The party was Carcosa's schizophrenic attempt to reconcile his criminal origins with the propriety of a Mexican tradition"), improbable plot elements (thugs who quote Macbeth) and a lack of redeeming characters limit this one's appeal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Anthony on October 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is gritty and real and after I read it I felt like I was a little less innocent than I was when I had begun.

I was born and raised in South L.A. (South Central) and was surrounded by the gang lifestyle, complete with drugs, police and violence but was a statistical outlier and fortunately, I went on to college and eventually earned a professional degree. That being said I have a connection with many of the gritty gang bangers Beall writes about that most people never will. Somehow, I feel this book captures the road I didn't travel with amazing reality. This book is eerily real. In so many ways it truly captures not only the everyday happenings in our nations most dangerous areas but it captures the soul of the area. The book is a real page turner but what struck me was how Beall delved into psychological and spiritual underpinnings behind the social ills in urban Los Angeles.

I was actually shocked to turn to the back cover and see that the writer was white. But when I found out that he was a cop in 77th division of L.A.P.D it all made sense. Beall has probably been in my old neighborhood 100 times more than I in the last decade and clearly has his finger on the pulse of the real demons of my hometown and this country. There were parts of this book that made me literally stand still and marvel at how Beall had translated the thoughts and feelings of young urban America for the masses to read.

On its face the book has some of the strengths of some of my favorite novels. The book is as colorfully descriptive as the Da Vinci Code and almost more satisfying as I have never seen the cities in Europe that Dan Brown speaks of but with this book I could see every little familiar spot that I had grown up around in my mind as I read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Harrold on October 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In his debut novel L.A. Rex author and LAPD officer Will Beall takes us to a world that we might never otherwise know. His novel is escapist only because of our limited access to the streets of L.A.'s 77th District, not because they don't exist. Only an LAPD officer who patrols South Central could take us to the places Beall does. As readers, we are fortunate that in addition to being a no-frills beat cop, Beall is also a supremely talented writer who hasn't added to a genre as much as he has created one.

As a former large city / urban patrol and narcotics cop myself, I can attest that Beall's novel is set in a world that offers edge, grit, brutality and consequence that will enthrall and surprise both the cynical cop and the lay reader.

His first time out, Beall swings for the fences and delivers a walk-off homerun. He reveals to the reader a world that is, sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes bleak, but always vivid. While authenticity is Beall's trump card, this book represents a royal flush: a balanced novel with a plot bolstered by Beall's credibility but also powerful, original and extremely imaginative in its own right.

Beall details a world he experiences instead of describing a ghetto he imagines. Beyond the realism of Beall's work is a structured novel that transcends the abilities of most debut offerings. At first glance, I thought that Beall's decision to use a type of scattered chronology would render the plot hard to follow. Instead, he uses time to his advantage and it results in a novel that is more journey than story.

I believe that few people are as hesitant as I am to pick-up crime fiction or as quick to discard it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Magnus on October 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First-time authors who crank out a killer book piss me off, whether it's Will Beall or Uzodinma Iweala.

But you have to give credit where it's due. Beall's got talent. And experience. If a non-cop had written this book, some of the outrageousness in it could be dismissed as hyperbole. Knowing he's walked the mean streets for years makes you wonder what really goes on out there.

If you like tough-guy talk, humor and action, action, action, you're going to like this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Steuernagel on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The first 190 pages of this novel are superb. Mr. Beall's writing style is unsurpassed in the genre of gritty, LA cop noir realism. The author employs an almost rhythmic cadence that moves the reader along and keeps one turning the pages for more.

Mr. Beall's dark humor leavens even the most horrifying sequences.

And then...there's a shifting of gears. It's as if Beall had to go answer a 911 call somewhere and a junior editor named "Buffy" takes over writing the novel's critical third act. Previously evil villains mysteriously soften. Secondary, uninteresting characters suddenly assume center stage.

The taut action and previously well-crafted plot begin to lurch.

Just as suddenly, it seems, the real author later returns and submits more script. The junior editor, (Buffy?), throws the copy in randomly and the reader is left with a jumble and a distinctly unsatisfying ending.

I won't play the spoiler for anyone who hasn't yet read this basically fine first novel of Mr. Beall's. But the hapless, 20-something "Buffy" has a screw loose in plotting the finale.

If Beall is as tough as he comes across in this novel's promising opening, he'd blow "Buffy's" head off and find a new editor for his next novel.
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