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LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal Paperback – January 3, 2003


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LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal + Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations by the Detective Who Solved Both Cases
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (January 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080213971X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802139719
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sullivan (The Price of Experience) strikes again in the arena of California true crime, exploring the sordid world of big money, gangsta rap, guns and drugs. Opening with the shooting of a black man by a white man during a traffic incident, Sullivan underscores the not-so-well-known racial tempest brewing on the West Coast especially when he reveals that the shooter was an undercover narcotics investigator and the man killed was an off-duty L.A.P.D. officer who moonlighted for the disreputable Death Row Records. From here, Sullivan outlines the bad and the ugly of the music industry: mafioso-style music label management; the unsolved murders of rap superstars Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.; and a dizzying series of binary oppositions Crips vs. Bloods; West Coast rappers vs. East Coast rappers; Death Row Records' exec Suge Knight vs. Puffy Combs of Bad Boy Records, etc. Unfortunately, the basic material isn't exactly new; journalists Ronin Ro and Cathy Scott, among others, have previously covered the murders of Shakur and B.I.G. Still, Sullivan's reportorial writing style accurately reflects the investigative work of homicide gumshoe Russell Poole while building the drama within the truly labyrinthine political coverups, cop-to-criminal crossovers and the breaks in the L.A.P.D.'s code of silence. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

So what was the relationship among Death Row Records' Suge Knight, the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, and the Los Angeles Police Department?
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Well written and well researched.
K. Beard
He keeps the focus very tightly on the murder investigations and the connections between rogue LAPD officers and Death Row records.
Mark K. Mcdonough
I read this good book and could not put the book down that's how good its was.
Leelee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on February 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was drawn to this book by a radio interview I heard a year ago or so, I believe with the author (I missed the beginning of the interview) in which he detailed some of the allegations of shoddy policework that attended the LAPD's investigation of the murder of Christopher Wallace, who went by the rap alias Notorious B.I.G. One eye-opener was an eyewitness to the shooting who was willing to cooperate but was never contacted by authorities, and was shot to death in a housing project back east two months later. So I bought the book, and basically more of my opinions on the LAPD scandals of the last several years were confirmed.
The book starts with Russell Poole, a decorated detective with basically impeccable credentials, investigating a shooting in the San Fernando Valley. The shooter and the victim both turned out to be police officers: the shooter, Frank Lyga, was a white undercover narcotics detective, the man killed, Kevin Gaines, a black patrolman. When the detectives went to the house the black policeman was living in, they were a bit taken aback to discover it was a mansion in Beverly Hills. The man's girlfriend was Suge Knight's estranged wife. Knight, the owner of Death Row Records, had an unsavory reputation for intimidation, extortion, drug dealing, and murder anyway, so the police were somewhat taken aback.
Soon, Poole agrees to become the lead detective in the investigation of the shooting of Wallace mentioned above, and discovers that there may be LAPD officers involved in the killing, or at least working for Suge Knight. Soon, that part of the investigation is derailed, and Poole is ordered by superiors to look in other directions that he's sure will be fruitless, and of course they turn out to be.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mark K. Mcdonough VINE VOICE on April 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure why I grabbed this book -- at best I'm a very casual rap fan, being more of an "old school" type (very old school). Perhaps it was my interest in the history of police corruption in Los Angeles, which goes back to the days of Raymond Chandler and beyond.
In any case, this is an excellent read. Sullivan takes a very complex tale with many players and makes it easy to follow. The writing is clear, crisp and clean. His logical analysis of the controversies in the investigation seem very sound. This is not a book that will titillate people with a voyeuristic look at the rap lifestyle. He keeps the focus very tightly on the murder investigations and the connections between rogue LAPD officers and Death Row records.
I guess I have only two quibbles. First, the book needs an index. We get a timeline (very helpful), a cast of characters, even recommended further readings. But an index would be nice. Second, and this is not Sullivan's fault in anyway, this is a very grim tale. Evil goes unpunished, the truth is suppressed by authorities and good guys are in short supply.
People who lived through the L.A. police corruption scandals of earlier eras would find much to recognize in this tale.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joie Goodkin on April 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A book like LAbryinth is so compelling, and so right on that it is amazing that LA society in general does not get up in arms when they read of the lax police policy that allows thugs and gangsters to foist rap music as an artform, and brutality as a modus operandi on the public. OK OK all people are entitled to produce their personal music, but the crude lyrics are far exceeded in debauchery by the tacit police compliance by LA's famous Chief Bernard Parks and a band of his hand picked corrupted officers. THAT A FIRST CLASS DETECTIVE LIKE RUSSELL POOLE RESIGNS BECAUSE HE IS UNABLE TO DO HIS JOB is not only frightening but should be totally unacceptable to anyone who reads or hears about the book. Chief Parks' contract has not been renewed, but why is this LAbyrinth information still not blasting from the front page of the LA Times? Informed readers shake their heads, and the rappers shake their booty. What needs to shake is the very foundation of the LA police department.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jesse on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After finishing LAbyrinth, I can say I am extremely pleased with Randall Sullivan's effort. The book was thoroughly researched, well written, and is the most definitive work written on the Biggie Smalls/Tupac murders. Although there are plenty of dates and facts throughout, the book's narrative is easy to follow, and it doesn't really read like a text. If you're interested in true crime and/or the rap industry's seething underbelly, then this should be a top choice. Also included is a startling portrait of the LAPD as one of the most corrupt police organizations in U.S. history. The binding thread in this book is Detective Russell Poole's investigation of Biggie's murder, and the subsequent LAPD officer ties to Death Row Record's executive Suge Knight. Highly recommended reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AJ on June 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The book is an excellent read, and for the reader from Trenton, NJ, if you already knew what was going on in regards to the whole Death Row/Tupac/Biggie murder, then why did you buy the book? And if the reader from Trenton did know so much about Suge Knight, then he would not have found it highly unlikely that these rougue cops who were associates of Suge Knight could instill the kind of fear into their co-workers as they did. The book exposes the dirty side of both politics and law enforcement and although it does happen in every city it doesn't mean it's right. And apparently the Chief of police was not doing his job since he was not re-elected. I admire this detectives time, dedication, and courage to expose Suge Knight. I also admire his dedication to trying to solve the horrific murders of these great entertainers and it is just unfortunate that politics is overriding these two unjust murders and who knows how many others. A must read!
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