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Homicide Special: A Year with the LAPD's Elite Detective Unit Paperback – August 12, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Compelling . . . Corwin has helped demystify not just Homicide Special, but all of police culture, and given it a very personal face.” ―Los Angeles Times Book Review

About the Author

A former staff reporter at the Los Angeles Times, Miles Corwin is the author of The Killing Season and And Still We Rise. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1 edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805076948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805076943
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Miles Corwin writes beautifully and does a great job in engaging the reader not just with the detectives, but with the victims, the families of the victims, and even with the suspects, as in the end i couldn't help but feel sorry for some of them. A great insight into real police work that doesn't always end with nailing a case. I also enjoyed learning that these detectives have a great sense of humor as a way to exorcise the grime of their job.
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I have always been a true-crime fan and this book sets the bar incredibly high. Not only is the author a masterful writer that truly puts you as close to the action as anyone can on paper, but his style is engrossing and makes this book impossible to put down. The cases are fascinating, and his access to this elite squad of detectives is virtually unheard of. This is truly a book you wont forget anytime soon.
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Format: Paperback
Homicide Special, Miles Corwin

The author is a former award-winning reporter at the `Los Angeles Times'. He spent a year with the LAPD's elite detective unit, Homicide Special. They investigate organized-crime killings, serial murders, murders that involve celebrities, and cases that require great expertise or sophisticated technology. LA was once known in the 19th century as the most murderous town in the West. After LA obtained water from Owens Valley it expanded into a major metropolis. This increase was accompanied by a growing crime rate. Complex murders led to a specialized unit with the most experienced detectives. Since the O. J. Simpson trial Homicide Special was overhauled to bring in fresh talent.

Part I, "The Valley" tells about the shooting death of a young immigrant woman. The FBI tap on her phone suggested organized crime, prostitution, and smuggling. Will they share information? The detectives interview people who knew Luda and get information. Will one suspect stand out? The story continues in the following chapters.
Part II, "The Harbor" tells about finding the bodies of a woman and young child in the Los Angeles harbor. This is very unusual. The investigation continues until there is a break in the case. The prime suspect confessed. Chapter 8 has a brief history of LA crime. [Corwin misinterprets the problems in the O. J. Simpson case regarding the planted evidence.] Questioning the main suspects from Part I results in a near confession where neither party admits doing the shooting.

Part III, "West L. A." is about one unsolved murder from 1965, a "cold case". A sixteen year old girl was raped and shot in her home. Research into fingerprints turned up a new suspect. Can they use tricks to fool a suspect into confessing (p.197)?
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I totally loved this book. Could not put it down. Way better than 99% of the fictional crime solving you see in television and film. I love his descriptions of the officers, the city, the "inside" look.
He is a fine writer. I plan to locate his other books and devour them, too.
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Format: Paperback
Inside look at the workings of the Homicide Specials department. We get a look inside the working on cases and how they put everything together to close a case. We got a look at some cases they were working on at the time. It was an interesting read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
True account of special homicide dept.read like a fiction best seller.Hard to put down.
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Format: Paperback
This book is really interesting and gives you an idea of how hard policemen/women work to put criminals behind bars. For me this was a book that I stayed up all last night reading. I was once married to a cop and then later engaged to a retired LAPD cop and I was never interested in their work. Sure wish I had asked a lot more questions. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very readable police procedural that offers insight into the day-to-day operations of a special homicide department in one of Americas more "unique" cities. Read it in one day.
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