James Reviews Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

*A friend of ours, James, has agreed to do a guest post today. If you like his review, check out his other writing endeavors here.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon


Describe it in 25 words or less. A shocking and honest examination of the Baltimore homicide unit.

Any particular reason for choosing this book? I’m a sucker for book recommendations.

Genre: Journalism

What did you think of the cover art? The cover art properly invokes fear of dark alleys.

Who was your favorite character and why? Tom Pellegrini due to an ability to identify with him through his personal passions and tenacity. I appreciated his determination which remained unaffected despite lack of support.

Who was your least favorite character and why? The Fishman is a slimy pile of subhuman flesh.

Did it grab you immediately or did it take a while? I was immediately grabbed, thrown against the wall, and slammed into the ground before taking a breath.

Was it plot or character driven? Character driven.

What did you think of the ending? Simon’s book will be a disappointment for those seeking tidy conclusions. The title explains this is a twelve month snapshot of the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide detectives. Life goes on as December turns to January, and with no respect for our personal dramas.

Did you learn anything? Baltimore is not a place I intend to visit. Ever.

Favorite quote: “You shoot a guy, hey,” the sergeant adds with a shrug. “You shoot another guy–well, okay, this is Baltimore. You shoot three guys, it’s time to admit you have a problem.”

Would you read it again? Oh yes!

Have you read other books by the same author? Not yet. Definitely will read his other book.

How does the book compare to the film? NBC made a long running series based on the book, Homicide: Life on the Street. I have not watched a single episode, but the interest has been encouraged.

Song/Soundtrack recommendations: Listening to Miles Davis’ album Kinda Blue feels right when reading the book.

Who would you recommend it to? Anyone interested in journalism, mysteries, true crime, and dark drama.

Number of unknown words: Zero unknown words. This is more a commentary on David Simon’s journalistic writing chops than my smarts.

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