Author(s): Jill Leovy
True Crime | No Category
Why would you kill your neighbour? Based on the best part of a decade embedded with the homicide units of the LAPD, this groundbreaking work of reportage takes us onto the streets, inside the homes and into the lives of a community wracked by a homicide epidemic. Through the gripping story of one particular murder - of an eighteen-year-old boy named Bryant Tennelle, gunned down one evening in spring for no apparent reason - and of its investigation by a brilliant, ferociously driven detective - a blond, surfer-turned-cop named John Skaggs - it reveals the true origins of such violence, explodes the myths surrounding policing and race and shows that the only way to reverse the cycle of violence is with justice.
A phenomenally gripping account of a homicide investigation explodes the myths around policing and race.
Shortlisted for CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger 2015.
"Riveting ... extraordinary ... For long passages, it enveloped and transported me more completely than any other work of nonfiction I have ever read" -- Ed Caesar Sunday Times "Lucid, revelatory, superbly written, incredibly timely. I was astonished by Jill Leovy's Ghettoside in which police and race in America are examined with forensic skill and furious, exceptional prose. Unmissable." -- Chris Cleave "Exceptional. This book will take an honoured place on the shelf that includes David Simon's classic Homicide" -- Martin Amis "Fantastic. Not just a gritty, heart-wrenching, and telling book, but an important one. Everyone needs to read this book" -- Michael Connelly "The best crime journalism since Serial" Esquire "Simply one of the finest books ever written about crime in LA - and crime in America, for that matter ... Tremendously touching ... astonishing ... achieves greatness through its ability to be both timely and timeless" -- New Statesman "Superbly told. A provocative examination of how and why murder happens and a fast-paced crime narrative" -- Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove "Mind-blowing in its forensic detail, Ghettoside's insight into post-Michael Brown, post-Eric Garner America cannot be overstated. This is the best corrective to all those who wring their hands in despair in the face of race, social justice and policing in the United States" -- Rt Hon David Lammy, MP "'Powerful, gripping ... What sets Ghettoside apart from the slew of factual police procedurals published every year, is a compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black-on-black homicide, and the beginnings of a policy prescription for tackling it. This makes Ghettoside an important book, which deserves a wide audience" -- Hari Kunzru Guardian Book of the Week "It's to the author's credit that Ghettoside is so hard to put down, and that you wind up caring for everyone involved. When killers are caught, you don't feel victorious so much as sad. Another life wasted. Unlike a detective novel where you think, "Well, that happened," here there's the sense of the grinding wheel, one gang-related murder after another. On and on and on. It's relentless and brutal, and Jill Leovy's account of it is art." -- David Cedaris, Book of the Month "What an amazing book - totally gripping" -- Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking "Timely ... nuanced ... Leovy's relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights ... crucial" The New York Times Book Review "A brilliant investigation into the American violence epidemic disguised as a highly entertaining true crime book" -- Matt Taibbi, author of The Divide "Thoroughly engrossing. The bravest book about race and crime I've ever read" -- Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives "Gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it... Her premise is simple, powerful and runs counter to prevailing views. ... masterful... clear and compelling" Los Angeles Times "Brave ... eye-opening ... The pace in Leovy's book is set by the chase ... her knowledge makes for lapidary prose that crackles with insight ... deeply humane" Financial Times "Astonishing ... mixes historical survey and true-crime story with polemic ... important, eye-opening" Independent "Told with the chilling detail and gripping pace of a prime-time drama ... Leovy weaves in other heartbreaking stories ... a compelling report from the trenches" Economist "Magnificent ... an immaculately researched work of reportage" Spectator "A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement ... Nestled inside the story of one gang-related killing is a well-made and timely argument - especially in the wake of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., and over the death of Eric Garner - that transcends a single death ... tidal in its force ... displaying an almost Tolstoyan level of human sympathy ... Ms. Leovy is excellent on the street-level detective work ... She is just as excellent on the resulting court proceedings ... Her answers are complex and persuasive ... a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain" -- Dwight Garner The New York Times "Ghettoside, if there's any justice, will be the most important book about urban violence in a generation. And in one of those rare moments of utter kismet, it has appeared just when we need it most ... it is no secret that America has a problem with black-on-black violence. But what Leovy understands is why ... This is not about America or Los Angeles or black neighborhoods, Leovy shows. It's about law ... Ghettoside should change our understanding of and the debate about what's going on in our most troubled neighborhoods ... The book should bring some much-needed balance to the current debate about what post-Ferguson policing should look like ... She is exactly right, and she has done an enormous public service in making what should be obvious, and has not been, obvious once again" Washington Post "Beyond impressive. She wears her research lightly, weaving heavy statistical lifting through delicately nuanced, sensitively handled personal narratives ... filled with riveting snippets of social history ... a superb and dogged work of reporting with a gripping narrative ... a hugely impressive work" Sunday Business Post "What makes Ghettoside so special - and enduring - is not its argument but its emotional content ... Leovy refuses to allow the black residents of South LA to be reduced to data points. She grabs us by the chin and makes us see: these are mothers, fathers, children. These lives matter. These deaths matter. These experiences matter" LA Review of Books "A gripping, best-selling true crime narrative, interwoven with engaging theory and infused with quiet outrage" Independent "Destined to become a classic of crime writing" Herald Scotland
Jill Leovy is an award-winning reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.