Ghettoside : Investigating a Homicide Epidemic, Hardback Book

Ghettoside : Investigating a Homicide Epidemic Hardback

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is The International Bestseller - As Read on BBC Radio 4.

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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: True crime
  • ISBN: 9781847923622

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This book being so new, I was surprised to see it just sitting there on the library shelf waiting to be plucked off by anyone. I was the lucky so and so who managed to nab it, and I did the library patrons a favour by returning it within a few days, so someone else could have the privilege. When you hear about the 'gang problem' in LA, you might think like I used to. That people in certain neighbourhoods just live a certain way, that whole families are dysfunctional and that there is no hope. But this book goes behind the few headlines of any media reports that ever tried to explore what is going on in South Central LA. It all tales place in the late 2000s and the focus is on one precinct's homicide detective team. These guys are the good guys. They care about solving crimes, the gang-related drive-by shootings, that no one else seems to care about. And this is the main point from the book: that if more of these murders were solved, the murder rate would diminish. The idea being that it is the lack of tangible justice in the gang areas that promotes vigilante justice. This justice is not to be confused with street drug busts, gun confiscations or police harassment of gang members, it is the solving of murders. This is a sad read, even with the good guy homicide detectives on the cases- they are overwhelmed and under-resourced, on a day to day basis they are faced with dead kids (aged 13- adulthood), grieving families and terrified witnesses. But the good that they can do is emphasised, and it gives us hope. I got the feeling that the uniformed LAPD officers got off lightly in this book. A few times their 'culture' and attitude towards gangs and certain neighbourhoods was mentioned, and then left alone. Maybe that is a whole new book. Overall, this book was fascinating and it unfolded beautifully and cleverly.

Also by Jill Leovy