Homicide : A Year on the Killing Streets

4.37 (11,620 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Introduction by 

List price: US$14.22

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


The scene is Baltimore. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. At the cente of this hurricane of crime is the city's homicide unit, a small brotherhood of men confronted by the darkest of American visions. David Simon was the first reporter ever to gain unlimited access to a homicide unit, and his remarkable book is both a compelling account of casework and an investigation into our culture of violence. The narrative follows Donald Worden, a veteran investigator nearing the end of his career; Harry Edgerton, an iconoclastic black detective in a mostly white unit; and Tom Pellegrini, an earnest rookie who takes on the year's most difficult case, the brutal rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 672 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 44mm | 458.13g
  • Canongate Books Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1847673120
  • 9781847673121
  • 23,680

Review quote

* A masterpiece ... [Simon] has exceptional literary gifts of eye and ear. Few novelists have written so well about the corrosiveness of the modern American city. Martin Amis * A hard-nosed classic of modern crime reportage. GQ * The true genius of [his] work is its scope ... Homicide moves beyond individual victims to tell the stories of those touched by their deaths. By staring deep into the eyes of the departed, Simon reveals the mysteries of the living. Sunday Times * The real delight is the discovery of Simon's perfect ear for dialogue; his masterful construction and pacing; and his empathy for his occasionally brutal but nevertheless inspirational subjects. Observer * This brilliant book ... [is] desolate, sharp, poetic and passionate ... Simon alternates between black humour and moments of bleakness, and the restlessness of the violence that lies underneath it all. Financial Times * A staggering work that is almost impossible to put down ... a gripping depiction of America's culture of violence ... Simon conjures up his subjects' individual personalities in three-dimensional detail. The detectives leap off these pages ... A raw, revelatory and utterly real account of life and death in Baltimore. Metro * A remarkable psychological and personal picture of 18 men labouring under immense pressure in traumatic circumstances ... it is not just a majestic piece of reporting, it demonstrates Simon's instinctive ability to identify how the political and psychological interact ... It reads like a thriller as he takes you through the desperate world of inner city West and East Baltimore, slaying by slaying. Daily Telegraph * Homicide is as intense a work of observation as you're likely ever to find, studded with Simon's caustic, wry and suspicious personality, as well as the ability to portray people as they truly are, usually a complicated shade of gray. Herald * Brushes away the accretions of myth to reveal the banality of crime ... it's a sober, unsurprised account of the desperately sad lives of people who commit most crimes and a quiet testimonial to the people who clear up the mess. Word Magazine * David Simon has single handedly raised the bar for writing about crime, crime-fighting and the messy and imprecise business of justice to new and nearly unreachable levels. Like the WIRE, which was easily the finest dramatic series in the history of television, a work of tremendous ambition which made everything in the genre to follow irrelevent. Tony Bourdain * The best book about homicide detectives by an American writer. Norman Mailer * Simon does an extraordinary job of getting under the skin and into the minds of the police officers. New York Times Book Review * Remarkable ... A True Crime Classic ... a journalistic masterpiece of a brutal, bloody, bewildering year in the Baltimore Police Department's homicide unit. Associated Press * A reporter who keeps his wits about him ... A very good book. The New Yorker * Simon has captured the poetry of the meanest streets. Los Angeles Times * Certainly one of the most engrossing police procedural mystery books ever written, not only because the crimes and plots and personalities are real, but because Simon is a terrific writer who has mastered the necessities and nuances of his material. Newsday * The world of urban violence has never been so well portrayed, nor has the day-to-day craft of the detective. Chicago Tribune * Virtually ignored by TV schedulers and audiences in the UK, David Simon's uncompromising crime drama 'The Wire' has fan a devoted fan base on DVD in September. At the same time Canongate bring us a new UK edition of the book that started it all, David Simon's True Crime classic HOMICIDE. Unavailable for 15 years and a great read in its own right, he follows Baltimore's homicide department over the course of a year. This new 'Wire'-inspired jacket is sure to appeal to fans. Bookseller * Simon followed a group of Baltimore detectives through a year on the mean streets. The resulting book is a hefty volume, giving Simon cope for a huge amount of detail and it's this, I think, that makes it such compulsive reading. How the detectives work - the crime they dace, the casual murders, the hopeless lives - all seen through Simon's eyes and those of the detectives he follows so closely. Homicide became the inspiration behind the TV series The Wire, which I've not seen, but who needs fiction when factual writing is as good as this? Publishing News * An extraordinary book. -- Vera Rule Guardian * Homicide is a beautifully-written, almost poetic observation of a desperately harrowing subject and Simon deserves the highest praise for going to the darkest places of the underbelly of the American dream and coming out with a gripping account of what it is like to live and work there. -- Peter Whittaker Tribuneshow more

About David Simon

David Simon's Homicide won the Edgar and Anthony awards and became the basis for the NBC award-winng drama. Simon's second book, The Corner: A Year in the Life of An Inner-City Neighbourhood, co-authored with Edward Burns, was made into an Emmy-winning HBO miniseries. Simon is currently an executive producer and writer for HBO's Peabody Award-winning series THE WIRE. He lives in Baltimore.show more

Rating details

11,620 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
5 54% (6,309)
4 33% (3,789)
3 10% (1,183)
2 2% (240)
1 1% (99)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X