cover image Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

David Simon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $24.95 (599pp) ISBN 978-0-395-48829-4

Baltimore Sun reporter Simon spent a year tracking the homicide unit of his city's police, following the officers from crime scenes to interrogations to hospital emergency rooms. With empathy, psychological nuance, racy verbatim dialogue and razor-sharp prose, he offers a rare insider's look at the detective's tension-wracked world. Presiding over a score of sleuths is commander Gary D'Addario, ``connoisseur of survival'' who grapples with political intrigue, massive red tape and ``red balls'' (major, difficult cases). His detectives include Tom Pelligrini, obsessed with solving the rape-murder of an 11-year-old girl; Rich Garvey, whose ``perfect year'' is upset by a murder case that collapses in court; and black, cosmopolitan Harry Edgerton, a lone wolf, son of a jazz pianist. This hectic daily log reveals the detective's beat on Baltimore's mean streets (234 murders in 1988) to be brutal, bureaucratic and, occasionally, mundane. (June)