LABYRINTH: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal

Randall Sullivan, Author . Atlantic Monthly $25 (324p) ISBN 978-0-87113-838-5

Sullivan (The Price of Experience) strikes again in the arena of California true crime, exploring the sordid world of big money, gangsta rap, guns and drugs. Opening with the shooting of a black man by a white man during a traffic incident, Sullivan underscores the not-so-well-known racial tempest brewing on the West Coast—especially when he reveals that the shooter was an undercover narcotics investigator and the man killed was an off-duty L.A.P.D. officer who moonlighted for the disreputable Death Row Records. From here, Sullivan outlines the bad and the ugly of the music industry: mafioso-style music label management; the unsolved murders of rap superstars Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.; and a dizzying series of binary oppositions—Crips vs. Bloods; West Coast rappers vs. East Coast rappers; Death Row Records' exec Suge Knight vs. Puffy Combs of Bad Boy Records, etc. Unfortunately, the basic material isn't exactly new; journalists Ronin Ro and Cathy Scott, among others, have previously covered the murders of Shakur and B.I.G. Still, Sullivan's reportorial writing style accurately reflects the investigative work of homicide gumshoe Russell Poole while building the drama within the truly labyrinthine political coverups, cop-to-criminal crossovers and the breaks in the L.A.P.D.'s code of silence. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8021-3971-9
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-1-84195-406-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-55584-743-2
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