Homicide Author:David Simon The scene is Baltimore; the year is 1988. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. And at the center of this hurricane of crime is the city's homicide unit, a small brotherhood of hard men who fight for whatever justice is possible in a deadly world. — David Simon is the first reporter ever to gain unlimite... more »d access to a homicide unit, and this electrifying book tells the true story of a year on the violent streets of an American city. The narrative focuses on three detectives, each driven in his own way to find out how and why the bodies fall. Donald Worden?the Big Man?is a natural, a veteran investigator who uses his astonishing memory and years of expe¬rience like weapons. Harry Edgerton, a black detective in a mostly white unit, in¬sists on going his own way, and his slight¬ly eccentric methods are a constant source of tension within his squad. And Tom Pellegrini is the earnest rookie who takes on the year's most difficult case, the brutal rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl. As the detectives make their rounds, some cases go down easy ("dunkers"), some go down hard or not at all ("who¬dunits"), and some?the biggest cases, the "red balls"?capture the attention of the entire department. But Baltimore, like so many other cities, is plagued by racial tensions and a drug epidemic, and the detectives often feel that the rising tide of chaos is about to swamp them completely. Meanwhile, their battle for a little law and order is joined by a vivid cast of support¬ing players. Lab techs and beat cops, pros¬ecutors and judges, bureaucrats and politi¬cians, victims and murderers ? all are locked in a never-ending conflict between crime and punishment.
The homicide detective is an American icon, the hero of a mythology created by film and television. But until now, no jour¬nalist has spent enough time on the killing streets to get behind the myth and show us how a detective really operates. In a book that boils with drama, humor, and haunting truth, David Simon tells a riveting tale about the men who work on the dark side of the American experience.
DAVID SIMON, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, spent four years on the police beat before taking a leave of absence to write this book. In late 1987, he persuaded the Baltimore police department to allow him unlimited access to the city's homicide unit for a full year, and throughout 1988 he shadowed one shift of detectives as they traveled from interrogations to autopsies, from crime scenes to hospital emergency rooms. Baltimore recorded 234 murders in 1988; during the two years David Simon spent writing Homicide, an additional 567 murders occurred.« less