A Year on the Killing Streets

Book - 1991
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Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1991
ISBN: 9780395488294
Branch Call Number: 363.2595 Simo
Characteristics: 599 p


From Library Staff

Before the television shows--Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Wire, Treme--David Simon was a serious journalist for the Baltimore Sun (coincidentally, so was Sarah Koenig, creator and host of the Serial podcast). This book, published in 1991, details a year Simon spent shadowing the homicide un... Read More »

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Jun 06, 2012

Beyond those worldly concerns, this same detective—if he knows his business—is obligated to arrive in the legal arena with a mind clouded by something other than transcendent visions of moral victory. In his heart of hearts, a veteran detective is inspired not by the glories of the courthouse, but by Rule Number Nine in the lexicon, to wit: 9A. To a jury, any doubt is reasonable. 9B. The better the case, the worse the jury. And, in addition to rules 9A and 9B: 9C. A good man is hard to find, but twelve of them, gathered together in one place, is a miracle.

Jun 06, 2012

“You shoot a guy, hey,” the sergeant adds with a shrug. “You shoot another guy—well, okay, this is Baltimore. You shoot three guys, it’s time to admit you have a problem.”

Jun 06, 2012

Only one scenario, in fact, offers less hope than a body in an alley. When a Baltimore homicide detective is called to the woods and brambles along the far western edge of the city, it can only mean that one of the city’s inhabitants has done a very bad thing and done it very, very well. For two generations, Leakin Park has been Baltimore’s favored dumping ground for those who depart this vale by bullet or blade. . . . Police department legend includes one story, apocryphal perhaps, in which a class of trainees searching one quadrant of the park for a missing person was reminded by a Southwestern District shift commander, with tongue planted in cheek, that they were looking for one body in particular: “If you go grabbing at every one you find, we’ll be here all day.”


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patienceandfortitude Apr 19, 2012

I've been reading a number of books on the criminal justice system told from the perspective of prisoners or their advocates. I decided to look at issues from another perspective and turned to this book. It really made me understand the lives and work of homicide detectives in Baltimore. Although it takes place in the 80's, I feel certain that the realities hold true today. I highly recommend this book. Friends who saw me reading it told me the TV series was excellent, but I missed that. I'm very glad I didn't miss this book.

Sep 03, 2009

Excellent depiction of a real life homicide department. If you've watched "The Wire" or "Homicide: Life on the Street" you'll recognize some of the stories. (If you haven't seen either of those, go rent/buy "The Wire" - it's like a novel on TV).


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