Told during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992 this powerful novel tells a different type of crime story. Rather than focusing on the riots themselves and the cause of them Gattis instead looks at what happens in the rest of LA when the police’s attention is focused elsewhere. Gattis uses shifting perspectives to tell his story of revenge that spirals out of control in a city made lawless.
The novel is told over six days and is told from the point of view of a line chef, a female gang member, a nurse, a fireman, a junkie, a drug dealer, a graffiti artist to name but a few. It begins with a murder. The victim is the brother of a well-known gang member, someone normally off limits, normally against the rules but with the city burning and running wild all the rules are thrown out the window. The violence quickly escalates. Without any police presence revenge is swift and bloody. Meanwhile others on the edge of the riots and the gang violence use the chaos to their own advantages.
This is a highly original crime novel told with great skill. I would have liked to have revisited some of the characters though rather than only seeing them again on the periphery of other perspectives. Also given that the recent riots in Baltimore occurred almost to the day as the 1992 riots in Los Angeles I would have like to have explored more of the context of what was happening. All that said this is a highly accomplished crime novel. Fantastically written and plotted, full of violence and compassion, despair and hope, all in equal measure.
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Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Format: Paperback (208mm x 135mm x mm)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publish Date: 9-Apr-2015
Country of Publication: United Kingdom