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Ghettoside
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Ghettoside

A True Story of Murder in America

By Jill Leovy
Narrated by Rebecca Lowman / 13 hours 23 minutes
Bookseller Recommendation

Ghettoside

“For over a decade Leovy has reported on murder in L.A., especially on the killing of black men (and boys) by black men (and boys) in the south side of the city, and in Ghettoside she does justice to a vast and varied range of characters: victims (often chosen nearly at random), killers (often motivated by revenge), witnesses (often terrified and reluctant), and especially the few dogged homicide detectives who refuse to shrug and let murders go unsolved. And from this daily tragedy she builds a compelling conclusion: that black-on-black homicide flourishes because it is not punished; while the law harasses African Americans over pretexts and petty crimes, it declines to protect them from the worst crime of all. It's a complex, subtly skillful, and necessary book.”

Phinney Books image Tom, Phinney Books

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe  The Economist • The Globe and Mail  BookPage  Kirkus Reviews


On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes.

But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift.

Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

Praise for Ghettoside

“A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement . . . [Jill Leovy is] a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Masterful . . . gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it.”Los Angeles Times

“Moving and engrossing.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Penetrating and heartbreaking . . . Ghettoside points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men’s lives.”USA Today

“Functions both as a snappy police procedural and—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect . . . Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.”The Boston Globe

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