[By Nic Lindh on Tuesday, 06 May 2008]
David Simon is one of the creators of the fantastic HBO show The Wire. He wrote Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets after spending 1988 observing three squads of Baltimore homicide detectives. Simon’s unprecedented access to the detectives as they go about their jobs resulted in a book so tight and well-written it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s not fiction.
Not only does Simon capture the lingo and banter of the detectives, but he also finds empathy and raw emotion in the most unlikely places.
As a bonus for fans of The Wire, one of the many classic scenes from that show, where the detectives use a photocopier as a fake polygraph machine, is straight from Homicide.
Even though now 20 years old, Homicide is a gripping read. It is hard to imagine that the business of murder has changed all that much in the intervening years.