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L.A. Rex

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  291 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
A fierce and ferocious, grittily cinematic debut set in South Central Los Angeles that recalls both Richard Price and James Ellroy-with a soundtrack from Death Row records-by an LAPD antigang officer who continues to patrol the streets he writes about.

As far as everyone in the squad room knows, Ben Halloran is completely fresh to the streets of the 77th Division, a soft
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Jan 05, 2009 Libby rated it it was ok
Shelves: los-angeles
About halfway through writing this review, I reread what I had so far written. My level of snarkiness surprised me. I started thinking about why I post reviews on Goodreads, and what compels me to say such nasty things that I would never, never say in a workshop or to a writer's face. I feel ashamed of myself. In my lame attempt to amuse my friends I've acted like a total lout who feels free to bully people she's never met via the ol' interwebs, but who would be too much of a coward to swing her ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Joyce added it
Shelves: librarybook
Recently there was a media debate about whether a particular film, _Precious_, was exploitative or art. I don't get the dichotomy because the two don't seem mutually exclusive to me, as proven by a long line of deeply-felt yet ghetto-sensationalizing novels, plays, and films. From Dickens and Hugo to _West Side Story_ to music videos like _Beat It_ -- and definitely including Will Beall's roman policier -- there's a mountain of evidence that poverty, crime, and racial tension are an effective ba ...more
Jul 17, 2010 Nagrom rated it did not like it
Great start... gets stupid beyond belief before the end though.
The stupidity is really too bad, as Beall can write well. His writing reminds me of conversations and experiences with friends in Law Enforcement, and on the streets. He brings a very authentic voice to his LEO's and mopes alike. The story begins extremely compelling, and is less formulaic in its development, not laying things out in a typical or expected fashion. But, about two thirds through, Beall gets himself stuck on stupid,and
Great when it stays on the street, loses something in suburbs.

Only for those who think the Shield could be a little edgier.

I really wish this rating system allowed half stars, as I think this would be 4.5 stars.

The author's descriptions of day to day work of a patrolman in South Central have the air of authenticity and effectively convey a gritty reality that appear to convey the realities of the inner city without necessarily moralizing or over dramatizing (the scene with Jax and Darius afte
Aug 04, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like their fiction gritty
Third time reading this and it gets better each time. There's nothing soft about this book. It's the darkest, grittiest novel I've ever read. A police procedural that isn't about plain clothed homicide detectives catching the killer to deliver him to justice.

This is the streets of L.A. where the tour guides don't take anyone and not being from the hood will get you dead. In the 77TH Division nobody is what they say they are and the only difference between the boys in blue and the dealers and sh
Nov 08, 2015 Matt rated it it was ok
i stopped about 60 pages to go.... it was getting tedious and i have similar complaints as others.
it seemed like every character was given too much background and not enough depth.
Boring cliches of money-grubbing Jewish lawyers (with Yiddish slang of course), ghetto scholars, cops buying crackheads cheeseburgers, shopping while black.... definitely over-ambitious for a first novel. i would have been able to tolerate it if it was a brisk 200 pages and we got more of benji's background over 3 or 4
Jan 04, 2010 Mk100 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ron Mexico
Mar 06, 2011 Ron Mexico rated it really liked it
fictionalize truth about the rampart scandal.
Jan 12, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is a monster of a book. It will fascinate and horrify you, and terrorize you, and you won't want to put it down. THIS is really the true literary answer to "The Wire" -- even though it is set in LA. You wouldn't think it going in, but there is true compassion mixed in with the horrifying violence. There is the trust that grows between two people simply because of shared horrors, and the realization that so many people live in situations that we can't even imagine. This is a cop novel, and t ...more
Thomas Litchford
Jun 26, 2010 Thomas Litchford rated it liked it
L.A. Rex is an enjoyable read, if you're in the mood for some ultra violence, as the kids used to say. It holds together pretty well as a story, but the characters are a little comic book-y, and that's why I gave it the 'gentleman's c.' Beall is an actual police, and his experience lends a lot of knowing details to the story in a style that reminds me of the TV show Burn Notice. That feeling of authenticity, of being in the hands of someone who has been there, is the source of a lot of the pleas ...more
Jun 19, 2013 Drew rated it it was ok
Shelves: genrereads, mistakes, 2013
I picked this up as an audiobook in a bookstore clearance bin and it is not good. What passes early on as narrative arc is left to meander aimlessly for hundreds of pages while Beall drops in tangential stories in the "craziest shit an urban cop will encounter" family. The characters are thinly drawn, the plot is crumbly and non-sequitur, and Beall's style is flowery--at times, impressive or interesting or even lyrical, but more often show-offy and obnoxious. Skip it, if it was even on your rada ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Simone rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: most, especially non-readers
Will Beall's gritty look inside of the life of criminals and cops in South Central LA is highly riveting and fast-paced, so much so it is hard to believe it was written by an actual police officer.

The characters are very colorful and memorable, important since the novel often jumps from past to present. At times, it is hard to know exactly who is a good guy and who is bad- part of the charm of this title.

This is a perfect book to give to a (likely male) friend who doesn't like to read, thinkin
Sep 24, 2008 Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
If you like the TV show THE SHIELD then this novel by a current LA cop might be right for you. In fact, this is far more intense and violent than even that show known for those things. It's a cop book with all kinds of criminals--gangbangers, gangsta rappers, dirty cops, good cops, lawyers etc etc. I must admit it gets a tad repetitive by the end and some of the violence is so over the top that it borders on the comical but I kind of like "Ellroy" styled jolts of testosterone such as this every ...more
Jorge Ramirez
Nov 28, 2011 Jorge Ramirez rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody
This book was one of the best books that I have ever read. At first glance I thought that it was going to be about Will Beall's life in the 77th Division homicide, but it isn't. It's a whole story that has you thinking one thing but kinda goes into another and somehow every character in the book gets connected in a way that is that sometimes seems a bit horrific and weird. I would certainly recommend this book to anybody that likes books about cops and violence and especially to anyone that want ...more
Katina Goshtasby
Oct 27, 2007 Katina Goshtasby rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not the faint of heart
I wound up with a proof, so I can't totally speak to the plot because I caught a few inconsistencies that I am sure weren't in the final. Even so, I thought that the writing was very good - better than I'd actually expected. I did expect a little more realism from the actual story, though individual scenes, such as the very first one (I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who may read this) were terrific in terms of realism and descriptiveness. I would imagine that such scenes were probably ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A violent and gory story written by an actual cop, full of police and gang jargon and brutal scenes for anyone who enjoys such a spectacular romp. Of course, it is contrived and over-the-top, but you just keep on reading anyway. Many allusions to the rapper wars, etc. Sure to be made into a movie, although it will have to be toned down. For those who like hard-edged, hard-boiled, action fiction. Definitely not bad for a first novel.
Aug 30, 2011 Marc rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Action junkies/ ADD readers
Action packed, bloody, summer blockbuster buddy movie featuring the by now familiar setup - young cop doing his first tour under the grizzled old mentor with an iron code and maxed out street savvy. Delivers the testosterone.

I've read some commentary re: unrealisticly positive slant on LA cops and whiter than white depictions of race - that's all true. This ain't your thinking mans type of tale. Get into this thing for entertainment, not the social issues.
Patrick O'Neil
May 15, 2010 Patrick O'Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real cop from LA's South Central beat writes a novel about a cop from LA's South Central beat. Art imitates life? Well, sort of. Will Beall writes a pretty impressive debut novel. He's got gangs, he's got cops, he's got corrupt lawyers, he's got crime and crazy shit going on all over the place. Although there's a few instances where I thought "nah, this couldn't really happen." I found myself engrossed and read it straight through.
Sep 08, 2009 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Gritty, dirty and raw is the only way to describe Beall's book about a LA street cop's story that intertwines with that of gang bangers, drug dealers, and rap artists. Shows all of LA's dirty secrets, and describes the reality of the crimes more than you would like to believe. A very easy read that will make you think twice of heading into East Los or South Central. Training Day has nothing on L.A. Rex!
Aug 27, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
A very interesting, raw look at the LAPD. Much of the grosser scenes were viscerally described and in great detail...don't read if you have a weak stomach for these types of things. Also, it takes any romantic notions you may have out of police work (I have to admit this made me a little sad as I'm a huge Law and Order SVU fan).
Aug 06, 2009 P.A. rated it it was amazing
Just a little way in to this book. It is amazing. It's the kind of LAPD book I've been looking for. Sharp and brilliant and not at all pretty. Kind of like L.A. and the LAPD are.

Finished now. This book is amazing. As a first time author I'm in awe of this man. Few people can be this good so early in their game. Definitely recommend.
Jun 08, 2014 Frank rated it it was ok
dnf. library audiobook, so no second thoughts about turning it off and deleting. Violent LA cops were the good guys, black corrupt cops and gangsters, as well as Jewish lawyers, also corrupt, suing for police brutality were the bad guys. Went pretty deep into the book before turning off and deleting.
Jul 27, 2007 markandshantel rated it it was amazing
Why has no one read this book? Top 5 for 2006.
A story about cops in L.A. - not for the squeamish!
Well written, fast paced, very in your face.
I found an autographed copy in a bargain bin and that was a happy day.
Read this book.
Sep 22, 2015 Christina rated it it was ok
I got lost on the plot, which kept jumping around in time. Nevertheless, I pushed through to the end. Publishers love cops who can write, and I think that was the case here, although he could have done with a good edit.
Tom Hicks
This is my second time reading this book and it's just as good as the first time. A full time police officer in LA and he's an author as well. Can't wait for his new book "The Lion Hunter" coming soon I hope. Highly recommended.
Tracey Mcd
Jun 30, 2014 Tracey Mcd rated it it was ok
Dated, yes. Unbelievable at time (the final fights are out of a bad 90s movie). The characters are stereotypical. Full of slurs and violence. Yet there is some compelling. The first third Is ho-hum, the last third is a farce but that middle third is really, really good.
Feb 13, 2012 Chad rated it liked it
It was ok, it felt a bit forced with random spanish words thrown in and finding out who Ben really is just seemed corny. It left all traces of reality behind when the characters converge on Darius' house for the final showdown.
Oct 29, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
Good for an audio book. Kept me relatively engaged, though I found myself mixing up characters at times. Fairly predictable end and some of the violence seemed more than a little gratuitous. But, it passed the time on a long drive without making me roll my eyes, so three stars.
Jul 22, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
This is my newest audio book that I am listening to in my car. At first I thought that it was so gory I would never make it through. Now I am on the sixth disc and I am completly absorbed by the story. The pieces are falling into place and the violence is just something that is happening.
Dec 11, 2014 Robert rated it liked it
Dimestore novel that puts the Menace II Society, South Central, and Boyz N The Hood story on the page. Excellent description of LA, particularly central LA in the 90's. The brutality, while real, becomes comical at points as it saturates a solid story.
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