Jim's Reviews > Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Homicide by David Simon
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's review
May 23, 13

really liked it
bookshelves: true-crime
Read in May, 2007

I don't know if anyone remembers it now, but during the 1990s there was a television show that focused on the Baltimore homicide department called Homicide: Life on the Streets. If you don't remember it don't worry, it won a lot of awards during its 7 season life, but by all accounts, it was watched by 7 people and a dog.

Though the show was a work of fiction, it was based on this book. David Simon was a reporter (I'm not sure if he still is, he's gone on to produce television shows like The Wire) and got to tag along with the Baltimore homicide department for a year (1987 or 1988). This book describes the characters in that department and some of the crimes they investigated.

I don't watch much television (even if I tend to use the news networks as auditory wallpaper when I'm pottering about the house), but the first 4 or 5 series of the show were my favorite pieces of series television of all time. Don't ask me why, NYPD Blue and Law and Order are structurally similar I know, but I just "got" this show. With this in mind, I bought the book that the show was (at least notionally) based on, though in my defense I probably wouldn't have bought it had I not seen it on the shelf of my local Barnes and Noble.

As I was reading this book, I discovered I was a fairly major geek (or dork or whatever you call someone who gets excited about this sort of thing). I wouldn't go so far as to say that I was geeky enough to turn into someone who dresses up as a Klingon and go to Star Trek conventions, but I am geeky enough to be able to recognize the major characters and story-lines that they pinched from the book (and adapted so that they'd work on the small screen). The plot lines they used weren't just the big ones (though the rape and death of a little girl that was a fairly major story arc in both). I found myself thinking "Oh I recognize this" to some of the minor plot lines too.

Don't get me wrong. the book isn't just of interest to this who liked the show though. If you're interested in a variety of police related (and people based) books and television shows, you'll like this book. Be warned though, the language is "fruity."

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Linda Daley homicide:life on the streets was/is my all-time favorite tv show. and by the looks of the previous reviews a lot more than 7 people watched it.

message 2: by Jim (last edited May 11, 2013 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Linda wrote: "homicide:life on the streets was/is my all-time favorite tv show. and by the looks of the previous reviews a lot more than 7 people watched it."

I know really, but I've sneaking suspicion that the people who "got" the series were the sort that got somewhat dorky about it (I don't mean that in a bad way). I'm inclined to think it's closer to what The Wire would have looked like had it been on one of the terrestrial networks (it's by the same guy).

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