Tag Archives: Book Review

Review: Ghettoside

Ghettoside

Ghettoside
By Jill Leovy
Spiegel & Grau, Hardcover, 9780385529983, January 2015, 384pp.

The Short of It:

An interesting look at one particular murder case in Los Angeles and how black on black crimes have been challenging detectives for years.

The Rest of It:

Ghettoside is a police procedural which covers (mostly) the murder investigation of a Los Angeles detective’s black son, who was killed by another black man while walking down the street. Leovy delves into the history of black on black crime in Los Angeles and why the cycle of black violence continues.

Focusing on the investigation, we meet detectives who have chosen to work in South Central because they firmly believe that that is where the most improvement can be made. That, in itself, was refreshing.

This book has all sorts of fascinating statistics. Those of you who eat that stuff up will find this book a quick and interesting read. But it’s a tragic read as well. So many young lives lost and we are not talking about gang members. We are talking about young kids, 13 and 14 year-olds riding their bikes down the street or kids who happened to be wearing he wrong color that day. All of them black on black crimes which to this day puzzle law enforcement.

What can be done? One detective in particular goes out of his way to take that extra step with the hope of breaking the cycle and as a reader, you suddenly realize how overwhelmingly hopeless the situation must be. At the same time though, one life saved is still something, right? You can’t really put a price on that.

It’s a tough topic but an important one and even with all the stats I breezed through it. My book club discusses it later this week so we’ll see what they have to say about it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Where My Heart Used to Beat

Where My Heart Used to Beat

Where My Heart Used to Beat
By Sebastian Faulks
Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9780805097320, January 26, 2016, 352pp.

The Short of It:

A well-told story about love and loss.

The Rest of It:

Description from Indiebound:

London, 1980. Robert Hendricks, an established psychiatrist and author, has so bottled up memories of his own wartime past that he is nearly sunk into a life of aloneness and depression. Out of the blue, a baffling letter arrives from one Dr. Alexander Pereira, a neurologist and a World War I veteran who claims to be an admirer of Robert’s published work. The letter brings Robert to the older man’s home on a rocky, secluded island off the south of France, and into tempests of memories–his childhood as a fatherless English boy, the carnage he witnessed and the wound he can’t remember receiving as a young officer in World War II, and, above all, the great, devastating love of his life, an Italian woman, “L,” whom he met during the war. As Robert’s recollections pour forth, he’s unsure whether they will lead to psychosis–or redemption. But Dr. Pereira knows.

I really enjoyed this novel and I am not a fan of “war” stories so that should tell you something. This story is delicately told and hints at darkness but there are plenty of moments where the light shines through.

Hendricks is a lonely man. He seeks the company of women many times in this novel, mostly of the paid variety, but when he meets Luisa he knows he’s met the love of his life. However, all is not perfect and she has her own story to tell.

When Hendricks agrees to meet with Dr. Pereira to discuss the possibility of working for him, he finds himself revisiting his past where he’s forced to deal with the death of his father and the events that have shaped him thus far. All of which have everything to do with his current relationships.

This was a good read for me. Good storytelling, liked the setting, and although parts of the story were tragic, it never seemed heavy to me. I enjoyed it.

Source:Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.