Jill Leovy in conversation with Oscar Villalon
Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

 

discussing the the subject of her new book

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

published by Spiegel & Grau

A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America

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.

Jill Leovy is an award-winning reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. Jill answered our 5 question on the City Lights Blog

Oscar Villalon is the Managing Editor of Zyzzyva Magazine and former Book Editor and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Advance praise for Ghettoside:

"Ghettoside is fantastic. It does what the best narrative nonfiction does: It transcends its subject by taking one person's journey and making it all our journeys. That's what makes this not just a gritty, heart-wrenching, and telling book, but an important one. From the patrol cop to the president, everyone needs to read this book."—Michael Connelly

"Jill Leovy writes with exceptional sharpness and tautness, and her pages glow and glitter with the found poetry of the street. This book will take an honored place on the shelf that includes David Simon's classic Homicide and Michelle Alexander's explosive study of mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow."—Martin Amis

"A gripping and powerful account of urban homicide investigation in the United States."—Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Devil in the Grove

“Ghettoside is a brilliant taxonomic investigation into the American violence epidemic disguised as a highly entertaining true crime book.”—Matt Taibbi, author of The Divide

“A thoroughly engrossing true-life policier full of vivid and sympathetic characters, but also the bravest book about race and crime I’ve ever read.”—Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives

“What an amazing book—a totally gripping piece of reporting.”—Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking

“Absorbing . . . Readers may come for Leovy’s detective story; they will stay for her lucid social critique.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)