A propulsive and ambitious novel as electrifying as The Wire, from a writer hailed as the West Coast's Richard Price—a mesmerizing epic of crime and opportunity, race, revenge, and loyalty, set in the chaotic streets of South Central L.A. in the wake of one of the most notorious and incendiary trials of the 1990s.
At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted three white Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with using excessive force to subdue a black man named Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a fourth officer. Less than two hours later, the city exploded in violence that lasted six days. In nearly 121 hours, fifty-three lives were lost. But there were even more deaths unaccounted for: violence that occurred outside of active rioting sites by those who used the chaos to viciously settle old scores.
A gritty and cinematic work of fiction, All Involved vividly re-creates this turbulent and terrifying time, set in a sliver of Los Angeles largely ignored by the media during the riots. Ryan Gattis tells seventeen interconnected first-person narratives that paint a portrait of modern America itself—laying bare our history, our prejudices, and our complexities. With characters that capture the voices of gang members, firefighters, graffiti kids, and nurses caught up in these extraordinary circumstances, All Involved is a literary tour de force that catapults this edgy writer into the ranks of such legendary talents as Dennis Lehane and George V. Higgins.
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Books hailed "literary tour de force" and "legendary" tend to make me suspicious of much marketing hype and little substance. Not here. The praise for All Involved is justified, and then some. The book takes us back to LA in 1992, the time of the riots following the Rodney King Trial. The city is burning, and we follow different narrators as they make their way through the chaos, leaving death and destruction in their wake, and just sometimes, allowing glimpses of humanity and kindness. Powerful, mindblowing, dark - and beautifully narrated. Just, wow.