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 LA 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.
©2015 Ryan Gattis (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Worthy of national and local book awards, this is an incredibly real and well researched perspective of LA's most violent persons on its darkest days-- yet each one is very human and real. Despite the graphic street language, I'd say that reluctant high school readers as well as mature readers will relate to this one. Character analysis can fill much book club and classroom discussion. Reader interest is maintained through all details: revelation of gang standards of order and survival, maintenance of fire hoses and equipment under seige, stylistitic techniques of tagging, deception of rivals on their turf, and the ways in which good intentions often produce the most ironic outcomes.
All characters are interesting. Perhaps the most riveting is an all-involved sixteen-year-old girl whose existence and hardcore transformation was never imagined by the Simi Valley jury which set the historical events in motion. Though the characters are purportedly fictional, I have no doubt that the real counterparts exist.
Scenes from many-- certainly the militaristic chaos in Dr. Zhivago. Add Fagin's gang in Oliver Twist with its combination of the brutal and the idiotic, the compassionate and the inhumane; then there's bullying disregard for the disenfranchised as in The Grapes of Wrath and there's the individuality of Spoon River Anthology.
Excellent intonation, and all 17 characters were truly distinct.
It makes you realize how much things are slow to change, and it makes current civil rights issues significant. I take a train through some of this neighborhood every week and this book fits it very well. It's the most intense book I have read since Unbroken
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Ryan Gattis’s novel, “All Involved”, is a “lock the doors-get the guns”’ tale of the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Four Los Angeles Police officers inflict a beat-down on Rodney King while arresting him after a high-speed chase. Sergeant Stacey Koon, the commanding officer at the scene is said to have tased King twice. Koon argues the tasing is ineffective and suggests King is “dusted”; i.e. meaning hyped by PCP. The four involved officers are white. Rodney King is black.
Gattis’s novel looks at L.A’s riots through the eyes of minority communities living in the poorest parts of South Central Los Angeles. His story begins with the brutal murder of an innocent Latino by a Latin gang. The murder occurs just after the State’s acquittal of the four officers. Gattis infers the murder occurs because it could be disguised as a part of the Los Angeles’ riots.
Police and fire departments are caught in the middle of a war that cannot be won. It is the same war that defeated America in Vietnam. As a Pogo comic strip observed, “We have seen the enemy and he is us”. The solution for America is not for public safety departments to be drawn down to the level of gangs. The solution is to raise gangs to the level of good citizens by genuinely educating and providing equal opportunity for all.
Gattis tells a story that exposes poverty’s sharp edges and democracy’s vulnerabilities. The map for poverty’s elimination is a destination at the end of a long road. The road to a police state, a gang-like sanction of government enforcers, is a short cut to Democratic’ Armageddon.
This was an unexpected gem!
Thoroughly enjoyed it. This novel was well written and engrossing. I could not put this down.
All (except for one) of the narrators were great.
Adult content, violence, and profanity. For adult audiences 17+.
Hey unique method of presentation along the lines of Roshomon, but a very perceptive and intelligent portrayal of the characters.
Detailed and realistic view of behind the flames of LA's riots. Check it out and you will be hooked in the first 5 minutes! Every demographic and avid reader should find it captivating.
First audio book I've listened all the way through. I quite enjoyed the novel and would recommend it highly to those looking to keep entertained. The voice actors are perfect and make the story flow. Fantastically written.
The book grabs you as the stories are told from the perspective of the characters who's stories all cross paths in the 1992 LA riots. I could not get enough of this book.
I was a bit surprised by this performance. It made me think about a side of life that I know little about. Telling the story first person from various perspectives was great!
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