Homicide – David Simon (Book)

I can safely say that ‘Homicide’ is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read.

Telling the true life story of Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon’s time spent undercover with the Baltimore Police Dept, the book is both fascinating and darkly sinister.

Homicide is written like a work of fiction – sometimes it’s easy to forget this isn’t just a story. The book takes us on a journey with the entire department. Simon worked so closely with the men that he got a real insight into how things went down.

The humour is mainly black as you’d expect, with jokes often arriving during dark moments. It’s well known that humour often occurs for the police (and similar professions) in the most dire of circumstances.

The spirit of the department rises and falls as the year progresses and there are some great cases involved, as well as some that leave you feeling hollow – knowing that someone actually got off a charge they blatantly committed.

One problem people may have is that it doesn’t pull any punches. You will be taking a look into a terrible world and some people may not have the stomach for it – I’ll be honest there were times I felt sad at what my fellow humans were capable of. 😦 But on the flip side the cops in the homicide department were all doing their best to try and clean up the streets.

It’s quite a weighty tome and took me a long time to get through but Homicide is a book you should read if you have any interest in the police or forensics.

Even if you don’t this could be read as if it’s a piece of fiction and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a brilliant insight into the workings of a homicide department and I would recommend this to anyone.

Rating 10/10

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Relentless – Simon Kernick (Book)

If you’re looking for a nice breezy read Relentless is not the book for you.

The story starts at a breakneck pace and barely pauses for breath in the entire 450 or so pages.

I actually found this style, initially at least, to be a bit overbearing. It felt a little forced and I thought the characters response to the first set of events was slightly unrealistic.

However that is obviously just a personal point of view – the writing itself was fine (apart from an extensive use of the term ‘bodily’ which was quite jarring after the fourth or fifth time) and once I adjusted to the pace I found the book to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Tom Meron is an insurance salesman with a very average life – university lecturer wife, two kids, nice house etc – in London until the day he receives a phone call from an old school friend who he hasn’t seen in 3 or 4 years.

His friend sounds like he is taking a beating and eventually he utters six words to his attacker that change Tom’s world forever: the first two lines of Tom’s address.

Believing his friend to have been murdered and the murderer on his way to Tom’s house he grabs his kids and so starts a game of cat and mouse with Tom never entirely sure who to trust.

This was never going to be a book that required a lot of brain power, most of the twists are hinted at in advance of being revealed, but then sometimes it’s nice to read a book that is enjoyable without being taxing.

Rating: 7/10