Ryan GattisA 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.

I am, despite the phantom injuries, a huge, huge fan of this book. It would be a little embarrassing, but I know that All Involved is absolutely stunning, and worth pushing into the hands of every person I meet, and worth tweeting about on a regular basis. If it’s possible to be a fangirl for a book, then I am one because, even though we’ve barely started the year, I can confidently say that this is one of the best books of 2015, if not the best. Come back to me in December 2015, and I’ll say it again.

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Still, the reader will be forgiven for wondering what the point might be, other than that life is unfair, confusing and often ugly—and for that, we have the film Magnolia. Competent but not especially memorable.

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Gattis has picked a historical subject that couldn’t be more timely. He takes a situation that was literally viewed by many of us as black and white and shows the colors, shades, and textures of it. He makes the lives of All Involved vivid and important.

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Have you read this book? Would you recommend it to anyone or do you strongly believe that no one should buy All Involved by Ryan Gattis? Let us know in the comments and help other readers to pick a book that really suits them!