That's when it hits me. I'm staring at a war zone. In South Central.
On an April night in 1992, Payasa learns that her older brother has been stabbed to death, his body left out in the road to rot. He was never involved. He was innocent. He didn't even carry a gun. And that messes with the rules, even for Lynwood, even for the streets.
But it's the first day of the LA riots, and the city is tearing itself apart. Fire-fighters, graffiti artists, nurses and law enforcement - all of them connected by this murder - find themselves caught in the mayhem. Every cop is distracted, and for the people who see the law as an enemy, it's a chance to settle old scores.
That's just too good an opportunity to miss.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Two years' worth of interviews with gang members, nurses, firefighters and other Los Angeles residents went into the writing of this hard-hitting novel, which captures the chaos and anguish that engulfed the city in the spring of 1992. After Rodney King’s assailants were acquitted, the world bore witness to televised reports of the ensuing riots. But writer Ryan Gattis chooses to train his vision on the violence that erupted outside of the public eye, in the vacuum created by the mass mobilisation of the city’s police force. Forceful as a fist and glinting with hard truths, All Involved fictionalises a shameful side of urban American life that remains all too relevant today.
Set in South Central Los Angeles in 1992, during the six days of rioting sparked by the Rodney King verdict, this violent, visceral novel from Gattis (Kung Fu High School) chronicles the intersecting lives of a diverse cast of characters caught up in the chaos, from business owners and nurses to drug dealers and gang members, the last of whom use the anarchy as an opportunity to take vengeance on those who have done them wrong. The narrative is replete with disturbing imagery like a firefighter getting his face crushed by a cinder block but the emotionally detached tone lessens the impact. In the end, this isn't a story about the events of the L.A. riots or even the people involved it's about the city and its ability to rise from the ashes and re-create itself into "something broken and pretty and new." Like the historical events it's based on, this page-turner is horrific, heartrending, and maybe just a bit hopeful.