PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewBrooks has an anthropologist’s ear for the language of policing, jumping from the reports full of passive-voice bureaucratese to the darkly humorous, profanity-laden shoptalk. She zips from hilarious descriptions of going to the bathroom while overloaded with clunky gear to bone-dry observations ... Anecdote by anecdote, she builds to a cautious analysis of how \'even normal, careful, lawful policing often ends up compounding devastating social inequalities,\' even if few officers display overt racism. Her style recalls the work of immersion journalists like George Plimpton, Ted Conover and Barbara Ehrenreich—who happens to be Brooks’s mother. Brooks makes this part of the story, nesting in a book on policing a beautifully written mini-memoir about growing up the daughter of a famous activist and writer ... her self-awareness gives her insight into the practical, adrenaline-hungry tendencies that may attract people to police work ... It’s easy to imagine the criticism she’ll get, but her calm, considered tone, grounded in experience, is itself an achievement.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewClearly inspired by The Wire, Fenton populates his narrative with a network of officers, informants and street dealers, all with different motivations and interests. Some of these personalities come through more vividly than others, but the overall effect is to capture the disorienting, churning quality of a city where the good guys and bad guys aren’t easily distinguished ... Favoring hard-boiled reporter’s prose, Fenton mostly emphasizes story over such analysis, but he shows how, in our zeal to combat crime, we have allowed institutions to produce it.