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Authors of the Los Angeles Police Department - LAPD

Will Beall

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Beall has been a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for over eight years.  He is currently assigned to the LAPD 77th Division.  His assignments have included patrol and the anti-gang unit, and recently he began working homicide.

When asked about why he started writing, Beall said, “I've always been a compulsive scribbler, writing everything down that I see and feel. If I had more artistic talent, maybe I would sketch things. I've been doing this forever, since long before I came onto the job. But when I made the decision to become a cop, I actually decided that I had to put that behind me. My first week on the job, every night when I came home from work, I would just talk to my girlfriend at the time, until two in the morning, about everything that happened all day. So, within a week of working in 77th, I realized I needed to write about this. And I started filling up notebooks and legal pads. I don't remember exactly when I decided to write the book, but somewhere along the line I had this idea of doing a story about this kid who was just starting out.”

In Beall’s debut novel, L.A. Rex, “As far as everyone in the squad room knows, Ben Halloran is completely fresh to the streets of the 77th Division, a soft kid from the West Side who's decided to become a cop and just happened to draw the hardest neighborhood in L.A. But demons from Ben's complicated past catch up with him-and his tough, oddly principled Daryl Gates-era partner, Miguel Marquez-all too quickly. From the moment Ben and Marquez hit the streets together, they're pulled into a web of ultra-violent corruption and retribution involving hardcore Crip gangbangers and tagalong gangsta-rap gloryhounds, L.A.'s Mexican Mafia, sleazy celebrity defense attorneys, and dirty cops with distinctly self-serving definitions of law enforcement. Ben is forced to choose among father figures and apparent destinies-trying to obey (and discover) his own moral principles as well as his desperate animal instinct simply to stay alive.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of L.A. Rex, “Beall's hard-edged debut explores the familiar territory of drugs and corruption on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. In scenes that alternate between the past and the present, rookie police officer Ben Halloran, who's partnered with tough veteran Miguel Marquez, struggles to conceal his secret affiliation with a ganglord, even as the pair probe a series of murders. Beall, himself an officer in the LAPD's 77th Division, writes what he knows, but loads of pointless, gory violence (including gougings and mutilations), some awkward prose ("The party was Carcosa's schizophrenic attempt to reconcile his criminal origins with the propriety of a Mexican tradition"), improbable plot elements (thugs who quote Macbeth) and a lack of redeeming characters limit this one's appeal.”

L.A. Rex
Will Beall  More Info

One reader of L.A. Rex said, “This book is gritty and real and after I read it I felt like I was a little less innocent than I was when I had begun.  I was born and raised in South L.A. (South Central) and was surrounded by the gang lifestyle, complete with drugs, police and violence but was a statistical outlier and fortunately, I went on to college and eventually earned a professional degree. That being said I have a connection with many of the gritty gang bangers Beall writes about that most people never will. Somehow, I feel this book captures the road I didn't travel with amazing reality. This book is eerily real. In so many ways it truly captures not only the everyday happenings in our nations most dangerous areas but it captures the soul of the area. The book is a real page turner but what struck me was how Beall delved into psychological and spiritual underpinnings behind the social ills in urban Los Angeles.

I was actually shocked to turn to the back cover and see that the writer was white. But when I found out that he was a cop in LAPD 77th division it all made sense. Beall has probably been in my old neighborhood 100 times more than I in the last decade and clearly has his finger on the pulse of the real demons of my hometown and this country. There were parts of this book that made me literally stand still and marvel at how Beall had translated the thoughts and feelings of young urban America for the masses to read.

On its face the book has some of the strengths of some of my favorite novels. The book is as colorfully descriptive as the Da Vinci Code and almost more satisfying as I have never seen the cities in Europe that Dan Brown speaks of but with this book I could see every little familiar spot that I had grown up around in my mind as I read. It reminded me of how Walter Mosley books used to describe L.A. in the 40's but now as a child of the 90's I can check the authors work like only my grandparents could Mosley's.  The book is a highflier, no doubt has ups and downs and crazy plot twist that I didn't see coming but to me this book gets high marks because of something much more important, good old fashioned character development.  I highly recommend getting this book. I hope there's a sequel and really hope there's a movie. I see Crash meets Training Day meets Pulp Fiction.”

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