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Todos involucrados

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Los Ángeles, 1992, primer día de los disturbios. La muerte de un hombre inocente a manos de una pandilla callejera cuando vuelve de su trabajo dispara una sorprendente reacción en cadena que se extiende con violencia. Doscientos años para construir la ciudad. Seis días para destrozarla.
Impactante, ambiciosa, descarnada y cinematográfica: esta epopeya brutal sobre la delincuencia, la raza, la venganza y la lealtad recrea los días turbulentos que sucedieron a la absolución de tres policías blancos acusados de agredir a un hombre negro, Rodney King. A través del relato en primera persona de diecisiete personajes, Ryan Gattis teje un certero retrato de la América
moderna: su historia, sus prejuicios y sus complejidades.
Con Todos involucrados, considerada «una lectura adictiva de alto voltaje» según The New York Times, y cuyos derechos televisivos ha comprado HBO (Los Soprano, The Wire y True Detective), Gattis se erige como una de las voces más incisivas del panorama actual estadounidense.

496 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2015

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About the author

Ryan Gattis

26 books249 followers
Ryan Gattis is the author of Safe, Kung Fu High School, The System (July 2020), The Big Drop novellas (Homecoming & Impermanence) and All Involved, which won the Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Lire Award for Noir of the Year in France. He lives and writes in South Los Angeles, where he is a member of art collective UGLARworks, a founding board member of arts non-profit Heritage Future, and a PEN America Prison Writing Mentor.

For UK readers, Advanced Reading Copies of The System are now available. Please visit Netgalley UK to request one.

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Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
April 13, 2023
…this whole entire scene says the same to me as it says to every other knucklehead who ever thought bad thoughts across this whole city: now’s your fucking day, homie. Felicdades, you won the lottery! Go out there and get wild, it says. Come and take what you can, it says. If you’re bad enough, if you’re strong enough, come out and take it. Devil’s night in broad daylight, I call it.
At 3:15pm on April 29, 1992, a Simi Valley jury found the police officers who had beaten the crap out of Rodney King, on what was certainly one of the first viral videos, not guilty. At 6:45pm, as news of the verdict spread, Los Angeles exploded with rage. For most of the next week large swaths of the city burned, almost four thousand buildings, with property damage in excess of a billion dollars. Stores were looted. Dozens died, and when the LA Police Department was unable to stem the violence, the National Guard was called in. In many cases police and security personnel stood around as stores were torched and/or looted, a close-to-home reminder of what US troops in Baghdad had done in 1991 when the locals were making off with sundry public property and untold national treasures. Rioting is messy. Stuff happens. The prolonged unrest, called an uprising by some, was a reaction not only to the jury’s decision, but, for many, to a lifetime of duress.

Cops beating Rodney King – from the Guardian

Ryan Gattis, who, among other things, is part of a street art project in LA, got considerable insight into what had gone on in 1992 from other members of that group, folks who had been present for the experience. The result is a stunning piece of work, as Guernica was for the Spanish Civil War, so All Involved is for the LA Uprising, a complex, horrifying, moving portrait of a city at war with itself.

Picasso’s world-famous mural depicts the horrors of the Spanish Civil War

The book is divided into six parts, one for each day of the riot. Each part is sub-divided into two or three chapters, one for each the 17 characters whose tales are told. The primary character in each chapter is presented in first person, and Gattis does an excellent job of preserving their individuality.

Ernesto Vera, a food worker with a sophisticated palate, aspires to opening his own restaurant. Straight arrow. Keeps his nose clean. Is kind to the less fortunate. A good, no, a very good guy. That does not matter to some. What matters is that he is brother to Ray, aka Lil Mosco, who is very much not a very good guy. Ray managed to shoot a woman while trying to kill someone else. Since Ray cannot be found, since direct revenge cannot be taken by the woman’s family, Ernie will have to do. From this spark the fire grows.

Ernie lived with his sixteen-year-old sister, Lupe, and Big Fe, the leader of a local gang. Big Fe is the general, the warlord, and justice for killing Ernie will be meted out. We see each of the players as they wend their way through this six-day-long drama. A bit player here is featured there. The parts connect. We get to see events from several angles. It is like looking at a holographic image. As you change perspective the image shifts. We are shown individual motivations. This event takes place because of a prior event, but the new event results in subsequent ripples. And on it goes.

Ernie’s Last Ride – from Gattis’s site

The primary media focus for the events concerned black rage at injustice. But the Latino population in 1992 was almost as large as the black population. Gattis focuses primarily on the former community here, in the Los Angeles County city of Lynwood. Add to the problems blacks have with the police the potential for many Hispanics who are in the country illegally to be deported. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi offered a pretty detailed look at how the unequal treatment dealt out by the criminal justice system has created a large segment of America that has a lot more in common with the West Bank than it does with Beverly Hills. It is not surprising, that a prolonged violent reaction might take place in response to a dramatic legal slap in the face. But the conflagration of violence offered cover to many with other motivations.
They think it’s sad, some kind of thoughtless, primal rage thing. It’s not. It’s mostly planned and it’s one of three things—grudge, mayhem, or insurance…It’s grudge if one guy doesn’t like the other guy for whatever reason, so he takes advantage of the chaos to do something about it, so even the race stuff, like what the blacks are doing to the Koreans, goes here. It’s mayhem if you’re deliberately setting it for the heck of it, or if you’re trying to cover a crime, or using it as a distraction to draw emergency assistance elsewhere so you can commit a crime somewhere else, which the gangs definitely do…. The last and likeliest, it’s insurance if you’ve got a business in a run-down part of the city and it’s not making as much money as you want but you do have fire insurance and you’ve been paying hefty premiums on that policy for damn near too long and then one day the racist cops get acquitted and all of a sudden up pops the opportunity to torch your own premises and get away with it—all you have to do is blame gangs or looters, so why not?
Wars are fought in the smoke-filled nights, personal, gang-related, mindless-rage-based. Ordnance fills the air like Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, L.A as Walpurgisnacht, with witches and demons of all sorts throwing flames, dousing with accelerant, and casting dark spells. A place where it is not uncommon for firefighters to find bullets on their rigs, where a police escort is needed to keep them from being shot while putting out fires. There are scenes that are reminiscent of Mad Max, as those driving fire-trucks know better than to stop when someone walks into their lane. Any rig that does will come under immediate assault. One attack on firefighters is resonant with the real world attack on Reginald Denny. You are there.


So how, in all the mayhem, in all the violence, in all the death and destruction can we find some humanity? Gattis may have created a dark portrait of a time and place, but his people are much more than kindling. He takes time with each of his many characters to build, to show where they came from, how they got to where they are, to understand their motivations, their dreams. It is true that for some, all they want is to become even more dangerous than they already are. But there is profound humanity on display as well. A tagger is shown as an artist, a nurse dreams of love, a gang member with CSI skills wonders what else there might be for him in the world. Other gang members connect with old cinema, surprising music, one with his cat, Teeny. There are plenty of pure black hats to go around, but Gattis mixes large dollops of color as well. There are people you can feel for here, and not just the studly Dudley Do-right fireman, or the compassionate nurse. Not all the burned can be healed. Some, as awful as they seem, shouldn’t be. Others might be true citizens if given a chance.

Ryan Gattis from his site

Gattis drops in relevant information through various means. Intel on the number of guns in L.A. is truly alarming, or should be. Information on the number of gang members versus the number of police is frightening. Gangs do not come into existence in a vacuum. Where safety is assured, and enforced, where the population feels protected, attended to, respected, gangs cannot flourish. It is when there is inadequate protection that people turn to other forms of self-preservation. The growth of gangs in Los Angeles and other cities is a testament to the failure of law enforcement to do what is needed, and reflects also the failure of political leaders to provide the resources public safety departments need to do their jobs, the failure of leaders to nurture a vision of the future with educational and career opportunities of the legal sort.
There’s a helicopter overhead—looks like Channel 7—shining a light down on us like we’re at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. The people who live around here, they know what that actually feels like. They know how ugly life can get. Everybody else, the people sitting at home, watching this unfold on television, they have no idea. Those are the people shocked by the riots. They can’t comprehend them because they don’t understand the other side. They don’t understand what happens to people with no money who live in a neighborhood where crime is actually a viable career path when there are no other opportunities, and I’m not excusing it or condoning it or saying it can’t be avoided, but I’m saying that’s how it is.
Ryan Gattis has written a masterpiece. A soldier-by-soldier, bullet-by-bullet, Molotov-by-Molotov look at a recurring tragedy in American history. You will smell the smoke, feel the heat and get an urge to bolt the doors and slip into some Kevlar. All Involved is one of the hottest books of the year. It is not to be missed.

Review first posted - 4/24/15

Publication date - 4/7/2015

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal and Twitter pages and to his transmedia work

This is a 30 minute chunk of the audio version, with a small bit of interview with Gattis at the front

There is a bounty of musical links on the author’s site, but you will need to be signed in to spotify to listen. Here are a couple from that list available on youtube:
Ride of the Valkyries
Star Wars – Burning homestead on Tattooine

These were not among the items on the author’s playlist
Disco Inferno
I Love LA

You can see 1:23 of the 12 minute Rodney King tape on George Holliday’s (the guy who shot it) site

The NY Times review by Michiko Kakutani is worth a look
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
April 14, 2020
You grow up in the same neighborhood as me, one with a gun store that sells single bullets for twenty-five cents to anybody with bad thoughts and a quarter, then you might end up the same way.

this book is like law and order: street justice (which is a show i would totally watch please)

its focus is on the six days of rioting in LA following the rodney king verdict, and how, with law enforcement distracted and overwhelmed by the looting and burning and general mayhem, the opportunity for gangs to settle scores and enact vengeance for grievances suffered was wide-open.

these are their stories

this is some fine crime writing here. and it's getting all the expected comparisons: richard price, the wire, george pelecanos, dennis lehane, hubert selby jr, etc etc. and, naturally, it's getting the expected criticisms - the ones where a white dude writing intimately about the innerworkings of a chicano gang is scrutinized for "authenticity" or whatever. as though he is passing this off as a memoir. as though stephen king ever met an actual vampire. i find these kind of criticisms to be very tedious - if you are a good writer and you do your research and you write something that feels true to the reader, you've done your job and your racial background shouldn't matter. richard price, george pelecanos, david simon - those are some very white gentlemen, but they are good at what they do and it's silly to moan about authenticity when discussing fiction.

david simon is a personal hero of mine, and there are many ways in which this is similar to the wire, most notably in its tracking of action/reaction and the density of its reverberations. over the course of the novel, there will be a series of retributive actions viewed from a number of perspectives, and even the smallest details might be revisited later to provide context or weight as the tragic events play out. it's powerful, gritty writing both in its characters and its devastating violence, but the style is
more journalistic than emotional for the most part.

this book is broken up into the six days the riots occurred (and is apparently being published digitally in six installments before the full book is available), and is presented through the perspectives of multiple characters, many of whom will not make it out of their chapter(s) alive. it begins with the gruesome murder of someone who is not "involved;" someone unaffiliated with a gang themselves, but related to someone who is very much involved. it is a payback killing for an earlier incident, and it is naïvely assumed it will end there.

We didn't get who we wanted, not Lil Mosco, but we took one of theirs and it was even. My lil sister, your big brother. Fair, I thought. That's it, I thought.

but as one character later observes:

"Somebody's always related to somebody, huh?…Or homies with somebody?"

and this is the horrible ouroboros of revenge - murder leads to murder leads to murder and it never ends until everyone is dead.

this is more of a slice-of-life than a comprehensive overview of LA during the riots - it is a small-scale story whose focus is primarily upon the chicano gangs operating at the periphery of the nucleus of the riots. there are many voices, both "involved" and not: a nurse, a firefighter, a drug dealer, a tagger, a homeless man, but it's about the ways in which violence affects and "involves" an entire community, not just individuals who have chosen to participate.

the focus may be small, but it is still a wide spectrum. from those who see the riots as opportunity:

I punch the radio on. I go up the dial and down. Everywhere, it's news, news, news. Reports. People complaining like it's not the greatest day on earth, but like it's a disaster or something.

to those who have to clean up after the fact

… there's a hidden America inside the one we portray to the world, and only a small group of people ever actually see it. Some of us are locked into it by birth or geography, but the rest of us just work here. Doctors, nurses, firemen, cops - we know it. We see it. We negotiate with death where we work because that's just part of the job. We see its layers, its unfairness, its unavoidability. Still, we fight that losing battle. We try to maneuver around it, occasionally even steal from it.

it's a very strong, relevant debut, and while it's not what you could call "entertaining," it's definitely absorbing. and important. it's violent and sad and upsetting, but it's not without hope for some of the characters, and it felt authentic enough to me.

not bad, for a white guy.

oh, and maggie liked it, too.

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come to my blog!
Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews221 followers
September 5, 2023
En 1992, se resolvió el juicio contra los policías que dieron una paliza a Rodney King por conducir borracho. El veredicto fue considerado demasiado suave por la comunidad negra y se desataron seis días de altercados que convirtieron la ciudad de Los Ángeles en zona de guerra.
El planteamiento de esta novela es muy original. Me esperaba una historia sobre los altercados, pero no. Aunque los altercados son importantes, el autor teje una trama en primera persona. Se trata de episodios narrados en primera persona sobre las guerras de bandas que se produjeron en paralelo a los altercados. O sea, como se aprovecharon esos días de incendios, de barricadas, de colapso de las fuerzas del orden para resolver venganzas o para la violencia en sí misma.
Cada historia lleva implícita las demás, es decir, cada narrador cuenta su historia personal, pero, indirectamente y sin saberlo, se van ligando las otras historias. El autor tiene una habilidad especial para adaptar cada narración al estilo de lenguaje del narrador y eso está bien porque ayuda al lector a entender mejor al narrador de cada historia.
La trama general nace del asesinato de Ernesto Vera y, luego, se van sucediendo los hechos.
Lo principal en la novela son las bandas, la guerra entre ellas y las luchas de poder internas, no los altercados.
La otra gran protagonista es la ciudad de Los Ángeles. Una ciudad que genera odio y amor a partes iguales. El autor refleja muy bien esta dicotomía de personas que huyen de la ciudad, pero miran atrás con añoranza. Personas que aman la ciudad y que también la queman.
Las drogas, la facilidad de matar, la violencia policial, la desesperación, la juventud de unos niños con pistolas que se creen los reyes del mundo y las víctimas inocentes que sufren. Todo está ahí, en Los Ángeles. En abril de 1992.


In 1992, the trial of the police officers who beat Rodney King for drunk driving was settled. The verdict was considered too soft by the black community and six days of rioting ensued, turning the city of Los Angeles into a war zone.
The approach of this novel is highly original. I was expecting a story about the riots, but no. Although the riots are important, the author weaves a first-person plot. These are episodes told in the first person about the gang wars that took place in parallel to the riots. In other words, how these days of fires, of barricades, of the collapse of the forces of law were used to settle vendettas or for the violence itself.
Each story implicitly carries the others, that is, each narrator tells his personal story, but, indirectly and unknowingly, the other stories are linked. The author has a special ability to adapt each narrative to the narrator's style of language and this is good because it helps the reader to better understand the narrator of each story.
The general plot begins with the murder of Ernesto Vera, and then the events follow one after the other.
The main characters in the novel are the gangs, the war between them and the internal power struggles, not the altercations.
The other main protagonist is the city of Los Angeles. A city that generates hate and love in equal parts. The author reflects very well this dichotomy of people fleeing the city, but looking back with longing. People who love the city and who also burn it.
The drugs, the ease of killing, the police violence, the desperation, the youthfulness of kids with guns who think they are the kings of the world and the innocent victims who suffer. It's all there, in Los Angeles. In April 1992.
Profile Image for Berengaria.
408 reviews72 followers
April 11, 2023
5 stars and some shattered windows

Set during the Los Angeles '92 riots, "All Involved" takes on what really went down that never made the news, as well as the personal toll on those on the 'front lines'. Whatever line that happened to be.

Gattis treats us to a cacophony of voices, all telling us their own experiences from their POV: a fireman, a nurse, a homeless man, a Korean teenager, a graffiti artist, a paramilitary, kids of old gangsters and a whole slew of active Chicano gangsters.

Once a character has spoken, they don't speak again for the rest of novel. For those readers who like following only 1 or 2 POVs, this might be far too many voices and far too many hops to different parts of the same, large event.

I found this novel simply excellent. In every way. Not only from a historical-cultural perspective, but also from a stylistic-structural and narrative perspective.

The author calls this type of story "sourced fiction" as he talked to many people who were involved in the riots, or are in Chicano gangs, to make sure all events are portrayed as realistic as possible. Especially the violence. And there is a lot of extreme violence in this novel. A LOT.

Beyond the technical proficiency, there is one point that places this story beyond what one might expect: love. Gattis has a deep love for each and every character he writes about and he telegraphs that love to the reader.

Many of his characters are murderers, junkies, vandals, looters, the mentally unbalanced or just plain scarred by poverty and hopelessness (or all of the above). But he does an extraordinary job of showing us their humanity beyond the labels of 'criminal' or 'menace to society'. He explains their motivations. Why do people set fire to their own neighbourhoods during riots? Why do they not only loot, but burn out shops? Why would they send false emergency calls to an already overburdened emergency response system? Gattis explains it all, and more.

Eye-opening, terrifying, but ultimately entirely understandable. And that's the real magic of this novel. At the end, we don't just know, we understand .

Highly, highly recommended.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,412 reviews199 followers
September 17, 2023
Catching Up…

On September 21, 2016 our Library Book Discussion group hosted this author to discuss his debut novel. It was a spellbinding discussion. To listen to him talk about his research and his experience in pulling this book together was probably as interesting as reading his book.

At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted three white Los Angeles Police department officers charged with excessive force to subdue a black man named Rodney King, and the city exploded in violence.

Do you remember where you were on that date in history?

Ryan Gattis vividly re-creates this turbulent and terrifying time through seventeen interconnected first-person narratives in his book, "All Involved."

What can I say?

Gritty. Nerve-wracking. Sometimes excruciating in its depiction of the violence. Reliving the gangs. Readers could feel everything. Lynwood, South Central, Los Angeles. If you walked down the wrong street at the wrong time, you could get killed. Loss. Revenge. Retaliation. Speed reading through the pages readers could feel every inch of why you didn’t want to be anywhere near there after dark. Sometimes not even during the light of day.

The voices play out through an array of characters: Latino gangbangers, Korean shopkeepers, drug dealers, graffiti artists, a nurse, an anonymous law enforcement officer, a fireman.

This is not a typical story I would read.


Since we were hosting the author, it was one I was prepared to read, because I was interviewing him and he was our guest author.

The author provided a beautiful snapshot of a city darkened by chaos and hate, class tensions between police and civilians.

A masterclass of expert plotting. If you are up for it, go for it - you won't regret the reading experience - because that is what it truly is - an experience!
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books569 followers
February 18, 2021
In theory, I thought this was a brilliant idea, and in many ways it really worked, while in others, I felt it could have been improved. I liked the multiple POVs, but it was maybe a few too many. The story moves forward at a good pace, but after a while, it feels repetitive. In a sense, that really emphasizes the fear, confusion, frustration, and anger felt during this time, but it also prevented me from really connecting to the story. I am a character driven reader, and though some voices/characters moved me a lot, several others fell a little flat for me. That all being so, the overriding message of the book was valuable and sadly, though it takes place almost thirty years ago, still remains disappointingly relevant. For that reason alone, it's worth a read.

Find my book reviews and more at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.4k followers
May 15, 2015
I'd rate this 4.5, maybe 4.75 stars.

I remember the beating of Rodney King, but what I remember more than that was the outrage and violence which exploded in Los Angeles in April of 1992, when three of the four white policemen accused of the beating were completely acquitted, while no verdict was reached on the fourth. It was utterly surreal to be living in Washington, DC, watching the rioting, looting, destruction, and violence that followed, a feeling I'd never thought I'd have again, yet I felt similarly a few weeks ago when similar incidents occurred in Baltimore.

Over a six-day period in 1992, 53 people were killed in the riots. But what few really understood was the violence that occurred outside the immediate epicenter of the riots, as Los Angeles-area gang members used the incidents as camouflage for their own activities, settling old scores with rival gangs jockeying for control, and taking whatever they could, by whatever means necessary. Ryan Gattis' magnificent, powerful All Involved is a fictionalized account of gang members and others caught up in the violence on the fringes of the riots, and how righting alleged wrongs and working to save face proved dangerous and often deadly.

Ernesto Vera works on a taco truck, but he has dreams of becoming a chef, and wants to get an apprenticeship at an exclusive Japanese restaurant so he can learn from the masters. Sent home early by a boss worried about the rioting, he is nearly home when he encounters a group of gang members looking to settle a score with his younger brother. This clash sets up a series of confrontations that affect a number of lives, including nurses, firemen, and students utterly unprepared for what is coming down the pike, both good and bad.

"There's a truth in that somewhere and maybe it's this—there's a hidden America inside the one we portray to the world, and only a small group of people ever actually see it. Some of us are locked into it by birth or geography, but the rest of us just work here. Doctors, nurses, firemen, cops—we know it. We see it. We negotiate with death where we work because that's just part of the job. We see its layers, its unfairness, its unavoidability. Still, we fight that losing battle. We try to maneuver around it, even occasionally even steal from it. And when you come across somebody else who seems to know it like you do, well, you can't help but stop and wonder what it'd be like to be with someone who can empathize."

Gattis tells 17 interconnected stories, imbuing his characters with life, emotion, and complexity, and he manages to make many of them characters you root for despite what they're doing. It's a talented author who makes you care about those who kill, injure, steal, and destroy, yet he doesn't paint over their flaws either. As you might imagine, some of the chapters are more interesting than others—I honestly would have been happy if the book had remained focused on the rival gangs and those caught up in their activities; I felt the book lost a bit of steam when it turned to other characters with only a slight connection.

Gattis' storytelling is gritty, violent, poetic, and powerful, and I was utterly hooked for the majority of the book. We hear all too often about the human toll that violence takes, but All Involved brings that home without being overly preachy. It's an unflinching look at a not-too-far-distant time in our society that sadly, we're not completely past yet. If you're a crime novel fan, this is definitely one to read and savor.

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for rachel.
773 reviews150 followers
August 29, 2015
This book should be a crime classic -- one of those Homicide or Executioner's Song bits of brutal gold that illuminate violence at its barest/most desperate, but also humanize its reverberations. David Mitchell blurbed this one on its back jacket as being "superlative." That it is. One of the easiest five stars I've yet given.

(I should note, though, that it is totally not for the faint of heart or stomach. There's at least a 15-20 person body count and Gattis is a vivid writer. But it's about LA gangs settling scores during the lawless Rodney King riots, so you should probably also have an idea of what you're in for.)
Profile Image for Coral Davies.
601 reviews3 followers
July 12, 2015
This was a very tricky book for me to review.

On the one hand I think its an important and honest exploration into the mentality behind city riots; what sparks them, why they grow out of control and how people link their experiences to the bigger picture.

What I Liked: Although I was too young to remember the Rodney King riots and am located in England, I have relatable experiences i.e. Mark Duggan. I also liked the form; splitting into 6 days, telling the story from multiple points of view, showing how everything was interlinked. It was also very well written.

What I didn't like: It was only told from 'gangbanger's' points of view which made the story very 2-D for me. I also disliked the fact it didn't portray any characters who rioted because of the police acquittal; it basically suggests that everyone in LA took advantage of the situation to fuck over their neighbours, other gangs or claim on their insurance. Pretty depressing and surely not true. There had to have been legitimate protests that sparked the riots, there usually are. It made the story feel so terribly detached from its circumstances. I thought there would be more exploration of Rodney King. Instead it felt like he was a tool that was used to justify telling a more depressing story about Black and Mexican's fucking each other over in LA.
Profile Image for Peter.
503 reviews609 followers
June 2, 2015
Set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA riots, All Involved begins with a shocking act of violence. Ernesto, an innocent brother of two Chicano gang members is brutally murdered on his way home from work. The ensuing story of revenge is told via a series of interlinked chapters by a wide variety of characters caught up in the chaos - drug-dealers, firefighters, nurses, marines and the homeless.

I was continually reminded of Grand Theft Auto as I read All Involved. When the riots kicked off after the Rodney King verdict and lawlessness prevailed, the LA gangs saw this as an opportunity to loot, raise hell and settle old scores (much like the aforementioned video game). So it's not surprising that the violence in this book is frequent and horrific. I never found it gratuitous though, Gattiss uses these graphic scenes adeptly to make a point about the ferocious, treacherous life many of these people choose to lead. He is clearly an immensely talented writer, the way the stories are deftly linked displays a tremendous amount of skill and the book is incredibly well researched. It is not exactly an uplifting read - there are few chinks of light in the desperate gloom. But All Involved is a powerful, gripping novel and an intense account of a city tearing itself to pieces.
Profile Image for Matti Karjalainen.
2,852 reviews55 followers
July 27, 2020
Ryan Gattisin "Vihan kadut" (Like, 2015) tuli viimein luettua, ja se osoittautui yhdeksi tämän vuoden väkevimmistä lukukokemuksista.

Los Angelesin rotumellakat leimahtivat liekkiin vuonna 1992, kun oikeus vapautti Rodney King -nimisen mustan miehen pahoinpitelyyn syyllistyneet poliisit. Seurauksena kaupungin gettoissa ammuskeltiin viranomaisia, tuhopolttoja sytytettiin ja kymmenet ihmiset saivat surmansa epämääräisissä olosuhteissa.

Romaanissa kuvatut henkilöt tempautuvat kuuden päivän aikana mukaan koston ja väkivallan kierteeseen, josta on vaikea päästä irti, vaikka kuinka yrittäisi. Henkilöhahmojen polut risteävät, joskus kohtalokkaissa merkeissä. Soturit sortuvat, mutta heidän tilalleen on valmis astumaan uusi sukupolvi. Liekkien loimussa musta ja valkoinen sekoittuvat harmaan moniksi sävyiksi, kun henkilöistä ja heidän motiiveistaan saadaan selville uutta.

En ole oikein syttynyt ajatukselle, että kirjailija saisi kirjoittaa vain ihmisistä ja olosuhteistra, jotka vastaavat hänen omaa taustaansa. Gattis on valkoinen, mutta kuvaa hienosti latinotaustaisten jengiläisten elämää. Pohjatyötä on tehty ja se myös näkyy. Hienon hieno romaani!
Profile Image for Jon Zelazny.
Author 8 books34 followers
September 9, 2021
I love the "grand tapestry of characters via multiple POVs" approach, only I wish Mr. Gattis had gone more Tom Wolfe and created a wider field of players in the 1992 L.A. riots instead of focusing so intently on a small Latinx crew straight outta Lynwood. Because, really, once you've been inside the mind of one hard-ass teenage gangbanger, you've pretty much been inside them all.

Gattis also seems determined to extract some empathy for each and every gangsta that I'm not convinced they deserve, the same way I thought Paul Thomas Anderson overdid it with his dopey porn people in BOOGIE NIGHTS. And while I don't usually think of myself as a fascist pig, I really enjoyed the chapter here where the SWAT team goes in and stomps all the kids' asses. I guess the author would be pretty disappointed in me.
Profile Image for Julier.
780 reviews18 followers
June 14, 2016
Set in L.A. following the 1992 Rodney King verdict,t there were six days of violent, fiery riots, the story reveals the tapestry of people from all sorts of perspectives. When the mayhem of the riots overwhelmed and law enforcement and fire fighters efforts, gangs (and others) saw it as on open invitation to act lawlessly to settle scores and deliver "justice" to deserving enemies. Each chapter was about a different person. The level of violence and involvement in the murders, looting, fire-setting started out pretty grim and intense. The level of bad-ass behavior and attitudes gradually deescalated, and each person was pretty unique. Some were bystanders, some were first-responders, many rationalized their acts of cold-blooded murder. Some were committed gang members, some wanted to get out of that life. One thing that struck me time and time again what how fatalistic many of the individuals were--they were willing to take great risks in order to kill some "deserving" individuals--but felt that if they "bought it" (ie., were killed) then it was just their time to die.
The audio version was pretty good, with credible voices and accents for different characters. One thing that helped me was my Overdrive audio version let me see the name of each chapter's main person. That always helps, but because so many of the names were Spanish, it really helped me to know the person's name.
Profile Image for Allan.
478 reviews68 followers
October 24, 2016
An entertaining enough novel about a series of interlinked personalities involved in the 1992 LA riots, told in the first person, much in the same vain as Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, without hitting the heights that book manages.

Quite a lengthy book,which does however keep the reader turning the pages, and it's one that the author has obviously researched well, but I just didn't feel the same connect with his characters that I have done with others in similar types of novel. Who knows - perhaps it's due to my affinity with all things east rather than west coast.
Profile Image for reading is my hustle.
1,508 reviews298 followers
April 14, 2020
i was college age living in san francisco when the rodney king riots happened. i lived not far from union square where most of the rioting took place. it was a terrible time and the chaos was absolute. this book attempts to give the reader a portrait of life in the city of los angeles (mostly south central) during the riots. for the most part it succeeds though i thought that the shifting perspectives chopped up much of the narrative. this is also a story about a sub culture that was borne out of poverty and despair.

life is unfair.
Profile Image for Chris Steeden.
438 reviews
January 28, 2022
Firstly, this is a novel but based on a fact (s). The fact is that on 29-Apr-1992 a jury acquitted LA Police Officers Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind, as well as Sergeant Stacey Koon, of excessive force used to subdue civilian Rodney King. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the same charge against Officer Laurence Powell. The riots began and lasted for 6 days. 10,904 arrests and 60 deaths.

We know about the riots, the looting, the fires and the beatings. What Gattis does is show us 6 days through the lens of a Latino gang led by a 25-year-old gang veteran called Big Fate. The gangs use the riots as a way to off some of their enemies or enemies’ family causing retaliation knowing the police aren’t coming anytime soon. The book begins by a gang sending a message to the Latino gang by killing one of their family members who is not ‘All Involved’ in gangs. He was a civilian. The killing is brutal. If you are at all squeamish you are going to have to read this bit through closed eyes.

The chapters are set in the first person so there are a few from the gang like Lupe Vera whose older brother, Ernesto, was the one dispatched in a godawful manner. There are offshoots like the nurse, Gloria, who tried to save Ernesto. A Korean that shoots a member of the gang.

Initially I was not too enamoured with the book. I am 51 years old and reading about pathetic gang members was not really going to do it for me, but it grew on me and quickly. I became completely absorbed. It all ties in the further you read. Why was Ernesto killed like he was? Halfway through the book you find out why. By seeing the action from different peoples’ viewpoints, it makes the book all the better.

There is no glamour to this book. There is no glamour in being in a gang. There is danger and there is upset. People you grow to love get injured or murdered. You get injured or murdered. That is the reality. People not ‘All Involved’ but have family are liable to get killed. What a life and it is a life that will carry-on after the 6 days have finished.
Profile Image for Richard Moss.
476 reviews9 followers
May 11, 2018
All Involved starts on the first day of the 1992 LA riots, but not with anything apparently related to Rodney King.

Instead it begins with the murder of Ernesto, an innocent victim connected to a gang feud purely through blood.

His death then sets in motion a chain of events with the chaos caused by the riots allowing for violent score-settling among rival gangs.

Gattis tells the story through 17 different narrators in a kind of relay race to the finish. They range from Ernesto's sister and other gang members, to a nurse, a firefighter and a member of the National Guard.

This challenging task is executed well, and the voices are skillfully delineated, though inevitably there are times when you wish you could rejoin one of the earlier characters.

There is some beauty amidst the bloody violence, but this is a bleak book. Many of the characters, innocent and guilty, are trapped in a world of gang violence where there is little escape. Violence also appears to be the default response from the authorities if the chilling chapter narrated by the National Guardsman is to be believed.

And All Involved does bear the mark of authenticity. Gattis has worked as a graffiti artist in these communities, and the book is at least partly based on interviews carried out with those who lived through the Rodney King riots. Although set in 1992, many of the social conditions it explores of course remain unconquered in these communities.

For me this made it an interesting fictional sibling to Jill Leovy's Ghettoside. It can never explore the sociology of the ghetto in the depth and nuance of a work like that, but by attaching some of the themes to a compelling narrative All Involved may at least reach more readers.
Profile Image for Repix.
2,225 reviews428 followers
June 29, 2017
Una novela muy dura sobre situaciones inventadas, o no, que ocurren paralelas y aprovechando los disturbios raciales que se produjeron en Los Ángeles en 1992 a raiz de la muerte de Rodney King. Muy interesante.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,233 reviews
February 24, 2017
I was in high school in a suburb of Chicago when the Rodney King trials occurred. I remember thinking it was ridiculous that the cops had beat him and again ridiculous that they were acquitted. When I heard about the riots, I remember thinking, "why doesn't that happen here?". To my 15 year old suburban white brain, it looked like fun to be able to scavenge anything from stores. I did not really internalize that there was crime and danger until about the 3rd day when I realize just how many fires were going and how hard it was for any authorities to take control. Later, as a sociologist I revisited the event from a historical and racial analysis perspective and was absolutely horrified on many levels.

But this Gattis made me encounter the King trial and riot in yet a third more personal and emotional way. Gattis writes a story of the riots through the eyes of the Latino community in Lynwood. With very few exceptions (Fireman Tony, Trouble, and John Kim are the only three that come to mind), the narrators are all Latino. No one gets a second chapter, and in that way it is almost a book of short stories, but these characters are all so entertwined socially and physically that we see many of them through the eyes of many story tellers. In this way, Gattis personalizes the whole neighborhood. For the most part, we are fans of Big Fate and Payasa but Trouble and Momo and even the gung-ho venegeful National Guard get to present their point of view. By providing many view points, Gattis is able to elucidate the grey areas; we all want to be good people and do the best we can.

One part of this is that Gattis gives almost all of his narrators cogent voices. They are all pretty smart and (despite thinking that the others are not as up to speed) for the most part make decent sense in their rationalizations. Unfortunately, at times I was not sure that he was adequately distinguishing between these voices. It is hard to write 20ish chapters with different voices. Some clearly stand out, but many blend as just another "gangster voice". Even those with radically different stories (say Lil Creeper and Apache) have similar cadence and expectations for others.

I was also very impressed with the way Gattis develops such a story; yes these people are all interconnected and yes, they interact but Gattis did some serious mapping out for characters on Day 4 (for example) to side note things they saw earlier on Day 2 (for example) and for this reader to realize that yes, indeed the narrator on Day 2 had noted this observer. There was one instance that I thought was out. When Freer comments about Gloria he knows that she is with Momo and later mentions that Gloria had a kid with "some drug dealer". After having told the reader that he knows Momo, he would have just said that Gloria had a kid with Momo. On a flip side, I thought the last chapter (from Mikey) was especially poignant both because he is a hopeful ray (despite the burned out apartment buildings) and he feels Clever (his half brother) watching in the fast food restaurant and yet has no idea why (and his father doesn't let on).

Overall it is just a really well done, really expressive collage of the 6 days of the riots.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,157 reviews
March 12, 2016
I found this book a very unique read, both in its style and content. Following the 1992 trial of the white police officers accused of beating African-American Rodney King in Los Angeles, in which no officer was found guilty, a five-day riot was set in motion during which law and order simply collapsed. Not only was this an opportunity for the ethnic communities to express their displeasure at the outcome , it was also taken as an invitation for widespread looting, destruction and, for the local gangs, to exact retribution on each other for apparent previous 'disrespect', knowing that the likelihood of getting caught was severely reduced. The book is split into 'days' and, on each day the events as applicable to them are narrated by up to three characters, be they gang members, firemen, police/army officers or just members of the local communities. The voices are so individual and authentic, you really get inside the heads of the characters and, regardless of their position and actions, you tend top feel a degree of empathy for them in their respective situations. One of the problems for me was that the voices were so authentic, I found it a bit difficult to understand the gang members' voices, even with the glossary of terms at the back (some of which were unnecessary and some of which were missing). As you would expect with a book which is effectively a 'snapshot' of a certain period in the 'life' of Los Angeles, there are some story threads which are left incomplete but which I would love to know the endings to, particularly a couple of budding 'relationships' between the characters, the effects on the gang who received an impromptu visit from the 'Goon Squad' and the young Korean lad, doing his father's bidding, who ends up on the wrong end of the law. This was a very dark and violent book, which all seemed fairly natural and what you would expect in the circumstances, grim and gritty though it was, but there were also moments of tenderness and positivity amongst it all. Nearly a 5-star read for me - 9.5/10
Profile Image for Julie lit pour les autres.
549 reviews67 followers
June 17, 2017
Lu en français: Six jours

Si vous trouvez que vous dormez trop bien la nuit, ce roman est pour vous. Pendant les six jours d'émeute qui ont mis Los Angeles à feu et à sang en 1992, après l'acquittement des policiers qui ont tué Rodney King, six jours où les quartiers dits "chauds" de L.A. se sont transformés en champs de bataille, l'auteur fait évoluer plusieurs personnages qui se passent la parole pour nous raconter ces jours sans lois. Leurs coeurs battent au rythme du PCP, de la rage, du goût du sang ou de la soif de pouvoir, mais aussi de la peur. De la chola au taggeur, de l'infirmière au chef de gang, on vit ces six jours à un rythme trépidant, et on ressort halluciné de cette plongée. Ouf.

Vie et hiérarchie des gangs, règlements de compte, logique et honneur de la rue, trafic de drogues, rêves de domination ou de liberté... C'est violent, sanglant, enragé. Un genre de roman western-guerilla urbain qui vous secoue comme un prunier. Si le français argotique vous enlève toute joie de vivre, je vous encourage vivement à lire la version originale en anglais, parce que la traduction est parfois quasi incompréhensible.
Profile Image for Philippe Malzieu.
Author 2 books115 followers
November 10, 2015
At the beginning, I imagine as in a blackexploitation movie of the 70s (the sublime Palm Grier). But here, the gangs are hispanics. All is in order. gangs follow their rules, they have a leader. They steal, kill, deal, but any breach in the rules of the gang is sanctioned. Outside, normal people, with other rules, other laws.
And Rodney King, the riot. No more order, the reptilian brain governs. And the book takes a metaphysical dimension. The normal people kill, we cross the circles of hell. It is a choral novel or each speaks to describe the action. The book progresses seen by a character. The author did not abuse of typical words, just enough spanish terms. It is well written, real literature, not gonzo journalism.
It is the paramilitary commando squad which is the messager of the last judgement.
This book is the scenario for a great film.
Profile Image for Israel.
280 reviews
June 29, 2017
Los Angeles, durante la semana de disturbios ocurrida a raiz de la muerte, a manos de la policia, de Rodney King.
Pero este libro no va sobre eso. Va sobre otras cosas. Cosas que ocurrieron durante los disturbios, si, pero que venían de antes, y que continuarían después. Este libro trata sobre todos aquellos barrios que, sin ser South Central, también vivían bajo el terror, la violencia, las drogas y las armas. Sobre aquellos barrios que estaban bajo el control de las bandas.
Este libro esta escrito como un tiro en la cara, como si fuese un polvo sucio, echado rápidamente en el asiento de atrás de un coche; sin caricias, sin besos, sin palabras bonitas...simplemente sudor, y sangre.
Este libro no es bonito. Lo que cuenta no es bonito. Una serie de vidas sin más sentido que el matar o ser matados, demostrar que se es el más fuerte, aun sabiendo, a ciencia cierta que no son más que peces pequeños que nadan en un estanque pensando que es el gran mar abierto.
Este libro es la hostia. Punto.
Profile Image for Laura Walin.
1,528 reviews52 followers
August 12, 2020
Vihan kadut on fiktiivinen kertomus jonka tosielämän alustana toimivat Los Angelesissa puhjenneet mellakat Rodney Kingin pahoinpitelijöiden vapautustuomion jälkeen vuonna 1992. Gattis kutoo tarinansa altmanilaiseen muotoon, jossa eri henkilöiden kokemukset viiden päivän ajan kietoutuvat toisiinsa, melko lohduttomaksi kuvaksi.

Pääosa henkilökavalkadista on erilaisia jengiläisiä, joille yleinen anarkian tila mahdollistaa selvittämättä jääneiden välien korjaamista, yleistä ryöstelyä ja pakojakin. Muutama ääni annetaan yhteiskunnan koneiston toimijoille, jotka tekevät osansa tilanteen selvittämisessä.

Kokonaiskuva Los Angelesista on lohduton. Kaupunki näyttäytyy todellisena viidakkona, josta lähes ainoa ulospääsy on kuolema. Gattisin kuvaama väkivalta on graafista ja sitä on paljon. Toivoa on vähän. Lajiltaan kirja on sujuvaa lukuproosaa, ja näin George Floydin vuonna jälleen valitettavan ajankohtainen.
Profile Image for David Reviews.
159 reviews211 followers
August 4, 2015

All Involved is written to shock and it certainly does. This is a violent but hugely readable and powerful novel about the six days of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The unrest was sparked by the acquittal of police officers for the brutal beating of a young black man Rodney King. Although fictional the book is based on eye-witness accounts and many researched facts. This makes it all the more real and unsettling.

Ryan Gattis brings us 17 unflinching accounts of what occurred. The often frightening narratives come from individuals both directly involved in the riots and from some of those living or dying due to its consequences. He breaks it down into the 6 days as events unfold and links the connected short stories.

As well as being a terrific and thrilling read it is also educational and thought provoking for those of us living our cosy ordered lives as peaceful law abiding citizens. The mentality of a few of the narrators is truly disturbing and sometimes horrific. The police are stretched and left unable to enforce the law in many parts of LA. The speed at which opportunity for lawlessness and repayment of gangland vendettas is seized upon is staggeringly swift. The writing is absorbing and opened my eyes to another world where there are people who are lacking in conscience, sense of community or humanity. Whether it’s down to economic, social or cultural reasons it is still hard to accept in a supposedly civilised society. You are left feeling concerned that similar events could occur in any major city given the right mix of circumstances.

The story being told from so many peoples perspectives added to the interest and made it seem believable real. There are gang members looking for revenge, a nurse looking for love, a firefighter who cares, a drug dealer, a graffiti tagger, and a homeless man amongst others. Everyone is affected one way or another. Some will live and some won’t make it through. There are some positives to be taken from it, but mostly it’s dark and unnervingly harsh and brutal. Here is an insight into a small piece of American history that is beautiful written and shocking in its telling. If you can handle the violence then its gripping stuff and a highly recommended read.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,491 reviews2,721 followers
September 24, 2016
Set during the six days of the LA riots in 1992, this is a vast, sprawling, visceral and violent epic of gangland culture, killing and revenge. With the police tied up in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, the streets of LA South Central become a gang free-for-all where old scores are settled and new grievances are created.

The book is very structured and organised, something necessary to marshall the myriad different voices and viewpoints that make up the story. This format avoids any need for authorial exposition as characters weave in and out, contributing to the warp and weft of the narrative. Voices are both stylised and yet also accessible, gesturing towards gang patois without making the story incomprehensible, and not all the stories are resolved: I really wanted to know what happened between emergency nurse Gloria and firefighter Anthony, for example.

This is very violent and the comparisons with The Wire are apposite; it also reminded me in tone and brutality of The Shield - especially the narrative from the anonymous leader of the military operation on day 6. Gattis has a few writerly tics which become slightly over-used (the narrative that fades away as the narrator dies, for example) but overall this is an ambitious, punchy, scary and thrilling read, one which is both extremely violent and visceral.
Profile Image for Susanna Rautio.
360 reviews21 followers
August 21, 2018
4 tarkoittaa minulla huippuhyvää kirjaa.

Fiktiivinen, mutta pitkäaikaiseen ja osallistuvaan taustatyöhön perustuva, episodiromaani Rodney Kingin pahoinpitelyn jälkeisistä mellakoista.

Gattiksen kunnianhimo ja taito tätä kirjoittaessa todella säväyttää.

Näkökulma jatkuu kertojasta toiseen. Suurin osa heistä on latinoja ja jengiläisiä. Tässä kirjassa ei todellakaan ole montaa hoodia, joilla haluaisin liikkua tai montaa henkilöä, joiden kanssa haluaisin olla tekemisissä.

Väkivaltaa, kostoa, epätoivoa - toki myös veljeyttä ja sisaruutta. Ja muutamalle toisenlainen elämä. Se kyllä helpotti!

Tämä kirja haisi verelle ja aivokudoksille, tuntui uhkaavalta ja ennakoi kuolemaa jo nuorella iällä. Mielipuolinen ja synkkä kirja, mutta vaikka fiktio onkin - surullisen totta.
Profile Image for Jorge Gálvez.
Author 9 books169 followers
January 12, 2021
Un libro brutal, sangriento y descarnado, que nos muestra cómo unos pandilleros ficticios de Los Angeles usan los disturbios raciales de 1992 para realizar violentos ajustes de cuentas.
Un libro en primera persona que debes leer si gustas de las emociones fuertes.

Dejo video donde hablo más a detalle sobre este libro:
Profile Image for Tereza M.
315 reviews41 followers
December 10, 2016
Výborně napsáno, výborně přeloženo, teď už jen aby to někdo natočil!
Navíc velmi chválím českou redakci. Nepodařilo se mi narazit na žádnou chybu, ba ani překlep!
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