Longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2021
‘Excellent, lucid, intelligent and gripping’ – Scotsman
‘An utterly riveting read’ – Guardian, Thriller of the Month
6 December 1993. A drug dealer called Scrappy is shot and left for dead on her mother’s lawn in South Central Los Angeles. Two local gang members, Wizard and Dreamer, are arrested. The problem is: one is guilty, the other wasn’t even there. It had to be a frame-up. And the cops had to be responsible, didn’t they?
Narrated by the characters involved – the suspects, the victim, the families who love them, and those simply doing their jobs – The System tells the story of one crime, from the moments before shots are fired to the verdict and its violent aftershocks. It’s a breakneck journey through the American criminal justice system. A system that can save you, or break you.
Pacy, immersive and vivid, with strong characterisation and no punches pulled, this is an utterly riveting read * Guardian, Thrillers of the Month * Gripping, meticulously-researched and smartly-plotted, I devoured this brilliant novel over the course of a weekend. -- Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train The most compelling courtroom drama I have read this year * Sunday Telegraph, Novel of the Week * A portrait of Nineties LA to sit alongside that of James Ellroy's depiction of it in the Forties * The Times, Thriller of the Month * A crime novel and a thriller, but, like the best in the genre, it invites you to think as well as feel * Scotsman * Gattis tells a muscular tale about injustice, systemic racism and a US city abandoned by Californian and national government, and infuses it with humanity and supersonic excitement * Metro, Best Crime Novels of the Year * Powerfully illuminates every corner of the law-and-order universe . . . accessible and irresistible * Los Angeles Times * The System is a tour de force . . . It is a page-turner, but one you will want to read slowly in order to savor every gorgeous sentence . . . Ryan Gattis is a magician. -- David Dow, author of Confessions of an Innocent Man I relate so much to this book, it's painful . . . That's how real this novel is . . . Front to back, it's not just an incredible work, it's an experience. -- Gustavo "Goose" Alvarez, author of The Pawn The System's panoramic approach-eschewing one main character for a whole set of people associated with a crime-sets it apart . . . A tale of redemption, an examination of loyalty and a love song for family bonds. -- Patrick Hoffman, author of Clean Hands Through multiple narrators, [Ryan Gattis] tells a muscular, rousing tale of injustice, systemic racism and the desperation of those chunks of urban America abandoned by local and national government. -- Paul Connolly * Metro * The System is an odyssey through the legal system . . . The dialogue isn't dialogue; it's what you'd actually hear - on the street, in a courtroom, on the prison yard. -- Joe Ide, author of the IQ series Gripping, fascinating, moving, and so very, very real. The System is one of the best books I've read in years. -- Marcia Clark, author of Final Judgment and former Criminal Prosecutor Ryan Gattis ingeniously casts deeply researched novels of social protest as page-turning crime fiction . . . This book blew my mind. -- Dan Slater, author of Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers The System is as real as it gets - often brutal, but a beautifully written reality of not only life on the street, but also getting caught up or working in the justice system. -- David Swinson, author of The Second Girl
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