(originally posted on September 6, 2009)
A good non-fiction book reframes what you thought you knew into a story that makes you realize you never really knew it in the first place. And so Buntin does with his dual portrait of LAPD Chief Bill Parker (for whom Parker Center, the main cop building for decades, was named) and Mickey Cohen, the large-living gangster who could only wish for a fate like (his sort-of namesake) Meyer Lansky at the end of his life. Through them Buntin tells the story of a Los Angeles of vice, corruption, race riots and controversy that was both larger and smaller than the two men so pivotal to the changing city. There are so many great stories here - and that's the key reason to visit with LA NOIR.