LA. Observed

Writing what you know: crime reporter Michael Krikorian

By Kevin Roderick | November 20, 2013 11:58 PM

When we last heard about journalist Michael Krikorian, he had written a colorful and revealing op-ed piece about the night he shot some guy in a brawl near Compton. [Technically, the last mention at LA Observed was when Krikorian blogged about his annual trip to Italy with girlfriend Nancy Silverton, the Pizzeria Mozza chef. But that was just a Morning Buzz brief.] That night outside a bar near Compton, Krikorian pulled an AK-47 from his car trunk and fired off 17 rounds. Not your average LA Times crime reporter.

Now he's out with his first crime novel, Southside, in which a main character is an LA Times gang reporter in South LA. Writing about what you know and all that.

Los Angeles Times gang reporter Michael Lyons has just left his favorite downtown saloon when he is shot and wounded on the sidewalk two blocks from City Hall. After the initial shock, fellow reporters put together a betting pool. The bet? "Who Shot Mike?" There are a lot of contenders. When the LAPD's investigation stalls, the Times runs editorials critical of the police. Then, when detectives uncover an audio tape of Lyons talking to a gang member about the benefits of getting shot, they release the tape. The embarrassed newspaper editor fires Lyons, who then sets out on the streets of Southside Los Angeles with a vengeance to find the shooter. When three seemingly unrelated people are murdered on the streets of L.A., Lyons connects them to his own shooting. The tie-in? An imprisoned, notorious gang shot-caller known as Big Evil, who Lyons made famous in a gang profile and whose younger brother is among the victims. But who is doing the killing?

Bestselling author Michael Connelly, himself an ex-Times crime reporter who sets his crime novels on the streets of Los Angeles, says of "Southside:" β€œIn a place as well traveled by storytellers as Los Angeles, Michael Krikorian blazes a unique path with this powerful first novel.Southside has muscle, insight and all the right stuff."