MONSTER by Kody Scott


The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
Email this review


 LÇon Bing's study of L.A. gangs, Do or Die (1991) featured on its cover an awesomely muscular African-American male, naked to the waist, wearing sunglasses and wielding an automatic weapon. That man was ``Monster'' Kody Scott, who here tells his electrifying life story: an angry, stunningly violent odyssey through gang warfare and prison to redemption. The acknowledgements page reveals Scott's continued wrath: ``Bullet-proof love is extended to Muhammad Abdullah and the Islamic Liberation Army...Teflon bullets are sent to the sell- outs.'' Scott is still fighting, only now for the New Afrikan Independence Movement, dedicated to creating a separate black nation. But, then, the author has always been at war: Drafted at age 11 into a ``set'' of the ``ghastly gang army'' of the L.A. Crips--an army of ``children gone wild in a concrete jungle''--he shot his first man, a rival Blood, that same year, and for the next 15 years led a life spent defending his set by word, fist, and bullet: ``I liked to see the buckshot eat away their clothing, almost like piranha fish.'' Much of Scott's memoir is a horrifying chronicle of gang combat--shootings, betrayals, retaliations (Scott was shot six times in one ambush)--almost tedious in its unrelenting machismo and bloodshed, made palatable mostly by the author's deep knowledge of gang lore. Eventually, jail stints punctuate the street fighting; finally, in 1983, Scott, behind bars, meets a radical Muslim who teaches him that the real battle is with the white oppressors--a lesson that takes hold in the late 80's in Folsom Prison, where, amid outrageous depravity, Scott renounces ``gangsterism'' to embrace his new struggle. Today, Scott, 29, is back in prison, serving seven years for ``a healthy beating'' he gave to an unrepentant crack dealer. A savage document of the street that gives, and asks, no quarter. Anyone who wants to know why L.A. burned will find the chilling answer here. (First printing of 65,000; first serial rights to Esquire)

Pub Date: June 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87113-535-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993


IndieSeeking Heaven's Gate in L.A. by William T. Anderson
by William T. Anderson
NonfictionTHE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH by Kermit Alexander
by Kermit Alexander
NonfictionUNDISPUTED TRUTH by Mike Tyson
by Mike Tyson