The Rent Collectors By Jesse Katz

The Rent Collectors

Exploitation, Murder, and Redemption in Immigrant LA

Categories: , ,
ISBN: 9781662601743


Published by (2024-07-16)

"A searing account of gang violence and its consequences...Macedo's grim story, expertly documented by Katz, cries for a documentary series to follow his fortunes as, after years in prison, he strives for redemption. A masterful work of true crime—and, to be sure, true punishment."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

Baby-faced teen Giovanni Macedo is desperate to find belonging in one of LA’s most predatory gangs, the Columbia Lil Cycos—so desperate that he agrees to kill an undocumented Mexican street vendor. The vendor, Francisco Clemente, had been refusing to give in to the gang’s shakedown demands. But Giovanni botches the hit, accidentally killing a newborn instead. The overlords who rule the Lil Cycos from a Supermax prison 1,000 miles away must be placated and Giovanni is lured across the border where, in turn, the gang botches his killing. And so, incredibly, Giovanni rises from the dead, determined to both seek redemption for his unforgivable crime and take down the gang who drove him to do it.

With The Rent Collectors, Jesse Katz has built a teeth clenching and breathless narrative that explicates the difficult and proud lives of undocumented black market workers who are being extorted by the gangs and fined by the city of LA—in other words, exploited by two sets of rent collectors.

Book Details

Format: eBook
Price: 22.99 CAD / 9.99 USD
Published: 2024-07-16
ISBN: 9781662601743
Page Count: 320
Trim Size: 6 x 9

"Katz writes with a propulsive verve, his prose both evocative and raw ... Tackling immigration, the prison system, city ordinances, and the complicated bonds of family, the experience of reading The Rent Collectors is white-knuckle and, ultimately, wholly transformative."
—Jeff Connelly, Booklist (Starred Review)

"A searing account of gang violence and its consequences ... Macedo's grim story, expertly documented by Katz, cries for a documentary series to follow his fortunes as, after years in prison, he strives for redemption. A masterful work of true crime—and, to be sure, true punishment."
Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

"With admirable clarity and compassion, Katz unravels a complex narrative that has no easy answers ... Abstaining from painting heroes or villains, Katz offers instead a plethora of thoughtful, nuanced profiles and a zoomed-out view of immigrant L.A., its street vendors, its gangs, and its intricacies. The result is relentless, multi-faceted, and incisive."
—Julia Kastner, Shelf Awareness

"The Rent Collectors will not leave you where it found you. Its searing, breathtaking detail always invites you to a reverence for complexity. This book helps us all to no longer settle for the one dimensional view again. Katz taps into our ache to find our shared humanity and indeed discover compassion as the answer to every question. This is urban reportage at its finest and most human."
—Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and bestselling author of Tattoos on the Heart

"More than a work about a gang, Katz's book is a portrait of a city on the brink, a family in disarray, a criminal group on the rise, and the police's scramble to catch up. These dynamics swallow kids like Giovanni. But rather than break him, the experience remakes him. To his credit, Katz does not rely on stereotypical tropes. He gives us a raw, intimate, and brutal picture of gang life from the inside where escape is impossible and freedom is ephemeral."
—Steven Dudley, author of MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang

"The Rent Collectors is a must-read book for our times. An insightful and deeply researched journey through the underbelly of LA, Jesse Katz has written a breathtaking true-crime narrative—one that you won't be able to put down."
—Gus Garcia-Roberts, author of Jimmy the King

"For longer than seems humanly possible, Jesse Katz has been one of our greatest chroniclers of L.A.’s street underworld. So it’s no surprise that The Rent Collectors is a tale tuned fine, and filled with some exquisitely cinematic characters – Mexican Mafia honchos, baby mammas, cops, MacArthur Park street vendors, and a lost kid with devil horn tattoos. But I will admit that its appearance causes me some dismay, because, damn, I wish I’d written it." 
—Sam Quinones, bestselling author of Dreamland and The Least of Us

"In this lyrical, intelligent, and deeply literary work, Jesse Katz takes us on an unforgettable journey into the mind and life of a forgotten, reviled man. Like a character from Dostoevsky, Giovanni Macedo is a troubled sinner thrust into the cruelty of an urban landscape, a world Katz recreates with boundless compassion, and with painstaking and unflinching detail. Rent Collectors is a landmark of true-crime writing about the city that helped give birth to the genre, Los Angeles."
—Héctor Tobar, bestselling author of Deep Down Dark and Our Migrant Souls

"Few authors or books are able to take a reader deep into the daily machinations of gang life as expertly as Jesse Katz has done with The Rent Collectors. The young, naive, and damaged Giovanni Macedo is at the center of this story of criminal transgression and redemption, but in telling the tale, the humanity of the author's perspective envelopes a cast of characters on all sides of the law, from the Latino gang underworld of Southern California to the scheming nooks and crannies of the the justice system. With insight and compassion, Katz explores the criminal pathology of the Columbia Lil Cycos gang in the McArthur Park area of Los Angeles, but he also elevates this story into the classic realm of great human drama from Dostoevsky to Mailer. The narrative is compelling, and the writing is first-rate. Prepare yourself for a relentless, exciting read."
—T.J. English, best-selling author of The Westies, Havana Nocturne and Dangerous Rhythms