Larry Avrech, a young San Diego Police Officer, uncovered a scandal in his department. In August of 1984, his careful investigation revealed that the Commander of the Prostitution Enforcement detail was involved with a prostitute named Donna Marie Gentile. He became her “Sugar Daddy” and routinely paid for boarding her horse, co-signing for bail, paying her hospital bill when injured, and giving her cash twice to pay attorney’s fees. On a normal street stop, she told Avrech she had a Lieutenant in her hip pocket and was tired of being harassed. Suspecting corruption, Avrech befriended her in an attempt to obtain more information. He … Read More about Book Summary
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In 1984, a young San Diego Police Officer uncovered a dark scandal involving a young prostitute named Donna Marie Gentile.
Now, over 35 years later, he's ready to reveal who killed her and why.
Discover all the dirty gritty details of her murder; plus why over 40 other women were murdered and how their deaths are related.
In the early days, I met with Deputy District Attorney Dick Lewis almost every morning through the noon hour before heading for lunch together. I brought my case paperwork to his office. While we discussed it at length, his staff was … Read More about Excerpt #42
The relationship I had with Deputy District Attorney Richard (Dick) Lewis, spanned from the spring of 1986 until his death in October of 2000. From stranger to acquaintance, from friend to confidant, from father/son to lost best friend. … Read More about Excerpt #41
I am happy to announce that my true crime book, "Who killed Donna Gentile? The Real Story" will now be on exhibit at the San Diego Police Museum and available for purchase in their bookstore. Signed books are $24.95 Local San Diegans and … Read More about Book is in San Diego Police Museum
Who Killed Donna Gentile by Larry Avrech is a well written and compelling read. Larry has shown a lot of courage and tenacity in writing this book. I read it from the perspective of not only the story but the possibility of solving who did kill Donna Gentile. Now I can't let it go!
Francine Bardole Cold Case Consultant at Intermountain ForensicsRead More Testimonials
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Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. Having been an officer with the SDPD during the time all this was going on was a walk down memory lane. I could visualize most of the people and places that were mentioned. Larry did a good job of bringing out all of my emotions as I read through all of the terrible things that he was put through by the Department. He was finally able to vindicate himself with his faith in God and the help of a few good people. Nice job Larry my brother in tan.
Agent Greg MyersRead More Testimonials
I haven’t read the whole book yet, but it’s very well written, and I feel like I’m there at the scene!
BethRead More Testimonials
If your not Law Enforcement, Larry Avrech gives an honest insight to the career of police work. He is an example of what happens when you chose to fight evil, walking into battle carrying the flag, only to look behind you and see you are all alone... Larry demonstrated unending strength to defend what was right and showing you have to be your own advocate. This book reveals that when it is all said and done, the only thing you have left is your character, integrity, and own good name.
Curt Voiles Former Special Investigations Divison S.I.D. and Law Enforcement Training Instructor at New Mexico Department of Public SafetyRead More Testimonials
Great factual crime book. Larry went through Hell because he was an honest cop. His book hits at the truth that was being suppressed by a major police department. If you like real-life investigation by a professional you'll love this trip through darkness.
Bob MosemakRead More Testimonials
What a page turner! I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. Larry told a complex story of murders, investigations, police procedures and interactions with known prostitutes in a way that held the reader’s attention and interest. I am sad that Larry’s police career was ruined, but I am happy that he found another successful career and can finally put his nightmare to rest.
Kathy Richeson PerkinRead More Testimonials
Wow! This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. At first I thought it was going to be a novel about a murder someone followed but when I read closer, I realized the author was a victim who was just trying to do his job as a dedicated police officer who's heart and soul revolved around his occupation. Larry's true soul is revealed as he tries to sort out who's with him or against him as he tries to solve the murder of Donna Gentile.
I highly recommend this book for true crime lovers, you will LOVE IT!
Susan M. HagenRead More Testimonials
Decades of hardships to clear ones name.
Not just a murder mystery but more importantly an account of an endless pursuit over decades for the author to clear his name. I commend the author for his determination and moreso for the many hardships he suffered along the way. I believe it is safe to say most people would not have such determination. This book is a must-read for those who were members of the San Diego Police Department in the 1970's and 1980's.
James SpearsRead More Testimonials
The purpose of this book is about closure. The story is one cops journey through a biased Internal Affairs investigation, how he felt the department abandoned him, how this played into the media’s attempts to implicate his involvement in the murder and how he struggled to maintain his innocence. The media coverage and his termination contributed in casting a shadow over his career, his family, his deteriorating financial situation, his relationships, and his future. It’s a story how he stayed sane while supporting his family and kids with performing many part-time jobs and a niche hobby of selling comic books. Then it got worse. The only thing keeping him going through these hardships was a desire to clear his name and fine the real killer.
Bob ApostolosRead More Testimonials
Larry Avrech was a police officer in San Diego in the early 80's. After a few short years, his life was sent into a spiral when he was accused of an unprofessional relationship with a local prostitute resulting in his dismissal from the police department; a fact he vehemently denied.
Little did he know, that wouldn't be the worst of it. Shortly after she testified against him in a department hearing, Donna Gentile was found brutally murdered. Suspicion fell on Avrech, causing his life to further spiral out of control.
In his book, "Who Killed Donna Gentile", Avrech takes the reader through the nightmare of his life, and his quest to clear his name.
A shocking account of internal politics, unethical leaders and Avrech losing everything before slowly digging himself out.
Cloyd Steiger Author, Chief Criminal Investigator of the Washington State Attorney General’s Homicide Investigation Tracking System, (HITS) and Former Homicide Detective with Seattle Police DepartmentRead More Testimonials
Larry went through Hell because he was an honest cop. His book hints at the truth that was being suppressed by a major police department.
If you like real-life investigation by a professional you'll love this trip through darkness.
Amazon CustomerRead More Testimonials
Amazing Read, very powerful. The author went through, "Hell". but fought for his vindication even though the deck was clearly stacked against him. Much Respect.
Teddie W.Read More Testimonials
Larry Avrech meets courage and fear in his story that waited to be told for more than three decades. This is a story of the complexity describing humans simply doing the best they can, and in that, others are sometimes harmed. A painful exploration of the realities of emerging modern policing. Current leaders and police officers can use these decades-old events as a guideline for policing today.
Just as none of us are of a single story, neither is the story of the murder of Donna Gentile. The books walks the reader through a dark period of a large city police department and other county agencies, shining light into the shadows of corruption and acknowledging those striving to do the right thing.
The story could read like a novel of deception and intrigue yet it is a telling of real events, naming real places and describing real people. I had worked for the same department as a police officer during the era described by Larry. For me, the first few pages of the book activated many of my own real memories and experiences of the people around those events. Some of those memories were painful and sad, some brought smiles. It is a necessary part of being human that allows us to face it all.
Larry’s book invites all readers and anyone with an interest in criminal justice and policing, to face the reality that policing is hard. Life is hard. Police departments are comprised of human beings, with all their strengths and weaknesses and frailties. They stumble. They fall. Yet, through it all, they rise back up to protect us.
Donna Gentile died. Larry Avrech felt persecuted and was terminated from his police career. Larry’s book may allow positive meaning to be placed around Donna’s death. Larry Avrech has found vindication.
Verified Amazon CustomerRead More Testimonials
A complex and compelling story of internal politics and abuse of power in a large police agency and murder. It is written almost like a diary. My only problem was there were so many names I couldn't keep them all in proper camps in the story. The pain and injury is very apparent to the author and officer.
Toni Kief Author (Books on Amazon)Read More Testimonials
Larry's new book is a fabulous read into a world of policing that is rarely discussed. He has a great ability to captivate the reader with a story. If you like books in the genre of crime and law enforcement then this is a must-read.
Dr Carlos Vazquez Forensic Psychology Professor | Author of “Apocalyptic Psychology” | Host of IHeart Radio Show “Forensic Psychology” & Psychopharmacology Daily | Trainer on LEO response to mental illness & substance use disordersRead More Testimonials
I'm not a big-time reader but this book was hard to put down. The actual facts were riveting. Excellent read!!
Marlaine HolmesRead More Testimonials
This is a very good book. The best thing is the ability to reference the files of the case. Joseph Wambaugh is a great crime author. His storytelling drags you into the story understand the characters and makes you the detective. Mr Averich does the same. What a great story of corruption murder and an innocent officer caught up in it all.
Suzie Heller CarpenterRead More Testimonials
This is just an outstanding book and a true account of a high profile prostitute murder decades ago that involved corruption at a high level of a police department. It has many Twists and a heartfelt story of betrayal and murder. It strikes home as a retired cop from Phoenix. The story tells the real story behind the headline-grabbing deceptive narrative from the media and does so with an intensity that makes it impossible to put the book down.
I can’t wait for the movie!!!!!
Forensic FanRead More Testimonials
I believe Larry's intent in writing this story what not to necessarily dwelve into Donna Gentile's personal life, but to bring out information concerning the investigation of the events leading to her death and to the investigation following her death. I consider it to be informative and enlightening.
Samster from Sedona, ArizonaRead More Testimonials
Through reading “Who Killed Donna Gentile,” I discovered a whole new world of police, prostitutes and private investigators.
Larry Avrech systematically wove a detailed, convincing case exonerating him from his police colleagues’ accusation of murdering prostitute Donna Gentile. The author endured the great emotional stress of being fired, poor, abused by colleagues, and strained by divisive family relationships. Nevertheless, he coolly used his keen skills of observation and analysis to prove his innocence in part by connecting seemingly unimportant details. Each piece of the puzzle is explained clearly in a detective thriller style until the author tracks down the killer. I enjoyed getting an insider’s view of how the San Diego Police Department works along with detailed knowledge about the relationship between the police and prostitutes.
It was also fascinating to read how the author solved challenging cases as a private detective. For example, he described in detail how he located a daughter’s father that had been missing for 28 years. Detective Avrech tracked him down in just half an hour.
Bill Borden Director, American Insights from Stockholm, SwedenRead More Testimonials
"Donna Gentile was a working prostitute in the City of San Diego, California. As a former SDPD officer and Vice Detective myself, I am all too familiar with the sex-for-money business in my home town. I am also very familiar with how The San Diego Police Department had a habit of throwing fine officers under the bus for simply not being what we used to call "fair-haired boys".
Such was the case with the author, Larry Avrech. This gritty tale of how the San Diego Police Department conducted and egregiously mishandled Internal Affairs investigations revolves around the victim of a gruesome homicide that had many in the department pointing fingers at each other.
Gentile had a way of dragging officers into her world in an effort to benefit herself. She had a habit of attaching herself to several officers and supervisors, participating in off-duty activities that normally would be cause for termination of those officers involved. She gamed the system to the max. Avrech had the misfortune of crossing paths with her. When he became aware of serious breaches of policy, ethics and just plain common sense -- all of which are germane to being an honorable police officer -- he made the mistake of assuming the department would back him as he pointed out the more serious of these offenses. Instead, he was hounded, threatened and ultimately terminated for his efforts; guilty only of not being a "fair-haired boy".
Avrech subsequently became a successful private investigator, as did many former officers -- myself included -- who had treadmarks on our backs, and ultimately linked several serial murders together helping close several cases including that of Donna Gentile.
"Who Killed Donna Gentile?" is a well-written and excellently documented procedural that provides an honest look into the world of a police department operating at times on the wrong side of common decency. I highly recommend it."
Joe Coyle Former SDPD officer and Vice Detective retired sergeant, National City Police DepartmentRead More Testimonials
This is wonderfully written "page turner" of a book the truth of which is meticulously documented. It is a record of how a good cop, Officer Avrech, was terminated from the San Diego police force because he was suspected of consorting with a prostitute 'though he'd never done so. A cabal of higher-ups in the force not only saw to it that Avrech never got a fair hearing but conducted a series of covert "dirty tricks" against him which cost him his wife, his kids, his source of income and his reputation. They did so because, they themselves, were using Avrech as a fall-guy to cover up their own misdeeds. Things got even worse for him when the prostitute over which this charade was about turned up dead.
In this true story, Officer Avrech tells how, in his effort to clear his name, he solves the mystery of who killed this prostitute and works with a newly forming task force to find the perpetrators behind myriad serial murders while decreasing the frequency of serial killings.
This book is a must read for law enforcement personnel and laymen as well, who care to delve into the heart of what law enforcement is like.
It has plenty of realistic action in it and personally, I'd like to see it made into a movie. I'm honored to know the author of this book personally. He's a real mentch (authentic person).
Benyomin Ellegant Memphis, TNRead More Testimonials
I look at the cover and it makes me think Donna has been waiting for the truth to come out and her murderer exposed. With this book, it looks like she's about to get her wish.
Jeffery K. Bambara FLRead More Testimonials
The last great police corruption book, Serpico. This is the west coast version. The death of a street worker leads to corruption, coverup and the attempt to ruin a good officer's life. A great read and yes, the truth San Diego doesn't want you the taxpayer to know. The author, Larry Avrech is the wrongfully accused officer. In the style of Joseph Wambaugh, Larry takes you back into time and into each tense situation.
Ron Carpenter Retired Air Traffic ControllerRead More Testimonials
When I first met Larry Avrech in the summer of 1985, he had been fired from SDPD due in part to testimony of a prostitute. When her body was discovered in East San Diego County, media speculation projected him as a suspect in her death, even when other prostitutes’ bodies were dropped in East San Diego County. Avrech steadfastly maintained his innocence, while losing his job and his wife. As the cloud of suspicion hung over his head, Avrech quietly went to work to exonerate himself while exposing police corruption in sunny San Diego's police department. This book is Avrech's vindication.
J. Stryker Meyer Police Reporter/Editor/AuthoRead More Testimonials
Larry S. Avrech is a former San Diego Police Officer and a successful private investigator. During his vast law career, he has been instrumental in solving some of Southern California’s most prominent … Read More about About The Author