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 Department
Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Empty string supplied as input in /home/karissas/public_html/profoundlypurple/wp-content/plugins/easy-testimonials/include/lib/gp-testimonial.class.php on line 950
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.
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.
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 Customer
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)
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 disorders
I'm not a big-time reader but this book was hard to put down. The actual facts were riveting. Excellent read!!
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 Carpenter
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!!!!!
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, Arizona
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, Sweden
"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 Department
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, TN
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 FL
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 Controller
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/Autho