Here is a frightening, realistic vel of terror in the streets, of the growing power wielded by lawless youth gangs. When newly-promoted Lieutenant Ralph Mott of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was assigned to gang control in East Los Angeles, he knew little about the barrio or the extent of the violence there. Although he had heard of the seventeen warring youth gangs, he was unprepared for fourteen-year-old hitmen, for the savage brutality of boys still in their teens. Now with gang activity increasing, he plunged into the fight to control the armed robberies, the gang rapings, the shotgun attacks on houses, and the constant warfare between hostile gangs that raged on every street and hillside. Most of the people in the Mexican-American community were law-abiding, yet Mott soon learned that fear of gang vengeance kept them silent when they had witnessed a crime. Chillingly accurate in its detail, The Murder Children is a story of fast, exciting action. It is also a story of people-of individual gang members, of priests and prostitutes, of good citizens and bad. And it is the story of Lieutenant Mott, who with the men and women of the sheriff's forces, had the dangerous job of trying to contain a spreading evil.
The son of a scientist, John Ball was born in Schenectady, New York, and grew up in Milwaukee. He attended Carroll College in Wisconsin. He subsequently worked as a science staff writer on Fortune, a music critic and feature writer for the Brooklyn Eagle, a daily columnist on the New York World-Telegram & Sun, a broadcaster for a Washington radio station, and a Director of Public Relations for the Institute of Aerospace Sciences. His In the Heat of the Night was awarded a Mystery Writers of America Edgar for the Best First Mystery Novel of the Year, and since had been followed by The Cool Cottontail, also featuring his African-American detective, Virgil Tibbs. Mr. Ball has also authored a number of notable young adult books.