- Against the Grain , by Freeze (2008)
- Getting out of prison after a sentence following a botched bank robbery in which his closest friend, Apache, was killed, hustler Arkadian Frost discovers that members of his old crew are now big-time players in the drug game and becomes caught in the middle of a war for power, with only his woman, ShuShawn, standing at his side.
- Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned , by Walter Mosley (1997)
- After serving twenty-seven years in prison for killing two people in a drunken rage, tough ex-convict Socrates Fortlow lives in a tiny apartment in Watts, struggling to make sense of the violence in the world and in himself.
- The Apostles , by Y. B. Moore (2004)
- Yearning to give up gang life and settle down with his pregnant girlfriend, Solemn Shawn Terson, the leader of the Apostles, one of Chicago's most feared street gangs, is forced into a dangerous confrontation with his rivals, the Governors, when his associates are framed for the murder of a member of the Governors.
- Bangers , by Gary Phillips (2003)
- Detective Sergeant Rafael "Saint" Santian, a member of TRASH, an elite team of street cops determined to rid the streets of crime, goes up against The Crazy Nines, a ruthless gang terrorizing the streets of Venice Heights, and a corrupt Assistant D.A. who, determined to destroy TRASH, is turning cop against cop.
- Blow , by 50 Cent and K'wan (2007)
- Surviving Brooklyn street life by selling marijuana, young Tay discovers the lucrative business opportunities of dealing heroin and begins enjoying a life of big money, women, and power before finding himself targeted by jealous and dangerous rivals who were once his friends.
- Clockers , by Richard Price (1992)
- Certain that the young Black man who has confessed to a recent murder is covering for his drug-dealing half-brother, Striker, veteran cop Rocco Klein decides to make Striker's life a nightmare.
- Daisies in the Junkyard , by M. Enright (2002)
- A powerful and penetrating novel of a Mexican-American community fighting to maintain its culture and integrity in the midst of urban warfare follows high school seniors Tony and Carlos, who are determined to go to college and leave the ghetto behind, as they resist the call of the streets, only to discover that the gangs have other plans for them.
- Drama City , by George Pelecanos (2005)
- Hoping to start over after serving time in prison, Lorenzo Brown returns to the neighborhood of his youth to take a job as a Humane Society officer, but finds challenges from a local drug boss.
- Easy Streets , by Bill James (2005)
- When a criminal's house is firebombed, the precarious agreement between the police and the local underworld is shattered, forcing the police to handle increasingly violent cases involving competitive drug dealers.
- End of a Primitive , by Chester Himes (1997)
- A tough, down on his luck writer and a woman rapidly heading for a life of addiction share a doomed relationship. Originally published as The Primitive .
- High Hand , by Gary Phillips (2000)
- A former showgirl turned mob courier is robbed of seven million dollars by thieves and given three days to recover the money or pay with her life. A Martha Chainey mystery.
- Last Day , by Richard Sears (2001)
- Left with a bullet lodged in his brain after the bust of an outlaw motorcycle club distributing methamphetamine, undercover cop Charlie Wolf begins to experience a series of psychotic episodes.
- The Power of the Dog , by Don Winslow (2005)
- The lives of a DEA agent, a drug lord, a call girl, a hit man, and a priest intertwine around a nexus of the drug trade involving the Latin American drug cartels, the American underworld, and the U.S. government.
- 6 Chambers, 1 Bullet , by Sonny Barger (2006)
- When five members of the notorious Infidelz Motorcycle Club are found brutally murdered with counterfeit $100 bills stuffed in their mouths, Patch Kincade finds that it has become his responsibility to hand down his own version of street justice, following a trail of funny money to an Eastern European mob and a powerful new crime family.
- Way Past Cool , by Jess Mowry (1992)
- Living by a strict code of honor, two rival gangs on Oakland's tough streets find a common enemy in Derek, a drug dealer who cruises their neighborhood, controlling by intimidation.
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