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Samaritanby Richard Price
Synopses & Reviews
After a lucrative television writing career comes to an abrupt end, ex-high school teacher Ray Mitchell returns to the New Jersey city of his birth — to rethink his life, reconnect with his teenage daughter, and to spread the wealth on the housing project that reared him. He begins teaching again, embarks on an affair with a married woman from the old neighborhood, and becomes a mentor to a former student recently released from jail.
Then, disaster: he is found beaten nearly to death in his own apartment. He knows who did it, but he's not talking, and he refuses to press charges.
It is up to Detective Nerese Ammons — a childhood acquaintance from the projects — to get Ray to tell her what happened.
Alternating between investigations of the people in Ray's life most likely to do him harm and listening to his fevered ramblings about their shared past as he slips in and out of consciousness, Nerese is charged not only with uncovering the perpetrator of this assault but with understanding what kind of victim is more afraid of the truth than of his potential murderer.
The Washington Post Book World has hailed Richard Price as having "the best equipment a novelist can have — that combination of muscularity, insight and compassion we might call heart." Samaritan is an electrifying story of crime and punishment, of character and place, of children and their keepers — a novel of literary suspense that explores what happens when, caught up in the drama of one's own generosity, too little is given, too little is understood, and the results threaten to prove both tragic and deadly.
"I read Richard Price for the cool, spare sound of his writing, his words, the language he has in his bag that fits so exactly in his settings. The characters talk the talk; the main one, Nerese Ammons, a gem, 20 years a cop in the NY-NJ iron triangle, lays open the plot, scene after scene, at a beautiful pace. Richard Price has written a terrific novel." Elmore Leonard
"The mastery of urban melodrama that Price demonstrated in literate blockbusters like Clockers and Freedomland keeps growing and deepening....Magnificent stuff. If Elmore Leonard broke out of genre and were 30 years younger, he'd be Richard Price." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Richard Price's Samaritan is gripping, ambitious, and resonant entertainment, everything you hope to find in an American novel and so rarely do. This is the work of a fiercely honest writer at the top of his game." George Pelecanos, author of Hell to Pay
"Nobody does urban grit better than Price....[Samaritan] doesn't belie that claim, but it isn't his best, despite some wonderful writing....
"[A] sprawling cast of highly cinematic characters, an air of pungent menace, a full-to-bursting package held together by a strong, suspenseful plot." Mark Costello, The New York Times Book Review
"[T]o call it a thriller would be selling it short....The author's forte has always been characterization, and Samaritan can be read by aspiring authors as a note-perfect example of how to make fictional characters jump off the page. (Grade: A)" Tom Sinclair, Entertainment Weekly
"Richard Price's most insightful urban drama yet....[A] whodunit of the highest order....Thanks to his vivid documentary-like prose, readers feel what it's like to ride the faulty housing project elevators, to inhale the reek of cigarettes and urine in cinderblock halls." John Freeman, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Samaritan blew my mind....I don't think anyone ever sent me a book in hopes of a comment that was this good....An absolutely riveting story. The reader is hooked from the first page." Stephen King
"Giving new meaning to the term 'inner city,' Price yields up not just the familiar, blanched moonscape of urban blight but the inner lives and jackhammering hearts of those who pace and patrol it." The New Yorker
"Whether celebrating black culture or the struggle of the white working class — his signature themes — [Price] proves himself to be one of our best chroniclers of big-city experience." Paul Evans, Book magazine
"[T]he voices of the individual characters in Samaritan (as in the two novels that preceded it) are as vivid and immediate as anything offered by his peers, and Price's own voice resonates through these books with a unique combination of weariness and urgency....
From the author of the bestselling Clockers and Freedomland comes a brilliant new novel of literary suspense — a story of crime, punishment, and the impulse to do good. Samaritan explores what happens when, caught up in the drama of one's own generosity, too little is given, too little is understood, and the result turns both tragic and potentially deadly.
Ray Mitchell returns to New Jersey to the housing project where he grew up to re-evaluate his life, but when he is found savagely beaten — and refuses to press charges — childhood friend Detective Nerese Ammons must uncover the truth.
Ray Mitchell, a former TV writer who has left Hollywood under a cloud, returns to urban Dempsy, New Jersey, hoping to make a difference in the lives of his struggling neighbors. Instead, his very public andemotionally suspect generosity gets him beaten nearly to death. Ray refuses to name his assailant, which makes him intensely interesting to Detective Nerese Ammons, a friend from childhood, who now sets out to unlock thesecret of his reticence. Set against the intensely realized backdrop of urban America, the cat and mouse game that unfolds is both morally complex and utterly gripping.
From the TradePaperback edition.
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