Brett's Reviews > Clockers

Clockers by Richard Price
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Oct 06, 10

Read in September, 2010

The book tells the story of Strike, a street drug dealer in a fictional New Jersey city. When the drug kingpin he works for suggests that Strike can move up in the organization if another dealer is killed, Strike tries to find a way to have the guy killed without doing it himself.
This is the second book by Richard Price that I’ve read. Price is always described as someone who writes “gritty” books and I think that’s an apt description. His fictional town of Dempsy comes alive through his words and the characters he builds are slimy yet still elicit some sympathy from the reader. The detective who is investigating the case is a hard working cop who is contemplating retirement and seems like a genuinely good guy, but not someone who you’d want to have any sort of relationship with outside of work. He’s married and has a young daughter but barely seems to be able to function outside of work. Strike’s brother is a good guy who is working hard to support his family but makes some questionable decisions and in the end becomes possibly the most pitiful character in the book. And in a book filled with pitiful characters, that’s saying something. Rodney, the drug kingpin, is a horrible person with a huge body count and numerous illegitimate children, yet prosthelytizes a moral code that seems completely at odds with his “work”.
Price writes simply but compellingly. I enjoyed the first book of his that I read, Lush Life, and enjoyed this one only slightly less. I’ll definitely continue making my way through his work and anyone who’s in the mood for a gritty (there’s that word again) look at crime, inner-city life, and the police might find one of Price’s novel worth their time. 599
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