Ray Mitchell is lying in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of consciousness, his head a bloody mess of swabs and bandages. He knows who did it, but he's not saying. He had been a successful and wealthy TV scriptwriter, but losing his job he returned to the mean streets of his youth - the projects of Dempsey, New Jersey, across the river from the ...
Ray Mitchell is lying in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of consciousness, his head a bloody mess of swabs and bandages. He knows who did it, but he's not saying. He had been a successful and wealthy TV scriptwriter, but losing his job he returned to the mean streets of his youth - the projects of Dempsey, New Jersey, across the river from the glittering metropolis of New York, in order to try and give something back to the community where he grew up. But being charitable isn't always easy, and parachuting back into his childhood life was never going to be without its difficulties. His attempt to be a 'good man' leads him down many dark avenues, where his ostentatious displays of wealth can only incite trouble. In true Richard Price tradition, "Samaritan" has all the elements of a thriller and all the depth and beauty and characterisation of a literary masterpiece. The film rights for "Samaritan" have just been bought by Scott Rudin for a considerable amount of money.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-05-05 After a stint writing for a popular television show, Ray Mitchell has returned to his old New Jersey neighborhood to teach at his alma mater. Rethinking his life and trying to reconnect with his teenaged daughter, he soon suffers a terrible assault: he's nearly killed by a vicious blow to the head in his own apartment. He knows who did it, but is keeping mum. An old neighbor from the projects, Nerese Ammons, is the ready-to-retire detective assigned to Mitchell's case. She slowly tries to tease out of Mitchell any clues she can, learning about his past as well as about the relationships he has developed since his return. She's especially interested in Mitchell's battle with drug addiction and his current affair with the wife of a recently released convict. Boatman superbly recites this tale. He uses subtle changes in his tone and delivery to identify each character. Though his voice remains calm throughout the story, he maintains a palpable level of intensity that will keep listeners locked in to the details of Mitchell's tumultuous life. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 2, 2002). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-12-02 Nobody does urban grit better than Price-or so it was said in the '90s upon the publication of Clockers and Freedomland. Price's first novel in four years doesn't belie that claim, but it isn't his best, despite some wonderful writing. Most impressive are the characters-and not only the principals, Ray Mitchell, a white TV writer recently returned to his predominantly black home city of Dempsey, N.J., only to wind up in an ICU with a crushed skull, and Nerese Ammons, black, Ray's childhood friend, now a cop determined to find out who swung the vase that put Ray down. The supporting characters, too, are blazing with life, as is Price's rich evocation of Dempsey's blasted cityscape. It's the plotting that's relatively weak. The novel is woven of two chronological strands, one starting with Ray's time in the ICU and focusing on Nerese's investigation, the other beginning with Ray's arrival in Dempsey and emphasizing his troubled relationship with his alienated wife and daughter; with his new girlfriend from the projects, Danielle; and with himself-for Ray is a self-loathing former cokehead whose desperate need for approval clouds his judgment time and again. The binary plotting is interesting, but a bit gimmicky and doesn't help the book's pace, and a narrative turn near the end involving Ray and his daughter feels contrived. Since Ray's need for approval prevents him from telling Nerese who conked him, the book is basically a whodunit. Few readers will guess the real culprit: is it Danielle's jealous jailbird husband? The erratic street artist Ray is supporting? Danielle? The questions will hold readers' interest but not seize it, and while many will enjoy as well as admire the novel, most won't be blown away by it. 150,000 first printing; simultaneous Random House Audio. (Jan. 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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