Simon Smyth has been delving into the pages of crime fiction.

 

This is the third Richard Price book I have read. The first was Clockers which was made into an excellent film in 1995 by Spike Lee. When I was much younger I was a huge film buff and religiously read all the books which all the best films were based on: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ➖ The Godfather ➖  Wiseguys ➖ Girl Interrupted ➖ Carlito's Way ➖ Dead Man Walking and more accessible books like Silence of the Lambs

I must have read 30-40 books based on great films, even tracking down The Hoods by Harry Gray which was the basis of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America when it had been out of print for years, taking advantage of the nascent internet to feed my desire to read. Once, I forgot the rule of thumb that states whichever comes first, book or movie, is usually the best and read Wyatt Earp which was a novel based on the film and learned a quick, badly written lesson.

I will have to track down the film Clockers, which is about street-level drug dealers in New York, to see if it has dated. However, Spike Lee's handprint of genius is not normally one to fade.

The Whites is a crime novel, not too gritty but gritty enough, about a group of friends who are cops who met at the academy and grew older together, socialising and covering each other's backs. The Whites of the title are each cop's Moby Dick, the nemesis who they each know are guilty but who escaped justice, down to a technicality, sloppy police work or just bad luck.

The book was relatively slow to start and I was surprised to see at the end of every chapter, a section called Milton Ramos which was unrelated to the main story but which I kept suspecting would merge at some stage either directly or indirectly.

I was also surprised to see words like mobile phone, internet, allusions to black lives matter style protests and other contemporary references which although I know are now 20 years old or more, made the noir feel of the book jar with the up-to-date setting. The book was written in 2015.

To avoid any beans being spilled I will end by saying this is an excellent novel, what you imagine would be regarded as literature because of the phrases and sentences which individually are rich and conjure thoughts which are familiar but which you never could articulate. 

Price expertly weaves these well written sentences, with strong characters and snappy narration to spin a master class in how to write a page-turner. I normally avoid page turners as I find they often offer titillation without substance, but I often felt my heart pound as I read, my brain not reading quickly enough, not being able to keep up with my emotions or desire to find out what happened next.

A worthy tale of the one who brought us Clockers. 

Richard Price, The Whites, 2015. Bloomsbury. ISBN-13: 978-1408864593.

⏩ Simon Smyth is an avid reader and collector of books.

The Whites

Simon Smyth has been delving into the pages of crime fiction.

 

This is the third Richard Price book I have read. The first was Clockers which was made into an excellent film in 1995 by Spike Lee. When I was much younger I was a huge film buff and religiously read all the books which all the best films were based on: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ➖ The Godfather ➖  Wiseguys ➖ Girl Interrupted ➖ Carlito's Way ➖ Dead Man Walking and more accessible books like Silence of the Lambs

I must have read 30-40 books based on great films, even tracking down The Hoods by Harry Gray which was the basis of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America when it had been out of print for years, taking advantage of the nascent internet to feed my desire to read. Once, I forgot the rule of thumb that states whichever comes first, book or movie, is usually the best and read Wyatt Earp which was a novel based on the film and learned a quick, badly written lesson.

I will have to track down the film Clockers, which is about street-level drug dealers in New York, to see if it has dated. However, Spike Lee's handprint of genius is not normally one to fade.

The Whites is a crime novel, not too gritty but gritty enough, about a group of friends who are cops who met at the academy and grew older together, socialising and covering each other's backs. The Whites of the title are each cop's Moby Dick, the nemesis who they each know are guilty but who escaped justice, down to a technicality, sloppy police work or just bad luck.

The book was relatively slow to start and I was surprised to see at the end of every chapter, a section called Milton Ramos which was unrelated to the main story but which I kept suspecting would merge at some stage either directly or indirectly.

I was also surprised to see words like mobile phone, internet, allusions to black lives matter style protests and other contemporary references which although I know are now 20 years old or more, made the noir feel of the book jar with the up-to-date setting. The book was written in 2015.

To avoid any beans being spilled I will end by saying this is an excellent novel, what you imagine would be regarded as literature because of the phrases and sentences which individually are rich and conjure thoughts which are familiar but which you never could articulate. 

Price expertly weaves these well written sentences, with strong characters and snappy narration to spin a master class in how to write a page-turner. I normally avoid page turners as I find they often offer titillation without substance, but I often felt my heart pound as I read, my brain not reading quickly enough, not being able to keep up with my emotions or desire to find out what happened next.

A worthy tale of the one who brought us Clockers. 

Richard Price, The Whites, 2015. Bloomsbury. ISBN-13: 978-1408864593.

⏩ Simon Smyth is an avid reader and collector of books.

4 comments:

  1. Reading reviews like this creates a mountain in front of me - another one I need to read. I'll die without getting to the bulk of them. When young there were never choices that had to be made. If it isn't read today another day will come. That certainty has gone and we have to pick with a bit less abandon.

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  2. I don't think I am more discriminating with my choice of book as I get older but I look at it less from a "I will never read all my books" point of view and more from a "I love having a wide range to choose from" view and read depending on my mood.

    Otherwise, we'd be like the poor man with glasses out of the Twilight Zone (series 1 episode 8- Time Enough at Last) who never has time to read until he is sole survivor of a nuclear war. It is a cautionary tale and very much worth watching.

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  3. "I must have read 30-40 books based on great films, even tracking down The Hoods by Harry Gray which was the basis of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America when it had been out of print for years, taking advantage of the nascent internet to feed my desire to read."

    I did as well, and couldn't believe how bad it was.

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  4. Absolutely Christopher, Pulp fiction at its finest. How they crafted such a cinematic tale from the pulp is anybody's guess. One of the exceptions in the rule of thumb that whichever comes first is usually the best.

    Although not quite as stark, maybe include the Godfather in the exceptions as well, but I was fond of Mario Puzo's tales.

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