Reviews for Lush Life
Booklist Reviews 2007 December #1
*Starred Review* Price (Samaritan, 2003) is a respected writer, but if he hasn't won the literary acclaim he deserves, perhaps it's because he focuses so often on crime. Although his plots make him worthy of the most discriminating crime-fiction fanship, as a writer of acute social conscience, he uses misdeeds as a lens through which to view the way people navigate ethical terrain in the precarious urban landscape. In outline, Lush Life is deceptively simple. On New York's gentrifying Lower East Side, two boys from the projects hold up three men, killing one. Two cops investigate. But Price's investigation is no mere police procedural, scouring away layers of self-defense in all of his vividly drawn characters. Such is his talent that we care about them all equally, whether they are the cops whose interrogation reduces an innocent man to emotional wreckage; the kid whose abuse leaves him unable to comprehend the value of human life; the narcissistic artists whose self-absorption renders them blind to the true desperation surrounding them. Stitching it together is the route driven by the Quality of Life Task Force, an undercover team that threatens pot smokers with hard time if they fail to produce a handgun. Given the plummeting crime rate in most major cities, it might be argued that crime-driven social dramas are no longer relevant. But making the streets safe for the café crowd has its hidden cost--and no one shows that better than Price. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 January #1
The method employed by Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment serves Price's purpose--and then some--in his wrenching eighth novel (Samaritan, 2003, etc.).This is the story of a NYC crime and its aftermath, focused on the perpetrators; the victims and their families; the cops who doggedly pursue the frailest threads of evidence and possibility; and the bustling, chaotic momentum of an ethnically mixed urban environment forever threatened by venality, violence and despair. It opens with a vivid cluster of parallel scenes, leading toward the early-morning incident that befalls restaurant manager Eric Cash (a wannabe actor/writer whose several careers are going nowhere) and two drinking companions, when two street punks with a gun make a demand and Eric's coworker Ike Marcus offers a smiling reply--and is gunned down. Eric's version of events raises justifiable suspicions, and shapes his subsequent baffled progress toward understanding himself. Veteran homicide cop Matty Clark and his soulful Latina partner Yolonda Bello hit the streets, while attempting to deflect and relieve the crushing sorrow that circumscribes Ike's dad Billy. And never-had-a-chance, virtually family-less teenager Tristan Acevedo channels his rage into fantasies of empowerment, composing inchoate, menacing "poetry," while struggling with his demons. Price offers a profane vernacular feast of raw dialogue. And as Matty and Yolonda (subordinating their embattled personal lives to the task at hand) draw nearer to the truth, Price tells their stories in a complex structure of juxtaposed scenes that ratchets up the tension. The only thing even close to a flaw in this book is its plot's surface resemblance to that of Clockers. But this time Price digs deeper, and the pain is sharper.There oughta be a law requiring Richard Price to publish more frequently. Because nobody does it better. Really. No time, no way. Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2007 November #2
Still waiting tables on the Lower East Side at age 35, Eric has every reason to be jealous of rising star Ike, who happens to be gunned down while they're out for a stroll. Oh, -really? With a national tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 2008 March #1
Price (Samaritan ) is an exceptionally accomplished storyteller whose ear for the accents of New York is the equal of the late, lamented George V. Higgins's love for Boston speech. And though what Price narrates often disturbs, it is just as often funny. A hood advises a young accomplice how to use a gun for the first time: "You just do it to get it done with, then you can start concentratin' on getting better at it, havin' fun with it." The novel starts with a killing, the consequence of a late-night robbery. The killing is almost accidental; an eyewitness exclaims, "It was like God snapped his fingers." Eric, a 35-year-old failed actor and writer, is paralyzed by guilt over his failure to stop the murder. The police, who find him highly suspicious, arrest him, and everything goes downhill from there. When the shooter is finally caught, he is a pathetic man-boy from the projects. Price's New York is a city that no longer works: too many people are left bruised, with no safety net. Strongly recommended for fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/07.]--David Keymer, Modesto, CA [Page 75]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 January #3
Master of the Bronx and Jersey projects, Price (Clockers ) turns his unrelenting eye on Manhattan's Lower East Side in this manic crescendo of a novel that explores the repercussions of a seemingly random shooting. When bartender Ike Marcus is shot to death after barhopping with friends, NYPD Det. Matty Clark and his team first focus on restaurant manager and struggling writer Eric Cash, who claims the group was accosted by would-be muggers, despite eyewitnesses saying otherwise. As Matty grills Eric on the still-hazy details of the shooting, Price steps back and follows the lives of the alleged shooters--teenagers Tristan Acevedo and Little Dap Williams, who live in a nearby housing project--as well as Ike's grieving father, Billy, who hounds the police even as leads dwindle. As the intersecting narratives hurtle toward a climax that's both expected and shocking, Price peels back the layers of his characters and the neighborhood until all is laid bare. With its perfect dialogue and attention to the smallest detail, Price's latest reminds readers why he's one of the masters of American urban crime fiction. Author tour. (Mar.) [Page 151]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.