In "Lush Life," Price tears the shiny veneer off the "new" New York to show the underground networks of control and violence beneath the glamour, in this novel that reads like a movie in prose" ("New York Times").
From The Publisher:
“So, what do you do?” Whenever people asked him, Eric Cash used to have a dozen answers. Artist, actor, screenwriter...But now he’s thirty-five years old and he’s still living on the Lower East Side, still in the restaurant business, still serving the people he always wanted to be. What does Eric do? He manages. Not like Ike Marcus. Ike was young, good-looking, people liked him. Ask him what he did, he wouldn’t say tending bar. He was going places—until two street kids stepped up to him and Eric on Eldridge Street one night and pulled a gun. At least, that’s Eric’s version.
In Lush Life, Richard Price tears the shiny veneer off the “new” New York to show us the hidden cracks, the underground networks of control and violence beneath the glamour. Lush Life is an X-ray of the street in the age of no broken windows and “quality of life” squads, from a writer whose “tough, gritty brand of social realism...reads like a movie in prose” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).
From The Critics:
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. - Publisher's Weekly
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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. - Library Journal
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. Butthis 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. - Kirkus Reviews