Books: Fishy In New Jersey?

Richard Price returns to the bleak landscapes of Clockers for a tale about race, crime and mom

As he did with Clockers, his 1992 novel about the drug trade in a worn-down wasteland of urban New Jersey, Richard Price creates in his new novel, Freedomland (Broadway Books; 546 pages; $25), a thriller in which plot grows inevitably from place, and place seems utterly real. The most powerful impression a reader feels in these two novels is the sense, in a scene set in a chaotic emergency room or in the junk-filled scrubland between a black housing project and a shabby white neighborhood, that yes, this is what such a backwater would look like, sound like, smell like. And...

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