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Clockers [Hardcover]

Richard Price
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1992
A murder mystery set in Manhattan.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T); First Printing edition (May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395537614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395537619
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,592,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Price is the author of seven novels, including Clockers, Freedomland and Samaritan. He won a 2007 Edgar Award for his writing on the HBO series The Wire.

(Photo credit: Ralph Gibson)

Product Description


'The most heralded work of fiction to come out of New York since Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities While Wolfe's high-rollers only dipped a toe into the dark side, Price gives us all the raw detail of the street timely, majestic' Time Out 'Big, shocking, powerful resounds with vivid detail' Independent on Sunday 'Dazzling An odyssey of cops, drugs, survival and power A closely-observed tour de force' New York Daily News 'One hell of a book Price shows that he's got the best equipment a novelist can have - that combination of muscularity, insight and compassion' Washington Post --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Price spent four years with dealers and cops on the streets of urban America researching the raw material for Clockers. His first novel, The Wanderers, was a literary sensation when it was published in 1974. Three other novels followed - Bloodbrothers, Ladies' Man, and The Breaks, but more recently Price has become one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters. The Color of Money - for which he received an Oscar Nomination - and Sea of Love are two of his credits. Clockers was directed by Spike Lee and starred Harvey Keitel and John Turturro. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Richard Price first came up with the idea for Clockers whilst sat in a fast food restaurant in New York, during the waning years of what later became known as The Crack Epidemic. Whilst he observed overworked teenage kids sweating behind the counter for minimum wage inside, outside street dealers - in full view of the restaurant staff - made twenty times as much selling Crack. This posed the seemingly obvious question: What stops the guys inside the restaurant from doing what the guys outside the restaurant are doing? With that question in mind Price set out to research and, ultimately write, one of the finest examinations of 20th century crime ever written.

Set against a modern day equivalent of Hogarth's Gin Lane, rife with crime, privation, and a new form of Mother's Ruin - Crack - Clockers is the story of murder, deceit, prejudice, corruption, and, ultimately, redemption. While there are some minor inaccuracies concerning the actual drug, it's clear the rest of the book, including the black society in which it is set, was meticulously researched, for which the author should receive recognition - after all it isn't often non-black writers document Afro-America without relying heavily on conjecture.

Slightly dated now, this is still a brilliant, edifying, and educational novel. Top marks.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I feel that Richard Price should be considered among the great modern American writers. He seems to be underrated, perhaps because his books tend to be (wrongly) stuck in genre sections of bookshops. He should be on the list with John Irving and Tom Wolfe. He has the ability to bridge the gap between entertainment and profound art. It's exciting and enjoyable reading his work, but you also feel good doing it.
Clockers is probably his overall finest book, alternating from two characters points of view throughout the book. It's moving, scary, exciting and profound and gives more real detail than any contenders writing about street life. The best thing I can say about Richard Price, which is something you find all too rarely these days...He's an excellent storyteller and that's all you need to know.
Just buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Forebear of 'The Wire' 27 Feb 2009
'Clockers' is an unrelentingly bleak novel, set in the Projects of Dempsey, New Jersey, at the height of a crack cocaine epidemic. Bleak, but after a slow beginning, this novel makes for compulsive reading.

I struggled at first to find my way in; set in the late eighties, 'Clockers' is slightly dated now, there is a lot of colloquial language and its characters have few redeeming qualities, making for an uneasy read. If I hadn't been watching 'The Wire' around the same time as reading this, I would have probably failed to understand what was happening in the opening hundred pages. There are large amounts of detail about the way drug deals are handled, and how the various police departments interact with the disenfranchised youths selling the drugs. 'The Wire' owes a huge amount to this book, and fans of the series will find much to like here.

Once past the first section, and the fatal shooting around which the rest of the novel hinges, 'Clockers' really takes off. Price has a very descriptive way of writing; no detail remains unanalysed, his characters are full bodied and his two protagonists (a dealer, and a cop) are very well drawn. The reader is pulled into their world and is forced to sympathise with both, despite them being fairly unlikeable characters. The sense of deprivation, despair and the impossibility of escape in both walks of life is acutely assessed.

'Clockers' is no ordinary thriller; the reader is asked to make an emotional and cerebral investment that is not required for your average crime novel, but the book is all the better for it. For me, 'Clockers' drops a star because of its slow beginning, which almost led me to put it down unfinished, but if you can push past that, and care about plot and characterisation, then this is a must read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant 12 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I normally read the likes of Dale Brown, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and so on; this was something totally different. It was superb and highly engrossing; Richard Price has obviously done his research well. I loved the movie, but the book is much better. The main difference here is that Rocco Klein, the hardworking hassled cop is the good guy and Strike is the protagonist. As the mystery unfolds as to why Victor Dunham confessed to a drug-related murder the cop thinks Strike committed, the ending will surprise you no end. Well done Richard Price; this is a classic book by anyone`s standards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing. 2 Dec 2008
"The walls of the waiting room were hung with black-and-white cautionary posters, encircling Strike with admonitions, the subjects ranging from AIDS to pregnancy to crack to alcohol, each one a little masterpiece of dread. Strike hated posters. If you were poor, posters followed you everywhere - health clinics, probation offices, housing offices, day care centers, welfare offices - and they were always blasting away at you with warnings to do this, don't do that, be like this, don't be like that, smarten up, control this, stop that."

I don't think you would find Julie Myerson or Ian McEwan making such an observation in any of their novels. That level of consciousness coupled with the quality of the dialogue, the characterisations, and the sheer brilliance of the plot, makes Richard Price a great writer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Finished watching The Wire and want something similar to keep you "in the game"?! This old book is one you must read if you haven't. Read more
Published 15 days ago by C
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic crime fiction couldn't put it down
Excellent book best I read this year Ill be buying more of his books. Reads like an action movie. You genuinly feel for all the characters. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ian Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Clockers rules. If you liked The Wire, you'll love this!
What an amazing novel! Fully developed characters, a well paced story and quite simply some of the best dialogue I've ever read ... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tim Harley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
It's all there, and damn worth the read - check out the other reviews it's pretty clear. If you like it also give these a go :Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets and The... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2009 by Verve
1.0 out of 5 stars cant see what all the fuss is about
Sorry, but I hated this book, it grated on me from the first page.

The characters, the dialogue, the story - I just didn't connect with any of it - I found it tiresome,... Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2008 by An avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars damn good read
I read this book a while back and loved it. I was woried when I heard they were making the film, being a huge fan of US crime/cop tv shows I thought they had miscast it, but the... Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2008 by T. Josham
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts well, but becomes tiresomely tedious
Unlike some autobiographical fiction, this book thankfully is'nt filled with the phoney milage of personal hardship, however, this book is simply only interesting because of how... Read more
Published on 30 April 2001 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, atmospheric book on life in the Bronx
I do not want to waffle on endlessly about this book because you should simply go out and buy it. You don't want to put it down because you live through each page with each... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard hitting insight into life in the Bronx.
I think it's a very gripping book with a strong moral content - if you do wrong you will pay for it one way or the other. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 1999
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