If you need a Wire fix, and have already read Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets as I’ve recommended, Richard Price’s Clockers should be next on your list. The novel was a huge inspiration on the television show and Price was even brought in to write for it as the shows creators were such fans. It was adapted by Spike Lee, but I’ve yet to see the resulting movie. I can say that the novel is as well written and realistically engaging as I’ve come to expect from Price and it’s more focused narrative is more satisfying even than his recent hit Lush Life.
Set on the streets of a fictional New Jersey county, Clockers follows Strike, a mid level drug dealer and Rocco, a homicide detective bent on solving a murder that he’s positive Strike is behind. Problem is, even with all signs pointing to his guilt, his hard working brother confessed.
A streetwise young kid named Tyrone, the dangerous drug boss, Rodney, Rocco’s even headed partner, a vain actor trying to get real by hanging out with detectives, and Strike’s struggling, sympathetic brother Victor fill out this character study that is sometimes dark and heavy, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes humorous, and always entertaining.
Price is becoming one of my go to writers when I want a book that’s sure to deliver (along side TC Boyle and Jack Vance).