My first experience reading Richard Price was his 2008 novel, Lush Life. One of my best friends and I decided to read it together. By the time I was halfway through, and totally hooked, he told me that he just couldn’t get past the first forty pages because it was so unreadable. I gotta say, he was dead wrong. I’d never read anything like it. The book was awesome, and Price’s mastery of dialogue, particularly New York street dialogue (both among cops and criminals), was just pitch-perfect.
I later learned that Price also wrote a bunch of episodes of the television series The Wire, a fact which, when discovered, made both the style and excellence of Lush Life make that much more sense.
The Whites was published in 2015, and there’s already a film adaptation in the works. In many ways, it is similar to Lush Life, in that its protagonist is a New York cop, and insofar as the dialogue and grittiness almost made me think about getting the hell out of New York City as quick as possible.
I don’t want to say too much about the novel’s subject directly, lest I spoil anything, but this book is utterly apt and important to our present national discussion-slash-watershed-moment about police interactions with the communities they police. And its conclusion—and, more importantly, your own feelings about it—may just surprise the shit out of you.