Back in the ’90s, there was a cadre of five rookie police officers who went out on their beats charged up on coke and ambition; but twenty years later they find themselves marginalized within the NYPD or out altogether. Billy Graves, an original member of The Wild Geese, now works the Night Watch, sidelined after having shot an innocent bystander in the pursuit of a felon. One night, a homicide comes to his attention: the victim is one of those “that got away,” a perpetrator who evaded justice. Billy checks into it a bit and discovers uncomfortable connections between the victim and his past. The past becomes a monster that promises to drown out not only himself and his friends, but his family as well as they battle personal demons and real threats.
The whole of the novel is packed with the power language of the police profession, and scenes are acutely described as to render them realistic. The set-up and conclusion are fast paced; the middle section only lagging owing to the number of scenes that underscore the book’s theme (of the past being brought forward to bear on the present); but don’t serve to drive the plot forward. The overall style of the novel is not nearly as elegant as Lush Life, and the meaning of the title could have probably been made more clear earlier in the book; but regardless, the cinematic appeal of the story is not to be denied.
Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Glass Hat (Paris Review item about Richard Price’s use of a pseudonym)
OTHER: I received an Advanced Reader’s Edition of The Whites (by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt) through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program on December 15, 2014. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.
n.b. There are a couple of editorial lapses in the advance reader’s edition that hopefully will be remedied in the final release, e.g. Conversations have missing dialogue lines, and an unresolved fate regarding a minor character.