Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.62 shipping
Clockers Hardcover – June 2, 1992
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Selling $10 bottles of cocaine to drive-by customers, clockers are at the low end of the drug-dealing chain. One step up is Strike Dunham, an ulcer-ridden, black 19-year-old who oversees his part of the operation from a bench in the housing projects of a New Jersey city called Dempsy--the bleak and confined world that screenwriter and novelist Price ( Sea of Love and The Wanderers, respectively) explores with consistent authority. The murder of another dealer in Strike's drug organization brings in middle-aged, almost burned-out homicide detective Rocco Klein, who doesn't believe it when Strike's brother Victor, a young man with a family, two jobs and a clean record, confesses to the crime. The shooter's identity and motive are the questions on which Price turns this thoroughgoing exploration of Dempsy's dark and gritty underside, a place marked by unceasing, often random, motion and by the steady closing in of horizons. At the same time, Price plumbs the remarkably parallel interior worlds of Rocco and Strike. Although neither the hard-drinking Rocco, with a wife and infant daughter, nor the solitary Strike, who downs bottle after bottle of vanilla Yoo-Hoo to soothe his stomach pain, has a drug habit, each is as addicted--Strike to power and status, Rocco to the unpredictability and risk of his job--as are the junkies both pursue. The vividly depicted Dempsy seems a Dantean hell, at once a place and a condition from which escape may be impossible. 100,000 first printing; first serial to Esquire; movie rights to Universal; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Price (The Breaks, 1982, etc.) has spent the past ten years writing for Hollywood (Sea of Love, etc.)--but you wouldn't know it from the dense textures and supple dramatics of this epic slice of urban grit about frazzled drug-dealers and burnt-out cops. Of the many impeccably authentic urban types here, Price focuses on two: 20-ish ``Strike'' Dunham, black chief of a crew of crack-dealers (``clockers'') in the dead-end burg of Dempsy, N.J., and 43-year-old white Dempsy homicide cop Rocco Klein. Each is suffering an identity crisis when a murder puts them on a collision course. Strike, in a constant panic from dealing with his homicidal boss, crack-kingpin Rodney Little, is considering changing jobs; Rocco, six months from retirement, is thinking that his life is a big zero--a nullity underlined by his humiliating antics to curry the favor of a film star who might portray him in a movie. Then someone guns down another of Little's henchmen, and--shocking both Strike and Rocco--Strike's solid-citizen older brother, Victor, confesses to the killing: ``self-defense,'' he claims. Not so, thinks Rocco, who decides that Victor is covering for Strike and starts harassing the young dealer by framing him as a stoolie- -certain death at Little's hands. Meanwhile, myriad subplots vivify Strike's and Rocco's worlds: Rocco initiates the film star into the horrors of jail-life; Strike apprentices a young boy into dealing; Rocco's baby girl disappears; Little's legendary hit man wastes away from AIDS; Strike nearly dies from a bleeding ulcer. Finally, Strike, with a vengeful Little literally steps behind, turns to Rocco for help--a move that allows both to find a kind of hope and renewal. A vital and bold novel rich in unexpected pleasure, with Price generally avoiding melodrama, sentimentality, and stereotype to portray a harsh world with cleareyed compassion. (Film rights sold- -for a highly touted $1.9 million, including Price's screenplay.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
The plot of Clockers is vaguely a detective story as an aging and depressed homicide officer, Rosso, hunts the murderer of a drug dealer, being convinced from the start that the self-declared murderer Victor did not do it. In parallel, and somewhat more closely, the book follows the miserable plight and thoughts and desires of Victor’s brother, Strike, who is head of a local crack dealing network, under the domination of the charismatic and berserk Rodney Little… But the resolution of the crime matters very little, much less than the exposure of the deadly economics of the drug traffic in inner cities (years before Freakonomics!), of the constant fight of single mothers to bring food and structure to their dysfunctional families, to the widespread recourse to moonlighting, and above all to the almost physical impossibility to escape one’s environment (even for smart and decent kids like Victor and, paradoxically enough, the drug-dealing Strike) by lack of prospect and exposure to anything or anywhere else, as well as social pressure, early pregnancies and gang-related micro-partitioning of cities.
When I mentioned Clockers to a close friend, he told me that he also liked it very much but that the characters were not quite “real”. I somewhat agree in that, while the economics, the sociology and the practice of drug-dealing sound very accurately reproduced (for all I know!), the characters are more caricaturesque or picturesque than natural. The stomach disease of Strike sounds too much like an allegory of both his schizophrenic split between running the drug trade and looking for a definitive quit, while the sacrifice of his brother makes little sense, except as a form either of suicide or of escape from an environment he can no longer stand. What is most surprising is that Richard Price (just like Michael Crichton) is a practised screenwriter (who collaborated to Spike Lee’s 1995 Clockers). So he knows how to run an efficient story with convincing characters and plot(s). Hence my little theory of a picaresque novel…
The realism depicted on the pages also cannot go without mentioning first. Most people regard the inner-city as a simple and vague concept of poverty and crime. After reading this book, you cannot walk away without having a much deeper understanding of the systemic and cyclical tragedy that engulfs the ghettos of America. From the overall story-line to the inner dialog, it is hauntingly realistic.
The two main characters that the book follows (Strike and Rocco) are incredibly well developed. It may be a cliche thing to say but I felt like I knew them both after just a few chapters. Price has a remarkable ability to suck the reader in, making you sympathetic to both characters for completely different, yet validating reasons.