- Publisher: Macmillan USA (February 17, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 162779445X
- ISBN-13: 978-1627794459
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 663 customer reviews
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The Whites Paperback – February 17, 2015
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Billy Graves is the only member of his team of five who has remained on the force. But he stays in contact with the others and regularly meets with them to keep tabs - and to discuss their Whites. And then, one of the Whites is killed.....But it's not all about the Whites. We also get to know Billy's family, his nurse wife, the two school age boys, his dad, a former cop, now drifting in and out of dementia episodes. The descriptions of their daily struggles to make ends meet and keep a family together, and safe, is as fascinating as the tales of Billy's crime scenes on the midnight shift. Then there's the guy who accosts one of the boys after school, giving him a friendly pat on the back, but leaving a very red hand print on the back of the jacket, a message for Mom and Dad.
The plot and characters are excellent, the story is well paced. And the prose....Let me give you just one example - let me set the scene. Billy is talking to Yasmeen, one of his former cops, when she gets a call from her young daughter, crying about a little boy who is always pinching her. Yasmeen tells her daughter to put the offender, Jacob, on the phone right now: "Is this Jacob? This is Simone's mommy. Listen to me, you know that monster that lives under your bed? Your parents tell you he's not real, but they're lying to you. Not only is he real but he's a friend of mine, and if you lay one more hand on my daughter I will make sure he comes out from under there when you're asleep tonight and sucks your eyeballs right out of your head, you hear me? Yes? Good. Now give the phone back to Simone....Stop crying and give the phone back to Simone."
I am now a big Richard Price fan. Think I'll read "Clockers" next. Or maybe "Freedomland", or.......
This novel is very well done. It is structurally sound. It carefully builds tension. It keeps you guessing -- about a lot of things -- and gives you the satisfaction of watching the narrative pieces click into place at the appropriate time.
Many of the reviews remark on the confusion created by the number of characters. That is a valid comment, and I did experience that sense of character overload at about page 50. I had to scroll back through what I had read. Once I did that, however, I never had to do it again. What makes the characters somewhat confusing is that there are two groups of characters: 1) the "night shift" cops that Billy, the main narrator, works with at the time the story is being told, and 2) the cops Billy used to work with in the 70s, known as the "Wild Geese." It is not a spoiler to point out that the two worlds ultimately converge, as they should.
A further potential source of confusion is the second narrator, Milton Ramos. Chapters narrated by Ramos are always titled "Milton Ramos," so the author is merciful in that regard. From my recollection (it's been a couple of months), the first Ramos chapter pops up at about page 50, which gives the reader the sense of, "Whoa, I'm just starting to sort out the rest of the characters, and now this?". But, again, the saving grace is the structural soundness of the novel, and the Milton Ramos element will integrate into the narrative with the satisfying 'click' that is the reward for a patient and diligent reader.
So why only three stars? There are too many great books. This is a very good one of its kind.
a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected.
Coincidence, I've had a few, but too few to mention. I rarely believe in them, and when one is mentioned I look for causation. 'The Whites" seems full of coincidences. Richard Price has written another novel that will stay with you for awhile.
Billy Graves, is one of those detectives you would want if you needed one. He has seen it all, probably done it all, and would be on your side as long as you weren't on the wrong side of the law. He is 20 years in his job, working the midnight shift because of a shooting that involved a child. He does his job, is more than fair with his colleagues and remembers old friends. He has a wife, Carmen, he met her in the ED of the hospital most of his perps went to. Many cops marry nurses, they see each other in the hospital over and over again, so that is their meeting ground. They have two sons, and Billy's father lives with them. Nice life.
Billy meets up with his old colleagues from 20 years ago. They often get together for lunch, drink, eat and talk about old times. Old times often involves 'The Whites', the criminal who got away. They all have one, can't forget them, and keep tabs on where they are. These people are all Billy's friends, one of them was Billy's lover. She drinks too much, and is a mess. All but Billy have retired and gone on to bigger and better things. Billy is the narrator, and we follow him on his day to day life, at work, at home, dealing with his kids and his dad, a nice life.
Billy heard about one of his 'whites' and visits him in the hospital, they have words. Billy thinks he screwed it up, and he will never get the man. Then, he hears about two of the group's, 'whites' turning up dead. Not unusual, time has gone on. And, someone has started to follow Billy's family, not good, worrisome. Billy starts to have doubts, something is going on, something is not right. Puts a damper on his nice life.
This is a superbly written novel, you can usually trust Richard Price to bring us the best. It is slow going at times, but this is how life flows, little by little things build. Pay close attention to the details. Many characters run in and out, but the ones that matter, stay with us. With your heart in your throat, the finale will bring the relief. As Carmen says, Keep Calm, Carry On.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 02-20-15