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Price, Richard

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ISBN 10: 0375411151 / ISBN 13: 9780375411151
Published by Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A., 2003
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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First edition, first printing. Flatsigned on title page. Unread and as new in like DJ. 377 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 5259

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Samaritan

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


After a lucrative television writing career comes to an abrupt end, ex–high school teacher Ray Mitchell returns to the New Jersey city of his birth—to rethink his life, reconnect with his teenage daughter and to spread the wealth on the housing project that reared him. He begins teaching again, embarks on an affair with a married woman from the old neighborhood and becomes a mentor to a former student recently released from jail.

Then, disaster: he is found beaten nearly to death in his own apartment. He knows who did it, but he’s not talking, and he refuses to press charges.

It is up to Detective Nerese Ammons—a childhood acquaintance from the projects—to get Ray to tell her what happened.

Alternating between investigations of the people in Ray’s life most likely to do him harm and listening to his fevered ramblings about their shared past as he slips in and out of consciousness, Nerese is charged not only with uncovering the perpetrator of this assault but with understanding what kind of victim is more afraid of
the truth than of his potential murderer.

The Washington Post Book World has hailed Richard Price as having “the best equipment a novelist can have—that combination of muscularity, insight and compassion we might call heart.” Samaritan is an electrifying story of crime and punishment, of character and place, of children and their keepers—a novel of literary suspense that explores what happens when, caught up in the drama of one’s own generosity, too little is given, too little is understood and the results threaten to prove both tragic and deadly.


Like his previous novels Freedomland and Clockers, Richard Price's Samaritan is a crime drama set in the explosive slums of fictional Dempsy, New Jersey. Ray Mitchell, a former TV writer, has returned to his hometown to reunite with his estranged teenage daughter, Ruby. Eager to contribute to his beleaguered community, Ray begins volunteering as a writing teacher at a local high school. When a brutal assault leaves him hospitalized, Nerese Ammons, a nearly retired detective and lost childhood friend of Ray's, investigates. She discovers, however, that while Ray can identify his attacker, he is unwilling to disclose their identity. Anxious to end her career with fireworks, Nerese continues digging, only to find that Ray made several generous donations to poor acquaintances and recently began a romantic relationship with the wife of an established criminal. While the case looks closed, Nerese continues to find evidence of Ray's troubled past and shortsighted altruism, increasing the number of possible assailants and suggesting Ray's complicity in the crime.

Price's narrative, which alternates between Ray's story and Nerese's ongoing investigation, gains momentum as the mystery nears resolution. Samaritan falters, though, in its awkward attempts at timeliness and, more acutely, its underdevelopment. The selfish, people-pleasing Ray is a multifaceted character, but he fails to inspire sympathy, while the savvy Nerese never escapes two-dimensional limbo. Price brings the streets of Dempsy to life, however, with informed, realistic descriptions and inner-city survivors like junkie-turned-independent-social-worker White Tom Potenza, who still "couldn't pass a pay phone without flicking the coin return, still stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of salvageable debris." While the plot will keep readers engaged, it's the world into which they're drawn that makes Samaritan a worthwhile visit. --Ross Doll

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