Lush Life

Lush Life

by Richard Price

Gail Reid: Richard Price's latest novel centers around a crime -- a mugging gone awry --that turns to murder. That said, the novel is so much more than the solving of a crime and a standard police procedural. Lush Life is a contemporary story and a gritty one about life in the present Lower East side. The gentrification of the neighborhood, the volatile ethnic mix, the infiltration of drugs, the upscale urban dwellers and the ever-present company of gangs make for a story that is rich in detail with spot-on dialog.

The police detective Matty Clark slogs through the leads, always up against the slowness of the bureaucracy. Billy Marcus, father of the murdered young man Ike, is a finely drawn character whose palpable grief jumps from the page. Eric Cash, the restaurant manager and would-be writer is first thought to be a suspect but then a witness. His portrayal as a frustrated young man with limited future options has many parallels to Tristan, the gang member who has even fewer options to rise above a life of crime.

There are numerous sub-plots that make this a lengthy novel. However, I think they add to the development of the characters, so that they are multi-dimensional and become the focus of the story instead of the plot. Lush Life is a page turner but its got some heft to it!
Rating: ****

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