If you’re anything like me you will know that buzz you get from discovering a new book, band or music. This happened to me with Clockers. It doesn’t matter when a book was published. For someone, like me, it will always be new. I love urban crime fiction that gets to the heart of a community in the way Clockers does. It’s a large book weighing in at 599 pages. I bought a hardback copy second hand after watching, The Wire, and listening to the audiobook of the series creation where Richard Price’s book was mentioned.
I was a latecomer to the series, The Wire, but thoroughly enjoyed the realism it conveyed. This was in part down to David Simons who’d spent some years following Baltimore homicide before he wrote his book Homicide Wire in the Blood then the TV series, The Wire. So, what is it about Richard Price’s Clockers that’s so compelling?
The setting and dialogue is straight from the street and the mouths of those who live and work in a city just outside Manhattan. It focuses on a Clocker (drug dealer) called Strike and a homicide detective called Rocco Klein. It examines what happens when their lives collide as a result of a murder. I won’t go into the description as you can look that up. I will provide an image of the back cover.
I spent a period of time working covertly with the shooting investigation teams on Operation Trident in London. Spending time on the streets observing what was happening at this level. Direct data. No statistics from a screen or outdated intelligence.
For me, a great crime novel shouldn’t be about procedure and the OMG twist. It should educate; show the brutal realities of crime and its impact. How the ripple effect of a crime echoes out through the victims, detectives, offenders and wider community. A great crime novel explores heartache, pain, suffering and redemption. That’s exactly what Clockers does and does so well.
There are very few books that have left me feeling as though I was there on the characters’ journey and glad we’d travelled along the same path for the time we’d spent together. Fight Club, The Road and Epiphany Jones were the last three for me and I can now add Clockers to that list.
If you love fiction with realism, depth and humanity then read this book. Link is below.
As a way of a disclaimer I don’t know the author or have any affiliation with the publisher. I will always rave about great works of fiction though.