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Samaritan | [Richard Price]

Samaritan

After a lucrative television writing career comes to an abrupt end, Ray Mitchell returns to the New Jersey city of his birth to rethink his life, reconnect with his daughter, and to spread the wealth on the housing project that reared him. Then, disaster: he is found beaten nearly to death in his own apartment. He knows who did it, but he's not talking. It is up to Detective Nerese Ammons - a childhood acquaintance from the projects - to discover who perpetrated this brutal assault.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

Samaritan is an electrifying story of crime and punishment - a novel of literary suspense that explores what happens when too little is given, too little is understood and the results threaten to prove both tragic and deadly.

Listen to Terry Gross's Fresh Air interview with Richard Price.

©2003 Richard Price; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The crime-solving framework pulls us forward but is unencumbered by the pedantic detail of a police procedural, and the depth of the characterizations is magnificent: Ray, Nerese, and the considerable supporting cast are fully imagined beings who surprise us but never test our credulity." (Booklist, Starred Review)
"Price yields up not just the familiar, blanched moonscape of urban blight but the inner lives and jack-hammering hearts of those who pace and patrol it." (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

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3.3 (25 )
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  •  
    Diana Denton, TX, USA 07-07-03
    Diana Denton, TX, USA 07-07-03 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
    ratings
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    164
    17
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    3
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    Overall
    "More than a crime story"

    There are many kinds of addictions. While Ray has experienced a drug addiction in the past, his current addiction is helping others. Like most addicts, Ray either doesn't think about the consequences of his actions or doesn't care. This is a surprising mystery with a message for all of us in its answer. It explores not only the mystery of the crime that has been committed but as we watch Ray make one bad choice after another, we also explore the mystery of the human psyche and why we do the things we do.

    While the message behind the story is quite memorable, and the author's playing out of the story is interesting, I didn't get a real feel for any of the characters -- particularly Danielle. I didn't develop a sense of who she was and could not even form a mental picture of her. Also, his relationship with her was ambiguous and seemed unbelievable to me.

    Overall, however, I felt this was a thought-provoking book and well worth the listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Tallahassee, FL, USA 01-08-04
    Steven Tallahassee, FL, USA 01-08-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
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    16
    6
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    1
    0
    Overall
    "Good read with a twist"

    The way the story was laid out keept me interested to the end. The ending was revealed in the beginning and I had to keep listening to find out how he got into that situation in the first place. I was very surprised to find out what really happened.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Newport Beach, CA, USA 10-20-04
    Michelle Newport Beach, CA, USA 10-20-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    5
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    Overall
    "Hmmmm"

    Great "who dun it" book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Gaithersburg, MD, USA 10-07-04
    Michael Gaithersburg, MD, USA 10-07-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    2
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    "Excellent read"

    Enjoyed the author's refreshing style of character and scene portrayal. The reader's unhurried delivery lets everything sink in just right while moving story along and results in a realistic and thought provoking story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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