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Samaritan  By  cover art

Samaritan

By: Richard Price
Narrated by: Richard Allen
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Publisher's Summary

Ray Mitchell, a former TV writer who has left Hollywood under a cloud, returns to urban Dempsy, New Jersey, hoping to make a difference in the lives of his struggling neighbors. Instead, his very public and emotionally suspect generosity gets him beaten nearly to death. 

Ray refuses to name his assailant, which makes him intensely interesting to Detective Nerese Ammons, a friend from childhood, who now sets out to unlock the secret of his reticence. 

Set against the intensely realized backdrop of urban America, the cat and mouse game that unfolds is both morally complex and utterly gripping. 

©2003 Richard Price (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Masterful detail, vivid scene-setting, and acutely observed, naturalistic dialogue." (Booklist)

“A whodunit with substance and suspense...Price is known for terrific dialogue, and there are moments when you feel as if you are listening to [his characters] speak, not just reading words on a page...It’s the most interesting kind of mystery - one in which the villain is not so easy to spot even when we know who committed the crime.” (Anne Stephenson, USA Today)

“Engaging...provocative...Price has a fine ear for the subtle tension between sentimentality and real devotion, and he understands the way that chronic black poverty plays into the needs of ‘the selflessly selfish.’ If this is a novel that raps the knuckles of a helping hand, it’s nonetheless one to grab on to.” (Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor)  

What listeners say about Samaritan

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

another fix for Wire fans

As noted in a review for Lush Life, Wire fans will recognize themes and richly drawn, nuanced characters (even names are recycled - Omar, Butchie) from the two novels available on audible.com. Both are narrated beautifully, and I thought Samaritan was even better than Lush Life.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book-Terrible Narration

Price is a great writer who has an uncanny ear for the dialect and expressions of the places he writes about (where I grew up). Unfortunately, someone hired the wrong guy to do the narration. It is hard to listen to someone with a courtly Southern sounding accent who barely even tries to capture the essence of the New Jersey characters who populate this book. Bobby Canavale, who narrated Price's Lush Life, would have been a much better choice. Allen just does not do justice to the voices of the characters who live in the gritty towns across the Hudson from New York. A good story that could have made great listening with the right reader.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious, overly long, poorly developed characters

Having really enjoyed Lush Life I tried out this book but was disappointed. Among other flaws was too much pop psychology, and that the book seemed to be about 3 hours too long. Also, I don't think the author adequately explored the white-black dimensions he set up with his plot. After all, the protoganist was a white Jewish guy who returns to the overwhelmingly minority housing project where he grew up in the '60s. Yet, nothing much is done with an obvious racial conflict. The protaganist was just one of the boys. As an adult, he's just a middle class guy who is spending time with characters from his childhood (or their children). In general, all the characters seem very poorly developed. The narrator was very good in eliciting voices and dialects from all the non-white characters; his voicing of the white protaganist was terrible and greatly detracted from the listening experience.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling & honest

Every character is nuanced to contrast the stereotypes. His dialogues are uncanny, direct and intrinsic towards character development. This is a snapshot of life in emotional confusion and realism. Though the narration isn't quite as great as in "Lush Life" the story is still worth the listen.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Complexities

While trying to "help" is Ray really just a narcissist? Is he looking to "feel good" at the expense of others, even his own daughter? What lengths will a person go to trying to prove to at least themselves their honest intentions?

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Time consuming, slow development, loses some focus

I did not enjoy this book because it was slow moving, drawn out way too long, and it was difficult to distinguish the voices of the characters. After a while, the plot was lost as the author tried too hard to demonstrate the psychological aspect of the main character. I found myself shutting off the book many times, and eventually, I finished the book and felt disappointed. I would not recommend this credit.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

weak storyline, slow moving

I almost gave up on it but the author is talented and managed to hook me. hopefully he learns how to write a more captivating plot.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it.

a beautiful, interconnected novel about doing the right thing. performance was fine after I got used to the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Oral Tradition

Price is a great spinner of urban yarns, and this is a captivating rendition of authentic sounding characters as they bang into one another, tragically, yes, but with poignancy, beauty, and wit. Price's images are a joy to hear but effortless enough to lift the story, not drag it down with too much poetry. Price's mastery of POV packs his tale with both insight and surprise.