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Freedomland by Richard Price
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Freedomland (1998)

by Richard Price

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I book that I found slow moving at first, but realized that it is just deep. A mystery wrapped up in a psychological thriller. A over seven hundred pages it's a marathon read, but feels more like a middle distance race, the pages fly by. ( )
  charlie68 | Aug 14, 2014 |
Freedomland is a "ripped from the headlines" story from 1998 obviously based on the Susan Smith story of 1994. Brenda Martin zombie walks to a hospital with bleeding hands and tells police she was carjacked in the projects by a black man and her son was in the car. It's obvious from the start that she's lying. But detective Lorenzo Counsel and reporter Jessie take turns babysitting her and keeping her from self-destructing while trying to get her to tell the truth.

I listened to the audio version, not realizing I had checked out the abridged version until part way through. But now that I know the book was over 700 pages, I'm glad I had the abridged version. I don't think I could have taken a lot more of Brenda's quiet suffering and non-cooperation.

I was really into the book at the beginning, but the characters seemed to become stereotypical partway into the book. I didn't like the cop out ending. I thought, "Are you serious?" I'm wondering if something was lost in the abridgment. ( )
1 vote bohemiangirl35 | Apr 10, 2011 |
We saw the trailer and the plot tease made me curious, then the reviews said the book was better. A police procedural, about the cop and reporter working a missing child case in which the mom accuses a black man of carjacking and throws the community into racial rioting. Pretty good, though too slow moving at times. ( )
1 vote piemouth | Mar 29, 2011 |
Dreadful. ( )
  alans | Jul 20, 2010 |
I don't own this book, but I feel a need to review it. Warning - I will spoil virtually everything, so don't read it if you acutally want to read the book. Price has a good premise, but he can't seem to actually deal with the effect of it. From reading the back of the book, almost everyone can see two obvious endings. But Price seems disturbed by both, so he opts out and gives us a third ending. And it's not that it's a third ending at all - it's that it takes away the whole premise of the book. This is cheating. The premise, at the time it was written, was obviously supposed to be inspired by the Susan Smith case. A woman claims she has been carjacked, and her son was in the back of the car. This had a new resonance to me at the time, because of all the missing persons cases that have turned out to not be real. Almost everyone who reads it will think that the woman, Brenda Martin, killed her son and is trying to hide it. Not really. He's dead, but it was an accident and she for some reason dumped the body. When it was first revealed that he had died of an overdose of Benadryl, I assumed later we would find another cause of death, or she would confess to poisoning him. I was wrong. It really was an accident. Of course, since it was indeed this, dumping the body makes no sense. It seems like Price couldn't make her a murderer, but he also couldn't actually make the boy have been abducted, so he came up with an ending that makes the whole book pointless. Some people have complained about the length of the book; I personally didn't mind this and until the revelation of the boy's death, I was actually enjoying the book. But it's that ending which keeps the book from being good and moves it into badness.
  sister_ray | Feb 9, 2007 |
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Epigraph
A broken and contrite heart,
O God, thou will not despise.
Psalms 51:17
Dedication
To Judy, Annie, and Gen
with all my love
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The Convoy brothers, hanging in the soupy stifle of the One Building breezeway, were probably the first to spot her, and the spectral sight seemed to have frozen them in postures of alert curiosity-Caprice, sprawled down low...
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038533513X, Paperback)

In Freedomland, Richard Price returns to the gritty terrain he first explored in Clockers. This time, the fictional (but all too convincing) urban eyesore of Dempsy, New Jersey, is convulsed by a high-profile carjacking. A single mom named Brenda Martin insists that a man stopped her car, yanked her from behind the wheel, and drove off with the vehicle--and her young son. Behind these horrific facts looms another: the victim is white and the perpetrator is black. Immediately the racial calculus of American life comes to bear on the crime, which becomes a focus for long-smoldering animosities. As a three-ring circus of media, cops, and gawkers converges on the crime scene, Dempsy and the adjoining white community of Gannon seem primed for an explosion. Price passes the narrative baton back and forth between Lorenzo Council, an ambitious black detective, and Jesse Haus, a no-less-ambitious reporter for the local paper. Lorenzo's street-smart, agitated voice is the more convincing of the two. Jesse, with her frantic compulsion to squeeze local color from the crisis, never quite attains three dimensions--although her outsider's relationship to her material suggests some faint, fascinating echo of the author's. In any case, Price allows the story to proceed at an irresistible slow burn. His ear for dialogue is as sharp as ever, and nobody casts a colder or more accurate eye on our fin-de-siècle urban existence.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Relates an emotionally charged story of a white woman who claims her son has been kidnapped and an African American detective who suspects her of infanticide.

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