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The Whites (2015)

by Richard Price

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6395527,978 (3.63)47
"Back in the bad old days, when Billy Graves worked for an anti-crime unit in Harlem known as the Wild Geese, the NYPD branded him as a cowboy. Now forty, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch. Mostly, his team of detectives conducts a series of holding actions--and after years in police purgatory, Billy is content simply to do his job. But soon after he gets a 3:00 a.m. call about the fatal knifing of a drunk in a Third Avenue pub, his investigation moves beyond the usual handoff to the day shift. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 13-year-old girl, he finds himself drawn back to the late 1990s when the Wild Geese were at their most wayward. Before the case can be closed, it will severely test Billy's new sense of purpose and force him to accept that his troubled past isn't past at all. Richard Price, one of America's most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction"--… (more)
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English (55)  Piratical (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Not all books make good audio books, and “The Whites” is one example of that. To me, books with multiple characters or similarly sounding names are harder to follow when you’ve only got audio input. I found myself confused at times while listening to “The Whites”, trying to remember which of the multiple characters was which, whether the new character would be an important one or was simply a fill-in character who I could quickly forget.

That said, to me the book seemed to be rambling and to contain stories with a story, more distracting to the central theme than adding to it. The basic story line involves a NYPD detective, Billy Graves, who over time suspects that members of his old police squad may have been involved in the deaths of former suspects in previous crimes. Each of those who were killed had been prime suspects in previous unsolved crimes. Also, each had been investigated by members of Graves’ former squad.

In addition, as a sub-plot, members of Billy Graves family are being threatened by an unknown person. It all comes together in the end, but the journey to get there became a struggle for me.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I became a fan of Price's crime novels after enjoying his writing for The Wire, and he hasn't truly let me down since. Clockers remains Price's masterpiece for many reasons, and I feel that he's never surpassed its psychological detail and sense of overwhelming pressure. The Whites (as in unjailed "white whale" perpetrators that have escaped justice but not the obsessed attention of the protagonists, not persons of Caucasian ancestry) sacrificed a bit too much of that depth of characterization in favor of an atmosphere of relentless motion (rarely have I read such a rapidly-paced novel, where each character has a decision to make or obstacle to confront on seemingly every page), and a much larger cast, to the point where you almost need a memory for names/faces as acute as those of the detectives in order to keep track of everyone. You can still expect the sharp dialogue and vivid world-building that's his trademark, but I felt that the revenge plot that's slowly revealed about a third of the way in relied too much on coincidence, side-plots, and an almost cartoonish motivation on the part of the villain. Enjoyable and even gripping on a page-by-page level but oddly unsatisfying at the end, even if no Price novel is truly unmissable for fans. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Missing that certain something that a Price novel usually has (is that the Harry Brandt thing?) but even Price on an off day is miles ahead of everyone else. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Good old-fashioned, clichéd, razor-sharp crime novel. 100 mph pacing, no redundant descriptions, just enough to paint the picture but not to break the flow. Most natural dialogue I've seen in a while where exchanges don't always follow one another like when reading from a script but interrupt, contradict, omit and pre-empt like in real life. Plot is nothing you've not read before but there are enough twists to keep it fresh. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
This was a really great read. I actually listened to it and it was mesmerizing. The writing was so good it was nearly distracting. I may well listen to it again and that's something I rarely - well, never - do. The Whites are white whale cases. The cases that get under a cops skin, the ones that remain open and unsolved even though the cops know exactly who did it. This story is not about hero cops but about real cops and it's just really good on all levels. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Despite its occasional lumps, this novel is, at once, a gripping police procedural and an affecting study in character and fate.
 
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As Billy Graves drove down Second Avenue to work, the crowds worried him: a quarter past one in the morning and There were still,far more people piling into the bars than leaving them, everyone coming and going having to muscle their way through the swaying clumps of half-hammered smokers standing directly outside the entrances.
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"Back in the bad old days, when Billy Graves worked for an anti-crime unit in Harlem known as the Wild Geese, the NYPD branded him as a cowboy. Now forty, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch. Mostly, his team of detectives conducts a series of holding actions--and after years in police purgatory, Billy is content simply to do his job. But soon after he gets a 3:00 a.m. call about the fatal knifing of a drunk in a Third Avenue pub, his investigation moves beyond the usual handoff to the day shift. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 13-year-old girl, he finds himself drawn back to the late 1990s when the Wild Geese were at their most wayward. Before the case can be closed, it will severely test Billy's new sense of purpose and force him to accept that his troubled past isn't past at all. Richard Price, one of America's most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction"--

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Haiku summary
Chacun a son White
Faut tuer celui de l'autre
Tout reprend sa place

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