Freedomland by Richard Price

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In 1998, Richard Price returned to the gritty urban landscape of his national bestseller Clockers to produce Freedomland, a searing and unforgettable novel about a hijacked car, a missing child, and an embattled neighborhood polarized by racism, distrust, and accusation.  Freedomland hit bestseller lists from coast to coast, including those of the Boston Globe, USA Today and Los Angeles Times; garnered universally rave reviews; and was selected as the Grand Prize Winner of the Imus American Book Award and as a New York Times Notable Book.  On May 11, this highly lauded bestseller is available in paperback for the first time.

A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night.

So begins Richard Price's electrifying new novel, a tale set on the same turf--Dempsey, New Jersey--as Clockers. Assigned to investigate the case of Brenda Martin's missing child is detective Lorenzo Council, a local son of the very housing project targeted as the scene of the crime. Under a white-hot media glare, Lorenzo launches an all-out search for the abducted boy, even as he quietly explores a different possibility: Does Brenda Martin know a lot more about her son's disappearance than she's admitting?

Right behind Lorenzo is Jesse Haus, an ambitious young reporter from the city's evening paper. Almost immediately, Jesse suspects Brenda of hiding something. Relentlessly, she works her way into the distraught mother's fragile world, befriending her even as she looks for the chance to break the biggest story of her career.

As the search for the alleged carjacker intensifies, so does the simmering racial tension between Dempsey and its mostly white neighbor, Gannon. And when the Gannon police arrest a black man from Dempsey and declare him a suspect, the animosity between the two cities threatens to boil over into violence. With the media swarming and the mood turning increasingly ugly, Lorenzo must take desperate measures to get to the bottom of Brenda Martin's story.

At once a suspenseful mystery and a brilliant portrait of two cities locked in a death-grip of explosive rage, Freedomland reveals the heart of the urban American experience--dislocated, furious, yearning--as never before. Richard Price has created a vibrant, gut-wrenching masterpiece whose images will remain long after the final, devastating pages.

From the Paperback edition.

About Richard Price

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Richard Price is the author of seven novels, including Clockers, Freedomland, and Samaritan. He won a 2007 Edgar Award for his writing on the HBO series The Wire.
Published April 29, 2010 by Delta. 564 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Freedomland

Kirkus Reviews

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Price renders with great power his characters’ mingled emotions of loss, fear, fury, and regret, and his punchy, forthright style nicely accommodates inventive metaphors (at a crime scene, “the media settlement .

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Publishers Weekly

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Set in the same blasted New Jersey ghetto as his much-admired Clockers (1992), Price's first novel since that bestseller is less a sequel than a monumental complement played in minor key, a re-visitat

May 04 1998 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

Publishers Weekly

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Within its structural confines, the story line veers in unexpected directions, with each detour bringing readers closer to Price's ultimate vision--that our nation's hope lies not in social movements but in the flame of humaneness that flickers in each of us, cop and criminal, black and white.

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AV Club

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Moore's motherhood as both her salvation and the millstone around her neck—but little in the world that surrounds them.

Feb 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

AV Club

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With his urgent, incisive new novel Freedomland, Richard Price returns to the fictional urban everytown of Dempsy, New Jersey, the...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

Entertainment Weekly

By the late '80s, Richard Price's success as a Hollywood screenwriter ("The Color of Money," "Sea of Love") had virtually eclipsed his earlier reputation as a novelist -- but then, in 1992, came "Clockers," that grim, brutally authentic tale of crack-dealing, murder, and salvation-at-a-cost.

May 20 1998 | Read Full Review of Freedomland


The story could have been ripped from the pages of a big-city tabloid: A white woman is car jacked near an inner-city community by a black man, who is unaware that her 4-year-old son is asleep in the back seat.

Jun 08 1998 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

Monsters and Critics

Council arrives at the ER and sees Brenda's bloody handprint Council concocts a plan to find out the truth using Karen Collucci’s (Edie Falco) child search group and a search of Freedomland - being the foundling’s home that has been abandoned since the 1950s.

May 23 2006 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

Price pulls off a surprise ending anyway by leaving Susan Smith's story behind and concocting a fresh resolution, the suspense and racial tension mounting as Brenda unravels.

Aug 06 1998 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

Rolling Stone

In 1998, Richard Price (Clockers) wrote a novel about a New Jersey mother who inflames a racial riot by claiming a black man stole her car with her four-year-old son in the back seat.

Feb 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Freedomland

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