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Clockers - Richard Price

A drug dealer is gunned down in a diner and the brother of another drug dealer is the prime suspect. Did he do it? That's what Rocco Klein wants to find out. But can he get the suspect's brother, a crack dealer named Strike, to cooperate?

This is the fourteenth book in my Kindle Unlimited Experiment. For the 30 day trial, I'm only reading books that are part of the program and keeping track what the total cost of the books would have been.

Like most people who have read this in recent years, I loved HBO's The Wire and Price was one of the writers. This feels like the novelization of four Wire episodes in the best way possible.

Clockers is a crime book but it's also a window into the lives of cops and the crack dealers they're trying to catch. Much like The Wire, Clockers shows that both sides of the conflict are fairly ordinary human beings, not knights in shining armor or scene-chewing villains.

Strike and Rocco, the two leads, are both well-drawn, conflicted characters. Neither is particularly happy with his lot in life. Rocco sees an actor as his way out of the cop's life and Strike just wants to make enough money to get out.

The mystery is actually secondary. The real focus is on the lives of Rocco, Strike, and the rest. The crack business is a lot more complicated than I thought and now I'm even more keenly aware of why so many cops wind up divorced, alcoholic, and/or eating their guns.

The writing is a notch above most crime books, akin to Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos. I thought the plot meandered a bit but not as much as in the last Price book I read, Lush Life. The city of Dempsey is almost a character.

Four out of five stars. Maybe it's time I rewatch the entire run of The Wire.

Current Kindle Unlimited Savings Total: $77.48.