the guardian Fri 03 July 2009
Price's superb novel doesn't directly describe the shooting that ends Ike Marcus's life. He leaves it to passers-by, detectives and reporters to reconstruct an incident that might have barely raised New York's eyebrows if it had happened to a bad kid in a bad part of town. But Ike is a promising young man and the Lower East Side is defined by bars that serve potato vodka with liquefied ginger and warehouse restaurants where every waiter is a wannabe actor and the queues stretch round the block. So detective Matty Clark fires questions at witness Eric Cash, bar manager and frustrated screenwriter, plotting inconsistencies and feeling his way around the truth. The investigation goes nowhere fast, but Price's interrogation scenes are masterful. He slips in fine set-pieces and plot strands: a horribly upbeat funeral, a kerb-crawling "Quality of life" police unit trawling for guns. This is a misshapen melting pot, fuelled by dreams that will never be realised, and Price renders it quite brilliantly, his sharp dialogue cloaking potent anguish.