Richard Price Attempts a New Brand

9780805093995_a6d5dIf you’re going to use a pseudonym, why reveal it on the book’s cover? In an interview in today’s NYT, Richard Price explains why the cover of his new book The Whites (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio), coming on Tuesday, carries the awkward attribution, “Richard Price Writing as Harry Brandt.”

He set out to write in a different style, a “stripped-down, heavily plotted best seller.” The only problem was that he couldn’t pull it off and ended up writing a Richard Price novel. Bowing to his publisher and editor who convinced him that if he didn’t make the pseudonym transparent, he would commit “commercial suicide,” he wound up with the two names on the cover. He says it “seemed like a good idea in the beginning, and now I wish I hadn’t done it,”

In an advance review, also in today’s NYT,  Michiko Kakutani says it has all the hallmarks of a Richard Price novel, “an ear for street language … kinetic energy … hard-boiled verve … [characters] who become as vivid to us as real-life relatives or friends.”

The title refers to the white whale that haunts Ahab in Moby Dick. Similarly, the cops and former cops in Price’s novel are all haunted by previous cases. Kakutani praises it  as ” a gripping police procedural and an affecting study in character and fate.

Prepub trade reviews are also strong. In a starred review, Booklist calls it ” a strong contender for best crime novel of 2015.”

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