Picks and Pans Review: Freedomland

updated 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Richard Price

Book of the week

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. Or was the boy indeed abducted? What ensues is a searing tale of a ferocious police manhunt that exposes this fictional northeast city's racial tensions and puts its housing projects under military occupation. Freedomland, the sixth novel by acclaimed author (Clockers) and screenwriter (The Color of Money) Richard Price, teems with such dead-on detail and briny authenticity that its language must have been inspired by stairwell eavesdropping. The story's reluctant hero, Det. Lorenzo Council, frantically searches for the boy while keeping a hungry press at bay, a frustrated police effort from exploding and an enigmatic mother at arm's length. It's a tour de force of character and plot. (Broadway, $25)

Bottom Line: Convincing thriller that addresses complicated truths

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