Brenda Martin, a small white woman, bruised, shock-strained, tells police that she was carjacked near the projects by a black man then adds that her four-year-old boy was asleep in the back seat. Visions of Susan Smith come to mind, but the complex story that unfolds in Freedomland (6 hours) is a far, fascinating cry from Smith's sad circumstances. Author Richard Price sets his new novel in Dempsey, New Jersey, the town he so powerfully evoked in Clockers. As media madness pushes race relations from tense to incendiary, two Dempsey natives, a dedicated black detective and a street-smart white reporter, try to get into Brenda's mind and soul and try to get at the truth. Price has written his most compelling novel yet, and Joe Morton's finely tuned performance intensifies its emotional intensity.

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