Early in the movie “The Blues Brothers,” Elwood tries to sell Jake on the duo’s new Bluesmobile, a used police car he picked up at auction to replace their old Cadillac. “It’s got a cop motor,” he explains. “Cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks.” This isn’t a bad way to describe what makes Richard Price’s new novel so extraordinary, either. “The Whites,” written under the pen name Harry Brandt, delivers a riveting crime tale thoroughly steeped in gritty cop irony, cop slang, cop attitudes and cop justice.
Whenever a Hollywood celebrity publishes a novel, listen closely: You’ll hear book critics everywhere sharpening their knives. (It’s a little louder when that celebrity is James Franco.) But David Duchovny, best known for his work on “The X-Files” and “Californication,” won’t suffer a hatchet job here. His zany, madcap first novel, “Holy Cow,” which follows the publication last year of “X-Files” co-star Gillian Anderson’s first novel, is a seriously entertaining fable that doesn’t take itself too seriously.