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The Mysteriously Disappearing Copies of Richard Price’s Latest Crime Mystery

We just got back from McNally Jackson Bookstore, where we’d run out to buy a copy of Richard Price’s Lush Life as a belated holiday gift for a friend — she really loves gritty crime dramas and Schiller’s Liquor Bar, which graces the book’s cover. They were sold out.

This is third time we’ve tried to find Lush Life (which came out in March of last year!) in New York, only to be told that there were no copies left in the store. At a Barnes & Noble on 5th we came close; a clerk comforted us with the information that someone else had snatched up the last copy only 15 minutes earlier.

The friendly guy behind the counter at McNally was just as perplexed as we were by the shortage, but told us to hold out and save ourselves a few bucks — a long-delayed paperback version will be hitting stores in early March.

While we were glad for the money-saving tip in these tough times, we can’t enjoy the thrill of a good deal until we get to the bottom of this: Why has Lush Life gained so much steam in recent months? Miramax bought the film rights back in April, so it can’t be excitement over an impending movie. A Google search for “Richard Price” dredged up no recent news or juicy gossip that could lead to higher sales. Yes, it’s his first book in five years, but that doesn’t explain why after seeing it sitting on the new fiction table for months, Price’s crime novel is suddenly nowhere to be found.

Can anyone explain this one to us? Are people in other cities experiencing the same draught? Does anyone have a gently-used copy they want to give us before tonight?

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