Authors in this month’s column have tons of cred. In fact, they’re almost known by single names like pop culture celebrities Rihanna, Diddy, or Nas. Here we have Nikki, HoneyB, and Eric whose books are always snatched up by loyal readers.
It’s so cool when spot-on descriptions shoot a visual image into readers’ imaginations and demand to be shared. Thus a few examples of tell-it-like-it-is found in this month’s titles.
He was wearing a purple suit with matching shoes and hat. He looked like a set of drapes from the 1970s.
She had a scowl on her face that had the power to make the devil pause.
It’s three a.m. and the only thing that’s open this time of night is a set of legs.
Difficult is showing up pregnant at your church and then trying to convince everyone that your middle name isn’t Jezebel.
Promiscuous women are hos. Promiscuous men are called playas.
With a name like Candi, she can’t help but be a prostitute.
PICK OF THE MONTH
Tucker, Pat & Earl Sewell. A Social Affair. Strebor: S. & S. (Zane Presents). 2013. 273p. ISBN 9781593094492. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781451686715. F
Two frustrated and lonely married people create alternative lives through the power of the Internet. Quinn hasn’t had a sale in months working at a Chicago used car dealership and hates his loud-mouth wife Tameecia, who wakes up in a foul mood because she can “and it doesn’t cost a damn thing.”Houston housewife Codi, saddled with her kid and countrified husband, decides there’s money to be made in the voyeur business and sets up a sexy webcam site. Creating a fake Facebook profile for a Dr. Julius Apollo Cole, Quinn hooks up with exotic Candi (aka Codi). Yet both become so immersed in their alternative lifestyles that they can’t stop lying in their real lives. What follows is a series of unfortunate, hilarious, and pathetic events, each more outlandish than the last.
VERDICT Tucker (Daddy’s Maybe) and Sewell (Cougars) have a great ear for trash talk and paint a realistic portrait of frustrated working poor. Soft-porn scenes spice up this story, which has a television-sit-com vibe, but when all the players finally meet face to face, the epic throwdown is priceless. Another Zane Presents offering that’s a solid addition to street lit collections.
Dickey, Eric Jerome. Decadence. Dutton. Apr. 2013. 470p. ISBN 9780525953838. $26.95. F
Four years after the events of Pleasure Nia Simone Bijou is determined to satisfy her high-octane sexuality. Sure, the best-selling writer has fond thoughts for her recent lovers Prada and Bret, but her smoldering inner cravings drive her to seek much more. “I wanted love and the beauty of sex. I demanded it sinful yet classy, loving but raunchy.” Message to Nia: Come on down to Club Decadence, a pleasure palace where group sex is expected and welcomed. Her ecstasy fulfillment gets complicated by ex-lover Chris who dumped Nia but now shows up at Decadence wanting to reconnect. Inside Decadence everyone is rich and gorgeous but the sex isn’t just hot, it’s hawt.
VERDICT Dickey’s writing can meander into clunky dialog and long-winded decryptions, but his legions of fans seem to forgive those drawbacks. It’s all about the sex. and Dickey certainly has a talent for creating ultra erotic sex scenes. Purchase multiples, Dickey’s widespread fans will place beaucoup reserves. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/12.]
HoneyB. The Rich Girls’ Club. Grand Central. Mar. 2013. 277p. ISBN 9780446584739 $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455510917. F
In HoneyB’s latest drama-soaked tale (after Married on Mondays) four friends get together to have fun, talk s*it about men, and discuss ways to make more money. Morgan Childs, Brooks Kennedy, Storm Dangerfield, and Hope Andrews are already worth millions, but Morgan hatches a scheme to gain control of the California governor’s mansion. Knowing all too well that “beauty is a woman’s trump card”, the girls plan to usher Brooks to be the first black female governor by concocting sex scandals that will eliminate the competition. Like a team of black widow spiders the four gorgeous woman target politicians with weakness for DD breasts and stiletto heels then devour them politically. Hidden cameras record the nasty romps as the Rich Girls sex up the fools. Destroying reputations can be more satisfying then sex, but will infidelity, betrayal, and jealousy be the Rich Girls’ own downfall?
VERDICT HoneyB, aka Mary B. Morrison, is the real deal. Female readers will rise up from chairs shouting “Hallelujah” when the silly men are, ahem, taken for a ride. Lots of sex, extravagant wealth, and sheisty backstabbing will have fans clamoring for more from HoneyB.
Turner, Nikki. Project Chick 2. What’s Done in the Dark. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781250001436. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250023414. F
Richmond, VA.’s steamy summer is the backdrop for Turner’s long awaited sequel to 2003’s Project Chick. Khalil, aka Lucky, Tressa Shawsdale’s lover and father of her twin boys has been dead for seven years. (A gruesome death scene that Poe would admire recaps his demise.) Now 13-year-old twins Ali and Hadji are learning the streets from Khalil’s running partner, Ace, and Indie, Tressa’s boyfriend. The twins are ice-cold emotionally, street-wise beyond their years, and seek an-eye-for-an-eye revenge for their biological father’s murder. Tressa wants a clean life for her boys and asks her boss, Mayor Eli Walters, to speak to the twins as a role model. Hmmm, this mayor may not be so honorable. The streets heat up with the summer temperatures as there’s no statute of limitations on revenge.
VERDICT Seasoned street-lit readers will snatch up this title as Project Chick was a pioneering work back in the day, and Turner’s name sparks instant recognition. The lengthy set-up for a third installment may frustrate readers, but there’s satisfying drama packed in the last 25 pages.
Warren, Tiffany L. Don’t Tell a Soul. Dafina: Kensington. 2013. 265p. ISBN 9780758280572. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 9780758280596. CF
The ladies of Sister to Sister ministry at Cleveland’s New Faith church deal with demons in their personal lives but still find time to pull outcasts into God’s embrace. Pam, Yvonne, and Taylor are narrators of alternating chapters about their personal dramas involving deadbeat fathers, possessive males, sons acting out at school, and home wreckers stealing their men. Still this is a tale of redemption personified by Eva, a porn star who wants out of the industry and turns to New Faith as a safe haven. The ministry steps up to help, but when Eva’s past life as X-Stacy in full color on DVD becomes known, the ladies question their beliefs. Will the Sisters realize their own scandalous pasts aren’t that different from Eva’s issues? When all else fails, one Sister preaches, “Ain’t nothing wrong with being greedy over God.”
VERDICT Warren’s (The Bishop’s Daughter) fast-paced story is all about the church. The novel’s hard edge is interrupted by several Bible quotes, but the Sisters can delightfully slide into trash talk and are not shy laying down snappy insults. The heavy theme of redemption and authentic characters battling unfortunate decisions will reward readers of African American inspirational tales.