Saturday, December 5, 2009

Urban Fiction - Feature Author December - Eric Jerome Dickey


Title: Cheaters
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Genre: Contemporary Urban Fiction

The Urban fiction Author for the month of December is Eric Jerome Dickey

Eric Jerome Dickey was born in Memphis, Tennessee and attended the University of Memphis (the former Memphis State), where he earned his degree in Computer System Technology. In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in engineering.

After landing a job in the aerospace industry as a software developer, Eric Jerome Dickey's artistic talents surfaced, inspiring him to become an actor and a stand-up comedian. Yet Eric quickly found out that writing was something he could do and do well. From creative writing classes to avidly consuming the works of his favorite authors, Eric Jerome Dickey began to shape a writing career of his own. Having written several scripts for his personal comedy act, he started writing poetry and short stories. The film work gave me insight into character development, the acting classes helped me understand motivation...All of it goes hand in hand, Eric explains. He joined the IBWA (International Black Writers and Artists), participated in their development workshops, and became a recipient of the IBWA SEED Scholarship to attend UCLA's Creative Writing classes. (Retrieved 11/22/2009, http://www.ericjeromedickey.com/)

I have been a long time fan of Dickey’s work. His books were very fast paced, with twisting plots that had you guessing to the end. I was disappointed recently when I tried to read the Gideon series. After that, his books became somewhat less enjoyable to read. He lost me, but I am still looking forward to his future works to see if he can once again claim me as a fan. I am highlighting some of his earlier works that got me hooked on his writing in the beginning. Read some of his earlier works and then compare them to his more recent works and see what you think. We would love to see how you liked or disliked the variance in the writing from the beginning works to the more recent works.

Review by Crystal Williams (BookPage Review)

Cheaters is a 368-page Jerry Springer moment. Both of Dickey's main characters, Chante and Stephan, are poster children for dysfunctional people. Stephan is a self-described player—although his game is a bit off. In fact, he gets caught at his own game and finds out what the wrath of a woman scorned can be. Chante, on the other hand, finds herself in between being dumped and being the "other" woman. Needless to say, these two misfits meet, feign disinterest, and fall rapidly into fledgling, drama-packed romance.
The secondary characters are particularly intriguing. Dawn is an unsupportive wife. Darnell is her misunderstood husband and a struggling writer. Tammy is a creative spirit who captures Darnell's imagination. What will happen? Will Darnell and Tammy cheat? Why? Why not? Readers will want to find out.

Dickey's best attribute is his ability to effortlessly capture the language of the Hip Hop generation. For example, after visiting a museum with Stephan, Chante says, "We checked out Rhapsodies in Black, a phat [superb] showcase of art from the Harlem Renaissance." It's this almost perfect intonation—in this case, the right balance between colloquial and proper speech—that makes Cheaters feel and sound real. Also, unlike many of his contemporaries, Dickey doesn't rely on cheap tricks like placing Chante in designer clothing to signal her social status. Instead, we get class-based tension between Chante and her friend Karen, which allows for a richer narrative.

While Dickey opens interesting doors, readers are not always pulled through them—a slight frustration. Issues such as class and cast are mentioned but not aptly dealt with. Still, Mr. Dickey didn't set out to formally address such serious issues. Instead, Cheaters reads like a beach book—it's fun, full of raunchy behavior and great one-liners.
One hopes real people don't behave so badly. But, this reviewer will admit, it's enjoyable to read about characters that do. Jerry Springer would gladly pay these characters to be on his show.

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