"Heart-pumping…electrifying…In his compelling picture of another world, Dickey believably shows how even in the underbelly of society, loyalty, respect, and love have their place. Gritty...a smartly-paced novel." Publishers Weekly
Dante Brown feels as if he's teetering at the edge of an inferno. After a prison stretch as a minor, he has pieced his life back together, gaining a respectable job as a computer technician, buying a car, and finding a decent apartment. But when the tech recession hits the fan, Dante is one of its early casualties. Now he's staring at an eviction notice, up to his eyeballs in debt, and the woman he's sweet on thinks that he's a loser. Then, after an old bad-news buddy steps back into the picture, Dante begins to think that just one more walk down Shady Lane might straighten things out. A street-smart L.A. novel.
Set in Los Angeles, Dickey's predictable novel depicts a world of crime, violence and complicated allegiances and rivalries. The protagonist is Dante, a young, bright con artist with a heart of gold trying to navigate in a landscape that both attracts and disgusts him. Dante and his friends vacillate between their desire to lead honest lives and their desperation to make ends meet. Much of the text is cliché-ridden, and there are lengthy sex scenes that read like something from a B-movie script. The book is somewhat redeemed by its eccentric characters, from an ancient, ornery pool hall owner to a stuttering Ecuadoran thug, who add humor to the story.
Claudia La Rocco
California-based Dickey (Between Lovers) exposes L.A.'s gritty underworld in this smartly paced novel that is part love story, part coming-of-age tale. Dante, a troubled young man who as a teenager nearly killed his abusive father, finds himself drifting into a life of crime when he can no longer make ends meet. Dickey, a talented writer with a good ear for dialogue and a street-smart sense of character, knows how to portray the kind of desperation that makes people get into trouble under the guise of making a quick dollar. When Dante and his buddy, Jackson"who suffers even more drastic financial woes"hook up with a master con artist, they enter a roller-coaster world where the combination of fast money and major scams results in explosive, life-threatening situations. The author ably contrasts spiffy behind-the-scenes crime-world ventures with heart-pumping sensuality when Dante has some tantalizing encounters with Pam, one of the myriad waitresses in L.A. hoping to make it in the acting business. Dante lures Pam into the con game when he learns she needs cash, and the two of them are an electrifying couple both in and out of the bedroom. Unfortunately, the author opts for a quick fix epilogue by plunking Dante into an entirely different world at the end of the book without showing how this streetwise man of 25 makes the transition to academia. Still, in his compelling picture of another world, Dickey believably shows how even in the underbelly of society, loyalty, respect and love have their place. (May) Forecast: Dickey has many imitators, but there's a reason none of them has yet caught up to him in sales. Chances are good that he'll hit bestseller lists again with this nicely priced seventh novel. 15-city author tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Bill Andrew Quinn's performance complements the crisp dialog and lively pace of Dickey's latest L.A. story. Having served time in juvenile hall for nearly killing his abusive father, 25-year-old Dante is no stranger to crime. When he is downsized from a dot-com, he again turns to grifting, hooking up with Scamz, a charming and very successful hustler who also serves as a father figure to Dante. Scamz and Dante are joined by Dante's girlfriend, Pam, a waitress and aspiring actress, and his friend Jackson, another dot-com victim who is faced with the additional challenge of paying down a mountain of child support debt. Although the money is easy at first, a violent confrontation over a deal gone bad has Dante questioning his decision to live the crooked life. This part coming-of-age, part crime novel is a refreshingly different offering from Dickey, although his many fans expecting a steamy contemporary romance (e.g., Between Lovers) will not be disappointed. Recommended for all popular collections.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Out-of-work actors, small-time crooks, and desperate men are on the grift in this mediocre new outing from the prolific (and usually better) African-American Dickey. In a prologue we see 15-year-old Dante trying to protect his mother from his abusive father and ending up in a juvenile facility. Now, ten years later and finally living the straight life in Los Angeles, Dante finds himself a victim of post-September 11 aerospace layoffs. While joblessness may be a problem, it hardly compares to the predicament of getting Pam, an older waitress whose table he's been frequenting, to notice him. As a favor to his old mentor Jackson (who, erroneously being sued for child support, needs some quick cash), Dante agrees to work a cold job (an easy con) for grifter kingpin Scamz. He finally gets Pam's attention by offering her a quick thousand (a struggling actor, she's saving up for plastic surgery) for her help in the real estate swindle Scamz has lined up. Spanning three days, the story travels up and down LA, from the barrio to Scamz's mansion, from deals gone bad to the steamy night Dante spends with Pam. Character his strong suit, Dickey unfolds a tableau of hungry people willing to compromise for a chance to get out of the hole life has put them in. But, still, with a long tradition of great hard-boiled LA novels to live up to, this one hits off-center: not quite dangerous or stylish enough for the villainy, not quite complex enough to stand as a character study. At the close, beaten and on the run, Dante has some tough decisions to make about Scamz, who took him under his wing long ago; Jackson, the best friend who double-crosses him; and beautiful Pam, older but certainly not wiser.Hard-core Dickey fans will be entertained by this sexy, fast-paced romp. Others should check out his earlier work.