Eric Jerome Dickey, Author . Dutton $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-94790-5

An ex-con tries to make good while an old flame tries to make trouble in this smart, gritty and gripping 10th novel by bestseller Dickey (Naughty or Nice , etc.). "[S]ix-two and dark as an open road," Driver spent two years in lockdown to spare his gay albino brother, Rufus; these days he's a chauffeur. Driver likes to hang with his boss, Wolf; they drink beer, have a laugh, do the crossword, shoot pool. It's all cool—as long as Wolf doesn't find out about Driver's affair with Lisa, Wolf's wife. Even worse, Lisa gave Driver 15 large to kill her husband. Driver couldn't do it, but he spent the money on his mother's funeral; Lisa will forgive the debt if Driver keeps "dicking her down." When he won't, she tries to run him down with her Hummer. Next trick? An ugly pair of thugs who stalk and threaten him. Meanwhile, Driver must drive a visiting celebrity author—notorious for inflammatory race-related statements and for wearing the silver briefcase containing his next million-dollar book handcuffed to his wrist—all over L.A. Steamy sex scenes alternate with mayhem and vandalism; the lively, truncated dialogue is filled with literary references, product placements and newsworthy names. Urban melodrama, gorgeous grifters, a tough but likable hero and sharp takes on racial politics add up to another winner. Agent, Sarah Camilli. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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