cover image The Business of Lovers

The Business of Lovers

Eric Jerome Dickey. Dutton, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4520-2

Dickey (Before We Were Wicked) continues his study of the lives of African-American Angelenos, this time in a cluttered but heartfelt erotic drama. At the center is Brick, who works as a driver for a friend who recently started doing sex work. Through her, he meets two other sex workers, and the four form a quick, close bond. Meanwhile, Brick’s older brother, Dwayne, a former child actor struggling to find adult success, is trying desperately to reconnect with his teenage son. As they strive for what they need, the brothers explore, sometimes ponderously, the definitions and boundaries of family, love, and sex. So much time is spent establishing characters’ viewpoints—fascinating though they are—that plot takes a back seat, leaving the ending feeling rushed and unearned. However, the setting is artfully crafted, the characters’ struggles are real and moving, and the sex those characters have is flaming hot. Readers looking for pathos with eroticism, depth, and a mostly black cast will appreciate this one. Agent: Sara Camilli, Sara Camilli Agency. (Apr.)