The Business of Lovers

Dutton. Apr. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781524745202. $27. F
In his latest sexually charged novel (following Before We Were Wicked), Dickey exposes complex relationships between men and women by using themes of love, friendship, erotica, and family. Brick Duquesne, a stoic Los Angeles everyman, is recovering from cancer and is intent on jump-starting his life after being dumped by Coretta, whom he was planning to marry. He finds himself a chauffeur/protector to three young female escorts, Penny, Mocha Latte, and Christiana, each with exciting pasts but who now sell sexual pleasures to wealthy men and women. Brick’s brothers, Dwayne and André, each carrying their own relationship, are also in Los Angeles muddling Brick’s daily life. Dickey’s cast takes turns leaning on Brick as they delve into African American social and emotional issues from the right to vote, gentrification, single parenting, and interracial marriage to their partners’ sexual prowess.
VERDICT The action between the sheets is hot but at times clunky verbal foreplay grates (e.g., “I feel like an animal with you. Animals don’t know sin. Animals are free”). Minor quibbles aside, this is sure to please Dickey’s many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]

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