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Pipe Dreams.

Pipe Dreams by Solomon Jones Striver's Row, July 2001, $13.95, ISBN 0-375-75660-4

Recently, Philadelphia has been the setting for great dramatic fiction. Authors like Diane McKinney Whetstone, BeBe Moore Campbell, and Lorraine Carey have captured the familiar sights and subtle nuances of the City of Brotherly Love with panache and style. Missing in this genre until now, has been representation by an African American male writer. First-time novelist Solomon Jones has taken up that challenge with a gritty Philadelphia story, Pipe Dreams.

Told mainly through the eyes of its crackhead anti-hero, named Black, the story centers on the murder of a Latino city councilman in a condemned drug house. From there, it spirals into a prism of double-crosses, dirty politics, and police corruption.

Jones pulls no punches as he takes you through the desperate lives of Black and his three other dope-fiend friends, who are caught in a web of murder, mayhem and deceit.

Jones takes readers into the minds of his addicts--not at all one-dimensional characters--and reveals the convoluted logic that causes them to make so many bad decisions.

The story opens with Black, who has spent some time in jail, finally telling his lawyer the whole story. He spins the tale flashback style and takes you on a journey through much of North Philly's underbelly. There are in-your-face scenes of scams, set-ups, burglaries, shootings and blackmail. Jones heaps these ingredients in with some eerie scenes of crack smoking and detailed descriptions of the entire drugged out lifestyle.

This book is like a train wreck: It's a ghoulish scene, but hard to look away from.

Anthony C. Davis is the co-author of Yo Little Brother-Basic Rules of Survival for Young Black Males.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Davis, Anthony C.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2001
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