By Solomon Jones
(Villard, Paperback, 9780375756603, 368pp.)
Publication Date: July 31, 2001
Categories: Mystery & Detective - General
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The lawyer turned on the tape recorder, handed his client a cigarette, and lit it for him. Black drew hard, squinting as the smoke rushed into his lungs.
"Where do you want to start?"the lawyer said, lighting a cigarette of his own.
"I guess there’s only one place to start; at Broad and Erie."
Johnny Podres, a politician whose record against corruption had been propelling him straight to the mayor’s office, is found murdered in a North Philly crack house.
Enter Samuel Jackson, a.k.a. Black, a drug addict who knows better, a man embittered by the fact that he can’t seem to escape from his addiction to crack cocaine or, for that matter, from himself. Though he was once a family man with a wife and son, Black’s only concern these days is getting his next high, that is, until he stumbles across a friend and fellow addict, Leroy, and both become prime suspects in the Podres murder. Black and Leroy hook up with two female pipers: Clarisse, a registered nurse who is slowly losing to crack any semblance of a respectable life, and Pookie, who already has lost it. Soon the hunt is on for all four as they try to stay one step ahead of a police department under tremendous pressure to solve the case—because if a killer isn’t found soon, this could blow up into one of the biggest scandals in Philadelphia history.
Solomon Jones weaves a suspenseful story against the backdrop of corruption in the Philadelphia police department and centers it on a group of drug addicts who, in the process of fleeing the law, come to terms with their own addiction, leading to some devastating consequences.
Solomon Jones is currently a staff writer for Philadelphia Weekly and has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and The Philadelphia Tribune. He received a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife. This is his first novel.
"An impressive debut, and a writer to watch."
"Strap yourself in for a fast-paced, multilayered ride that gets the details right and in the process puts a human face on crack addiction."
--Diane McKinney-Whetstone, author of Blues Dancing
"There’s a new Harlem Renaissance, this time from the City of Brotherly Love. Pipe Dream captures perfectly the sites and sounds of the city, thus Solomon Jones takes his place within this new literary movement."
--Omar Tyree, the Urban Griot and author of Just Say No!
"Pipe Dream is a phenomenal and honest tale of lives often overlooked and stories often untold. Jones reminds us that the surface-level truth often depends on who’s telling it, and the deeper truth comes only when we’re at peace with the lives we’ve led and the choices we’ve made."
--Brian Peterson, author of Move Over, Girl