An Accidental Affair By Eric Jerome Dickey Dutton. 396 pp. $26.95Reviewed by Karen E. Quiñones Miller for The Philadelphia Inquirer
James Thicke is rich. James Thicke is a successful screenwriter. James Thicke is married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, Hollywood star Regina Baptiste. And she just happens to be in the process of filming Thicke's latest flick to hit the silver screen alongside Johnny Bergs (also known as Johnny Handsome), one of the hottest actors in the business.Then an anonymous person posts one of the scenes from the movie on YouTube.
A love scene.
A love scene that obviously has nothing to do with acting.
Johnny Handsome is actually — as in flesh-to-flesh — entwined with Regina Baptiste on camera.
The expression on her face, and the moans escaping from her throat, are just as real as the sex, and let the viewer know that she is undeniably loving every shameless moment — no acting required. And the realness of the moment was apparent to anyone. As the scene ends, the film crew can be heard giving a loud round of applause. And when Thicke sees it, he explodes.
Though master of the written word, Thicke is a man of few words when it comes to dealing with his own real-life situations. His response to this very public betrayal is to get into his quarter-of-a-million-dollar car, drive down Sunset Boulevard, practically run Johnny Handsome off the road, then pull him out of his car and beat him in the middle of oncoming traffic until the movie star is nearly unconscious. And handsome no more.
The next thing on Thicke's agenda is to change his marital status from married man to widower. With a .38 on the passenger's side of his Maybach, he takes off to find Regina Baptiste.
An Accidental Affair is the latest novel by New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, a prolific writer whose works include 2008's Pleasure and 2009's Tempted by Trouble.
Originally from Memphis, Dickey moved to Los Angeles after college in order to pursue a career in engineering, and worked in the aerospace industry before catching the showbiz bug and starting a stand-up comedy act. Though his writing career started with his comedy skits, he soon began to branch out, eventually writing short stories and then novels.
Dickey has managed to avoid the pigeonholing that plagues so many authors' careers; his 18 novels include romance, detective stories, erotica, and suspense thrillers, and his graphic novel Storm, based on a Marvel Comics character, even won a 2007 Glyph Comics Award.
Dickey's writing has never been better, and readers will find themselves sucked into his latest book from the very first page — which just happens to be a copy of an MSNBC.com news item detailing information about the Baptiste/Bergs sex tape making its way around the Internet.
Unable to immediately find his wife, Thicke opts to rent an apartment in a seedy section of Los Angles rather than return to his Hollywood mansion, which is surrounded by reporters. He leases the apartment under a fake name, but his problems mount as he hides out.
For one thing, Johnny Bergs' family, which just happens to be involved in organized crime, is now after him. Then there's Regina's ex-husband, who is trying to blackmail him. And the zany characters who live in the apartment complex and complicate his life. There's the married sexpot down the hall, who can't wait to get the newest tenant in bed. The older man shacking up with a youthful woman who, he rightfully suspects, has the hots for Thicke. And another more mature woman to whom Thicke finds himself attracted. In addition there are the self-recriminations about the woman he gave up for Baptiste.
But in the midst of dodging thugs, bullets, women, and regrets, Thicke gets an unexpected visitor. His wife.
If you're looking for a book filled with drama and thrills, An Accidental Affair certainly fits the bill: adultery, beat-downs, extortion, lies, sexcapades, and even murder are all there. And the writing is superb; the characters are well-developed and the dialogue is on-point. I would even go so far as to say this is one of the best written of Dickey's many books.
An Accidental Affair is a book that all Dickey fans should read, but even if you've never heard of Dickey, grab this book. You won't regret being introduced to a prolific writer whose talents evolve with every new volume.