Love is hell.
Wifey. The wife. She doesn’t even have a name in the passionate e-mails Charles, a teacher, exchanges with his lover Jessica, a PE instructor. But she’s a real, live, fire-breathing woman, quivering with righteous anger when she finds out about the affair. Jessica’s husband, David Lawrence, calls her at work (she’s a segment producer for a local TV news show) to tell her that he just gave Charles a black eye in the school parking lot but decided not to shoot him. Oh—so that’s the real explanation for the shiner Charles said he got from breaking up a schoolyard fight. Looks like her husband is a cheating dog. She didn’t see it coming, didn’t know it had been going on for eight long months. How could he? Why would he? She always had a hot meal ready at the end of the day, and she never turned him down in bed. Like her mother always said, a woman has to be a woman to her man or some other woman would be. Things spin out of control real fast, and it’s not long before she’s having revenge-sex on the down-low with David, a moody artist who admires her dreadlocks and delicate freckles. He prints out the e-mails and she confronts Charles, who can’t deny it now—and heads off to take out his frustrations on a punching bag in the garage. Is it because she earns more money than he does? Well, yes and no. Best friend Yvette, a free spirit sexually and otherwise, puts in her two cents: men have needs and ain’t nothin’ goin’ to change that. (Yvette is not above satisfying her own needs at group sex parties, described, for interested readers, in salacious if somewhat irrelevant detail.) The action heats up to a thunderously melodramatic end pretty quick, and lessons are taught—and learned.
Good and gritty storytelling from the best-selling Dickey (Thieves’ Paradise, 2002, etc.).