GUYS IN SUITS by Van Whitfield


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Whitfield (Something’s Wrong With Your Scale!, 1999, etc.) returns to that trendy urban landscape where would-be cool black guys hang out trying to make the right moves on their women.

Whitfield knows his guys and their tastes, their habits and their fears—and, here, the story, told by bus driver Simon Washington, or, as he calls himself, “mass transit operator,” and by financial consultant Stuart Worthington, focuses on all of them. Simon, Stuart, Rod, and Trevor all grew up in the same Maryland suburb, work in nearby D.C., and have been friends since childhood. They're snappy dressers, like expensive cars, and enjoy kidding one another. But Trevor and Rod are married, while Simon and Stuart are not. They’re not ready for it, but they do need dates for the group’s annual vacation somewhere fun and warm. Alternately, Simon and Stuart each describe the women they’ve met recently—attractive but hard to pin down. Both of them—Simon’s Eve and Stuart’s Lynn—are always in hurry to go somewhere else, and both are mysteriously vague about the past. Failing to find dates for the upcoming vacation, and tired of being teased by Rod and Trevor for being so hopeless at relationships, both decide that perhaps Lynn and Eve should be the ones to accompany them to Cancun, the year’s chosen destination. Stuart cooks a dinner for Simon and Eve, then another for himself and Lynn, planning at each meal to extend their invitations. Clumsy foreshadowing, unfortunately, undercuts the intended surprise element of their, as usual, futile machinations. But these are good guys who deserve something better. True friends, they console Rod when he’s diagnosed with prostate cancer, and they mentor two reluctant but smart juvenile offenders. And, of course, good things eventually do happen to Simon and Stuart, who also learn much about women and life in the process.

Entertainment Lite: wisecracking and contrived.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-49846-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001