Once again, Eric Jerome Dickey, with An Accidental Affair, has written a genre bending, a genre ‘blending’ story that is chalk full of danger, intrigue, mysterious characters with shady motives, murder, intrigue, moral lessons and obsession. Oh, and there’s sex. Lots of graphic, erotic, steamy, sweaty, climatic earth-quaking sex.
But, as the main protagonist James Thicke cautions, “When they, anyone, only talk about the sex, that is a gross under-estimation of what the material is about, and that takes away from, the character and plot development.
Dickey has a rare ability. Ernest Hemingway in For Whom The Bell Tolls wrote one of the most erotic scenes in literature and didn’t use any “profane” language. Dickey does the opposite. He has the ability to write those scenes in text book, dirty magazine language and yet make it so natural that it would almost… almost, be right at home in a classroom. And he can pepper dialogue with ‘F’ words and make it seem right at home as an amen in church. The ‘character and plot development’ are that good and the stories are told in such a gripping, suspenseful style that the sex scenes are just there so the reader can catch his/her breath.
The story opens with one of the best first paragraphs I have read in awhile; “I dropped the .38 on the passenger seat, then sped down a damp Sunset Boulevard. Johnny Handsome was bleeding, limping, running, fleeing, his trek looking like a scene from a horror film. He saw my car coming and stumbled out of the streets before I could mow him down.” Right away the reader is forewarned: you are in for a hardboiled, fast ride.
James Thicke has just beat Johnny Handsome down in the street. Pulled him from his vintage Porsche 550 Spyder, just like James Deans, and beat him down for having sex with his wife, Regina Baptiste. This was no simple accidental affair. This sex was scripted, only it wasn’t scripted by James like the rest of the movie starring his wife, Regina, the newest, sexiest female action star and Johnny ‘Handsome’ Bergs, a thuggish scion from a gangster family, and the hottest male star in Hollywood. The scene was filmed with the entire cast present, and now it is on the internet. And James Thicke, the hottest script writer — but this was adlibbed on the set, and was too explicit for even an ‘X’ Rating. Now, Thicke, a man whose mysterious past, has stayed buried as he channels all his energy into his two passions: being the best screenwriter around, and marriage to movie star Regina. Now his violent streak comes to the surface as feelings of betrayal, revenge, and murder come to roost in his heart.
But soon, even if his blood doesn’t cool, his mind, a mind that was sharp enough and determined enough to pull him from the ghettos of Europe to build a wealthy, privileged life, takes hold and shifts into damage control. Arriving at his estate, he finds neither Regina or her Bentley, but the paparazzi have taken up residence, so James calls his ‘driver,’ a character from an earlier book (Drive Me Crazy) who is, appropriately called Driver. Driver packs up his opulent office and meets James at an anonymous, if not for very long, Downey apartment. As James moves in he meets a few of the nosey, and friendly residents and ends up befriending, one middle aged man, Mr. Holder who has a much younger lover. James confides his identity to Mr. Holder and helps him hide his car and maintain his alias with the other neighbors.