Annotated List of Titles
Urban Fiction Titles
Baker, T.N. Cream. Triple Crown, 2005. Cream takes you through the life and times of Wassuan, Bruh and Lovi as they deal with the trials and tribulations of life.
Black Artemis. Picture me Rollin. NAL, 2005. In this hardcore novel of love and betrayal, a female ex-con moved by the power, poetry, and dangerous passion of Tupac Shakur has plans to play it straight and do the right thing for her future survival. But her lover Jesus, the man she went to prison for on a gun possession charge, is intent on bringing her back into his game. She finds herself caught between inescapable yet contradictory forces-the passion for the streets and the inspiration of her conscience, just like her idol Pac. With righteous anger to burn, she's got to pull her life together before it's too late.
Brown, Tracy. Dime Piece Triple Crown, 2004 Celeste Styles is a woman torn. On one hand, she has found happiness with the love of her life, Raheem "Rah-Lo" Henderson. He is unhappily married with children, and Celeste is his well-kept secret. He loves Celeste without question, proving his affection for her by financing her dream – a beauty salon called "Dime Piece". But when Rah-Lo is incarcerated for his part in a brutal crime, his right hand man Ishmael Wright is left to hold down the fort. This causes him to come face to face with the feelings he has secretly harbored for Celeste for far too long. While Rah-Lo’s away, will Celeste and Ishmael give into their passion for each other, or will their loyalty to Rah-Lo stand in their way? Meanwhile, Dime Piece is the setting for tons of drama between hairstylists Charly, Nina and Robin. The ladies vie for one man’s attention and the fireworks begin. Dime Piece is packed with drama, love triangles and passionate encounters. The question is, which of the ladies will ultimately be the one and only "Dime Piece"?
Brown, Tracy. Black. Triple Crown Publications, 2003. 196p. $15 Trade pb. 0-9702472-8-1. This novel tells the story of Kaia, a young girl from a housing project in Staten Island. Kaia has a combative relationship with her abusive mother, who stabbed her father to death and then forced four-year-old Kaia to lie to the police. Most of the story details her romance with Aaron, a drug dealer. While Kaia is in labor with their first child, Aaron is arrested for murder. He goes to prison while she raises their child and deals with a boyfriend who is behind bars. Kaia is a sympathetic character, and readers will identify with her struggles.
Chunichi. A Gangster’s Girl. Kensington Books, 2004. 258p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-9743636-5-0. While working as an escort, twenty-one-year-old Ceazia meets a drug dealer called Vegas and falls in love. Vegas buys her the best of everything, and for a time the couple live it up, spending money, traveling, and partying. Everything goes wrong, though, when Vegas is arrested, Ceazia’s twins die after she goes into labor too soon, and Ceazia is involved in a murder. When she is released on probation, she catches Vegas in a compromising position that leads to tragedy. There is nonstop drama here as Ceazia’s friends also face trials and tribulations.
Chunichi. Married to the Game. Urban, 2005 Sequel to A Gangster’s Girl.
Clark, Wahida. Thugs and the Women Who Love Them. Black Print Publishing, 2002. 211p. $8.99 Trade pb. 0- 9722771-1-0. Written by a Federal prison inmate, this novel follows several young women who are trying to escape from poverty. It’s a difficult journey because they fall for men who are involved in drugs and crime. Angel, for example, is working her way through law school—by writing bad checks and fencing merchandise, unfortunately—and dating a violent pimp called Snake. Meanwhile, her friend Kyra is torn between two drug dealers. Graphic sex and plenty of drama make this novel a likely crowd pleaser. The sequel is Every Thug Needs A Lady, and a third book is said to be forthcoming.
Elliot, K. Entangled. Kevin Douglas, 2003. 254p. $13.95 Trade pb. 0-9717697-0-2. A drug dealer gets out of prison and returns to his old life, pulling his new girlfriend in with him.
Ervin, Keisha. Me and My Boyfriend. Triple Crown, 2004 Here comes a honey colored, hazel-green eyed St. Louis bombshell named Meesa. With money in the bank, designer clothes in her closet and true friends by her side, Meesa still longs for more. All of her life she's wanted for one thing and one thing only, love. When she meets the infamous Black, a street pharmacist from the North side of The Lou, finally love is in her grasp. Follow Meesa and Black, this century's new notorious Bonnie and Clyde, through the roller coaster ride that their tight to death relationship brings. From ups, downs, love, hate, lies, abuse and murder, they go through it all. Like the saying goes: everything that looks good to you ain’t always good for you. But in the end, love always conquers all...doesn't it?
Foye, K’wan. Gangsta. Triple Crown Publications, 2002. 197p. $15 Trade pb. 0-9702472-1-4. An assassin wants to leave his gang for a life as a writer.
Foye, K’wan. Street Dreams. St. Martin’s Press, 2004. 320p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-312-33306-4. An ex-con turns to hustling when he can’t get a job, but dreams of escaping the ghetto.
Foye, K’wan. Road Dawgz. Triple Crown, 2003 "It’s the penthouse or the morgue." This is the philosophy adopted by Keshawn Wilson, a.k.a. ‘K-Dawg,’ self-proclaimed lord of the streets. Keshawn is the youngest of five kids and one of only two that doesn’t belong to his mother’s husband. As a little boy he feels the distance between he and his stepfather, and life becomes increasingly difficult for him as the years pass; his childhood and young adult years are spent in a home for boys and state prison, where he serves time for manslaughter. It is during his time behind bars, amongst hardened criminals, that the seeds of evil take root in his life and mercilessly transform him from an innocent child to a heartless, conniving menace, better known as ‘K-Dawg.’ K-Dawg decides that the world owes him something, and when he is released from prison he intends to take it. He comes up with the ultimate power move that is sure to put him on top of the game or under the earth. He wants it all, and he is dead set on having it—no matter what the cost. He has nothing to lose…and everything to gain.
Foye, K’wan. Eve St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006 Seventeen-year-old Eve is torn between two Harlem gangstas, and also must deal with the murder of one of her best friends.
Glenn, Roy. Payback. Urban Books, 2005. Roy Glenn is back with Payback and continues to introduce us to unforgettable characters that immediately become real. The story begins with a long overdue visit to from Nick Simmons (Drug Related). However, before Nick has the chance to hook-up and reminisce with his old friend, the drama begins. Nick finally has the pleasure of meeting the lovely Shy. After a wild shootout at his club in the Bahamas, Mike Black’s wife, Cassandra “Shy” Sims, is kidnapped by South American drug dealers. Mike Black has to find his wife while fighting off a take-over attempt, and solve a murder with political implications, only to find that there is one man behind it all.
Holmes, Shannon. Never Go Home Again. Simon & Schuster, 2004. 336p. $23.95. 0-7434-8783-4. A young man makes fast money in the drug trade, but is arrested and goes to prison.
Holmes, Shannon. Bad Girlz. Atria, 2003. 224p. $15 Trade pb. 0-7434-8620-X. This story of three young women who become strippers so they can survive on the streets is set in North Philadelphia. Seventeen-year-old Tonya’s mother beats her, and her stepfather gives her drugs and then rapes her. Kicked out of the house, Tonya is taken in by Kat and Goldie, who help her transform herself into Tender, a stripper and prostitute. All three women have sex with men for money, funding a lifestyle full of shopping, drugs, travel, and rivalries with other girls. The three women get mixed up with a pimp who tries to kill them, but they shoot him in self defense. Their bond begins to fall apart, however, when Kat betrays the other two. Unlike most of the other books on this list, the relationship among the three women—not their romances with men—is at the center of the novel.
Holmes, Shannon. B-More Careful: A Novel. Teri Woods Publishing, 2001. 288p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0- 9672249-1-8. This novel is one of the most popular of the genre. Netta grows up on the streets in a poor area of Baltimore with her best friend Mimi. A beautiful girl, she uses her body to get money from men. When she meets a drug dealer named Black, she uses him, too. Meanwhile Mimi descends deeper into a life of drugs and degradation. Eventually Black discovers Netta’s duplicity and takes his revenge.
Holmes, Shannon. The Game: Short Stories about the life. Triple Crown, 2003. Short stories by Shannon Holmes, Tracy Brown, K’wan, Nikki Turner, and more.
Jackson, Renay. Oaktown Devil. (local author – Oakland) North Atlantic Books/Frog Ltd, 2004. 225p. $14.95 Trade pb. 1- 58394-105-3. When Rainbow Jordan’s brother is murdered, he is determined to find the killer.
Jackson, Renay. Peanut’s Revenge. (local author – Oakland) North Atlantic Books, 2006 A blistering follow-up to Turf War, Peanut’s Revenge opens with the release of criminal kingpin Big Ed Tatum from jail after the only witness to his crime is murdered. Is this his first task as a free man? To track down his rival Silky, who soon turns up dead. Silky’s woman, Melody Bordeaux (aka Peanut), vows revenge. But complications arise when Peanut’s adored little sister Crystal falls in love with Big Ed. Peanut follows Big Ed to his parents’ house where he stores his stash of drugs, money, and guns. Working on a parallel track are police team Johnson and Hernandez. As always, Jackson paints an unforgettable picture of the mean streets and lost souls of the urban underworld in his distinctive style. What makes this entry stand out from its predecessors is Jackson’s sizzling portrait of a female protagonist who will do whatever it takes to avenge the death of the man she loved.
Johnson, Pamela M. From a Hard Rock to a Gem. (Local author – San Francisco) Macavelli Press, 2003. Diamond Faith Sterling is an inner-city girl fashioned by her environment where crime, poverty and injustice abound and childhood dreams too often become dreams deferred. She has decided that, while society has denied her any chance to enter Heaven (to go to college, to become a professional), she will accept nothing less than ruling Hell (the inner-city and the streets of East Oakland). This one time street-corner drug-pusher transforms herself into a gritty queenpin: the ruthless leader of a multimillion-dollar narcotics syndicate as builds her empire piece by bloody piece. More and more, she desires to (in the parlance of the inner-city) flip her money into something genuine and she begins to focus on her childhood dreams of being somebody. Yet, to rise to Heaven, one must cut ties to Hell...and for this hard rock anti-heroine, giving up the empire she fought so hard to build proves to be the toughest, most gut-wrenching challenge of all...
Jones, Solomon. Ride or Die. St. Martin's Minotaur, 2005. Keisha is the sheltered daughter of an activist pastor with a checkered past. Jamal is the street-savvy son of an infamous drug kingpin. The two fall in love, but when a murder comes between their families, Keisha is forced to make a choice. She chooses Jamal, and as she takes to the streets to be with him, she risks everything for love. Even her life.
Joseph, Dwayne S., et al. Around the Way Girls. Kensington Books, 2004. 304p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-9743636-9-3. This collection of stories begins with a masturbation scene—a warning that it’s not for the faint of heart. Cream, the stripper featured in that story, discovers that she is pregnant by a drug dealer named Wise. Along with another stripper, she comes up with a plan to blackmail customers. A second story deals with Angel Santiago, a beautiful young girl in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who falls for Frido, another drug dealer. The drama involves an ex-boyfriend, a lesbian orgy scene, and a shooting that concludes the story. The stories have an edge that will appeal to readers looking for fiction that shows life’s seamier side.
Long, Thomas. A Thug’s Life. Kensington Books, 2004. 245p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-9747025-3-6. Dayvon, a one-time kingpin of West Baltimore’s drug trade, must face a vengeful former friend after he decides to go straight.
Martin, Victor. A Hood Legend. Triple Crown, 2004. Fresh out of the Marines with only five grand in his pocket, Ménage’A is looking to make his presence and his flamboyant taste in cars and clothes, felt on the extravagant, flossed-out streets of Miami. When Ménage’A Discovers that he has a flare for flipping stolen cars into more cash then he can handle he befriends Dwight who helps him with his operation. What Ménage’A soon learns is that when doing shady business, shady characters lurk where you least expect them. Follow Ménage’A as he balls outta control, outrunningthe law and bullets that may bear his name.
Martin, Victor. Menange’s Way. Triple Crown, 2004. Menage Unique Legend’s life, though it continues to be filled with material possessions and easy sex, spirals steadily out of control in this action-packed, page-turning sequel to A Hood Legend. Through it all, he pretends to be in control and keeps his game face on, even after experiencing personal losses and tragic events. In the midst of insisting on having it "My way," he questions the meaning of life and love. Finally, he comes up with a solution that is as unique as he is. It is the answer to his misery…and what will ultimately make his heart content.
Martin, Victor. For the Strength of You. Triple Crown, 2005. The Dirty-Dirty is runnin’ the game. Fresh out of prison and down for whatever, Anshon is on the grind and ready to roll. Thirsty for street glitz, glamour and ghetto richness, Anshon never thinks twice about the universal street anthem, "Mo’ money—Mo’ problems." Living life in the fast lane and never learning to "juice the game slow," Anshon ends up on a downward spiral. But what will he do when he can’t be his brother’s keeper anymore, and where will he go when jealousy seems to be taking control? Will he roll over and die or will his survival instincts run the show? What about when he loses a loved one who begged him to get out the game? Will he finally listen, chill with his shawtie, and ride off into the sunset or will he take matters in his own hands? Join Victor Martin as he spins a tale that leaves you to wonder, "How could a man that has done so much be treated so unjust?"
Miller, Karen E. Quinones. Satin Doll. Simon & Schuster, 2002. 320p. $13 Trade pb. 0-7432- 1434-X. $6.99 pb. 0-7434-8245-X. Regina Harris leaves behind poverty and the streets of Harlem to reinvent herself as a college graduate and journalist, but when she meets an upper-class lawyer from a prominent family, she must hide her past life and her old friends. This novel is a good choice for readers who loved Using What You Got, which has more teen appeal.
Miller, Karen E. Quinones. Using What You Got: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, 2004. 256p. $12 Trade pb. 0-7432-4615-2. Eighteen-year-old Tiara Bynum grows up spoiled by her father in the Harlem housing projects. She must choose between two suitors, the slick and wealthy Lionel—who turns out to be funding drug dealers— or Rashad, a cab driver without Lionel’s money but who has plenty of intelligence and good character. The novel—full of slang, gossip, and details about clothes and hair—has a satisfying if predictable ending. Miller has a degree in journalism and a background as a newspaper reporter, which shows in the high quality of the writing, far surpassing most of the other titles on this list. Except for the rough language—characters use the F-word in every other sentence—this novel is one of the cleaner ones.
Moore, Yanier Blak. Triple Take: A Novel. Random House, 2003. 240p. $12.95 Trade pb. 0-375-76066-0. Out of prison after serving ten years for armed robbery, Jonathan “JC” Cole returns to Chicago seeking revenge against the three men who betrayed him.
Noire. G-Spot: An urban Erotic Tale. One World/Striver’s Row, 2005 In this gritty melodrama, 19-year-old Juicy double-crosses her overbearing lover and plans to steal his money.
Stringer, Vickie. Let That Be the Reason. Triple Crown Publications, 2001. 285p. $12 Trade pb. 0-9702472-0-6. After a painful and violent breakup with a drug dealer, a young woman turns to running an escort service and dealing drugs to support herself and her child. Christening herself Carmen, she learns the ropes and begins taking business from her ex boyfriend, but when her feelings for him return, she gets caught up in a deal gone bad. Like many of the other novels on this list, Carmen’s life of crime allows her to live well, with fancy hotel rooms and expensive champagne, but it all catches up with her at the end. The novel is unusual in that the female main character goes into the drug business for herself, rather than just being the girlfriend of a dealer. This novel has a sequel, Imagine This (Atria, 2004).
Swinson, Kiki. Wifey. Melodrama Publishing, 2004 Sequel: I’m Still Wifey, also at SFPL. Kira owns a profitable hair and nail salon. She lives in a nice home in an exclusive community with her husband Ricky, an infamous, well-known drug dealer from the rough streets of D.C. He is also known to be one of the most feared men in the South. Because of Ricky's drug-empire, Kira finds herself in the most dangerous situation ever. Ricky forces Kira to believe that he's going to call on his reinforcements, so everything will end in his favor. However, unknown to Ricky, Kira felt the need to devise an escape plan on her own. Will she choose loyalty or her life? In a world where everyone wants to be "wifey" the question is--can you play your position and handle the drama the streets will throw your way?
Turner, Nikki. A Project Chick. Triple Crown Publications, 2003. 198p. $15 Trade pb. 0- 9702472-6-5. Tressa, a young woman in Richmond, Virginia, is living the good life. She has twin baby boys with her boyfriend Khalil, a drug dealer who cheats on her. He is controlling but provides her with beautiful jewelry and a nice car. When Khalil falsely suspects Tressa of cheating and commits two senseless murders right in front of her eyes, she packs up her children and moves to a housing project, where she tries to make it on her own. Turner is the self-proclaimed “Queen of Hip-Hop Fiction,” and this story has all the elements of the genre: drugs, sex, robbery, murder, abuse, and a strong woman character determined to escape the streets. Readers might also like A Hustler’s Wife by the same author, about Yarni, a girl from a prosperous family who falls for Des, a drug kingpin. When Des is convicted of murder, Yarni faces life on her own.
Turner, Nikki. Riding Dirty on I-95 Ballantine, 2006 Mercy, abused in foster care, turns 18 and starts dating a drug dealer in Richmond, Va. At first, she gets involved in drugs, but later turns her life around. Her future is threatened when she encounters her old lover again.
Whyte, Anthony J. Ghetto Girls. Black Print Publishing, 2002. 251p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-9722771-2-9. Coco, an aspiring singer, is with her friends at a New York night club when she meets a girl named DeeDee. When DeeDee is kidnapped, raped, and beaten, her music producer uncle orders a hit on the supposed perpetrators. This novel of murder, jealousy, and revenge ranges all over the place, with no one central character and no clear plot line. Most readers will find it uninvolving and hard to follow, but others will enjoy the gritty setting, drug use, graphic sex, and other popular elements.
Williams, Kashamba. Blinded. Triple Crown Publications, 2003. 242p. $15 Trade pb. 0- 9702472-7-3. This first-person novel tells the story of Mona, a smart and beautiful young woman from the housing projects in Wilmington, Delaware. Her mother is addicted to crack cocaine, and Mona grows up as a “ghetto queen,” stealing clothes and jewelry with her all-female gang. Determined to escape, she dates only men with money. On a trip to Philadelphia, she meets a drug trafficker named Cam. Their romance blooms when he gives her money and takes her on a trip to Jamaica. Mona is overwhelmed by Cam’s wealth and attention, but she soon discovers his violent and nasty side. When she cheats on him and tries to escape with drug money, it’s only a matter of time before events take a tragic turn. The story ends with an author’s note begging readers to make positive changes in their lives. Despite the blatant moralizing, this book is one of the better written and more appealing titles on the list, with a strong and sympathetic central character. Williams has also written a sequel, Grimey (Triple Crown Publications, 2004).
Woods, Teri. True to the Game. Teri Woods Publishing, 1999. 200p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0-9672249-0-X. Gena, a girl from the Philadelphia projects, falls for Quadir, a wealthy drug dealer. Emotional ups and downs follow as she is abused by her ex-boyfriend and loses her best friend to a drive-by shooting. Drug dealing rivalries, a kidnapping, and betrayed love lead to the violent conclusion. At the end, Gena emerges older and sadder but also a bit wiser. This book is one of the original self-published “hip hop” novels and does pack some emotional punch.
Williams, Kashamba. At the Court’s Mercy Urban Books, 2005 Sequel to Driven.
Williams, Kashamba. Grimey. Triple Crown Publications, 2004. 242p. $15 Trade pb. 0-9747895-1-8. In this sequel to Blinded, Yatta seeks revenge against the man who killed his sister.
Woods, Teri. Dutch: The First of a Trilogy. Teri Woods Publishing, 2003. 231p. $14.95 Trade pb. 0- 9672249-0-X. Woods’s second novel chronicles the life story of a young man named Dutch, a heroin dealer from New Jersey now on trial for a thirty-day killing spree.
Woods, Teri. Dutch II: Angel’s Revenge Teri Woods Publishing, 2005 Sequel to Dutch.