Imagine witnessing a murder, being in a car crash, than being in a shoot out with police… then taking your mind off all your worries by smoking crack. Can’t imagine it? Neither could I, but that’s just a day in the life of Black, Leroy, Pookie and Clarrise, characters addicted to crack in Solomon Jones’ first novel “Pipe Dream.”
The book begins with Black and Leroy being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They soon find themselves suspects in a crime they did not commit, the murder of a city council person Johnny Podres.
Even though they know they are innocent, they go on the run, because they know no one would believe two pipers. They take their girlfriends, Clarrise and Pookie, with them as they elude the news media and crooked cops who want to pin murder charges on anyone they can stick them to. The group travels all through Philadelphia, trying to escape the city limits while dealing with their own demons in the process.
Each character has a story to tell as to how and why they started doing crack. I won’t spoil the ending of this book, but like real life, some make it, while others fall trying.
“Pipe Dream” is very realistic. The suspense and action is incredible, helping you to envision each character’s motions and thoughts as if they where in front of you.
Black’s character is loosely based on Solomon Jones’ own experiences with drugs. He has credible knowledge of the city and crack effects.
In “Pipe Dream” you learn why addicts are willing to risk everything…why they leave their families and careers, just for that next hit. Jones does a wonderful job characterizing crack addicts. It is a book you won’t put down to the very end.
Jones is currently working on his second book, which will cover a murder in the North Philadelphia housing project he grew up in. He also is a writer for the Philadelphia Weekly.