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Pipe Dream: A Novel (Strivers Row) Paperback – July 31, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First-timer Jones travels deep into the drug-fueled underworld of a grim urban Philadelphia in this energetic novel, a neo-noir voyage into violence and injustice. When a popular Puerto Rican city councilman with a stellar anti-corruption record is shot dead in a Philly crack house in September 1992, a citywide manhunt begins. The targets of the hunt are four luckless crack addicts, innocent but doomed by association and reputation. The down-and-out addict and petty thief Leroy was on the scene, along with his sort-of girl, Pookie. Desperate, he turns to his sharper pal Black for help, who in turn involves Clarisse, a still-employed nurse who has only recently turned to crack. The cops pursue all four, looking to wrap the case up fast and easy (while concealing a secret plot of their own). Going back and forth between characters, hunters and hunted, Jones produces a mix like Dragnet meets Chester Himes, stamped by his own experience on the streets. The chase is compelling, but even more involving is the way Jones slowly reveals each character's story, presenting in convincing and heartbreaking detail how each was sucked into dead-end addiction. Clarisse and Black's romance and redemption is too neatly conceived, but this is a promising debut effort. Jones clearly has the stuff to become a major chronicler of the mean streets. Agent, Victoria Saunders. (July 31)Forecast: Jones's own story he escaped addiction to become a journalist and is currently a staff writer at the Philadelphia Weekly is as compelling as his strong first novel, and a seven-city author tour should bring the book to readers' attention.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This African American urban melodrama tells the story of four crack addicts who after being wrongly accused of murdering one of Philadelphia's leading politicians, a civic crusader against police corruption attempt to escape a seemingly guaranteed death at the hands of an overzealous police force. The tale is indirectly narrated by Samuel Everett "Black" Jackson, one of the addicts, who has finally broken his silence to his court-appointed lawyer just before his trial. While the novel offers a cautionary tale about crack addiction and contemporary police corruption, its plot is not very believable, its characters are depressingly clich d, and its narrative strategy is virtually impossible to explain: Jackson essentially narrates many events he did not witness and could not know about. In addition, the dialog often sounds as if it comes from a police scanner transcript, and minor characters are introduced and then discarded with aplomb. The writer missed an excellent opportunity to offer an in-depth view of contemporary black Philadelphia and its complex problems with drugs, police brutality, and economic marginalization. Recommended only for libraries with comprehensive African American contemporary fiction collections. Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Strivers Row
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (July 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375756604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375756603
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is the best!! The story line is great. A complete change from the "love stories" on the market now. The descriptions of the crack addicts and the effects that crack has on their lives is all so true. This book will keep you turning page after page and you will never be let down. It is a drug story, a love story, and a crime story, all in one. And very well told. The author has done a magnificent job of weaving together an intriguing story of drugs, murder, and police protecting their own. And in between all of this, the author actually puts a face and provides a voice to the crack addict that is rarely heard from. Everyone has a story to tell. This was indeed a surprise treat!!! This book is what makes reading so much fun!
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Format: Paperback
Samuel Jackson a.k.a. Black is a brother who is no angel. Black is hooked on crack cocaine and he is a small time criminal. He abandoned his wife and child for the street life.
His best friend Leroy is a fellow crack addict. Together, they make their home in Philadelphia's crack houses. To Black and Leroy, getting high is natural as breathing.
Later, Philadephia career politician Johnny Podres who is a crusader against corruption, is found murdered in a crack house. Black and Leroy become the focus of the murder investigation.
Black and Leroy know that they are innocent, but who is going to believe two crack addicts?
They have no choice but to flee from the police and find the real killer.
They embark on an action packed adventure that goes from the depths of hell of the crack cocaine world to the corruption in the Philadelphia police department.
This gritty urban thriller is a definite page turner.
I would highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book in my opinion had just about all the ingredients that makes up a good book: Drama, Suspense, humor and a little touch of romance.

I'm definitely going to look for more books written by this author.
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Format: Paperback
Pipe Dreams
Have you ever read a book and the desciptions were so vivid that you could see the scenes flashing before you very eyes...you could hear the person breathing down your back and you could see the dampness in their shirt or hear the screech of the tires as the car pulls off.
If you haven't read a book like this then you need to read Pipe Dreams. In this FAST-PACED suspenseful thriller, we walk in the shoes of Black, a known crack addict. Black and three fellow crack addicts are running for their lives as they try to find out who murdered a city councilman with a anti-corruption record out of this world is shot dead in a Philly crack house. Yep, you read it that correctly a politician dies in a crack house.
Once you pick up this book you won't be able to put it down as you travel with Black and his friends through all the twists and turns that this story will surely lead you to. This story also takes you into the minds of a many addicts and I found it rather interesting to see things from their perspective rather than my own.
I suggest you buy this book because it was truly a page turner and a treat to read. I could
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Format: Paperback
Pipe Dream is a true to life story of corruption and addiction. Black, Pookie, Clarisse and Leroy are four crack heads on the run for a murder neither committed. When Councilman Johhny Podres is found dead in a crack house it turns out to be a high profile murder case and the cops need someone to pin the murder on. Black and Leroy are the target eventhough neither could have been in two places at the same time.
I waited awhile before I decided to read this story because I didn't want to read about crack addition but after opening the book, I became engrossed in the lives of Black, Leroy, Clarrise and Pookie who were plain everyday folk who got turned out on the life destroying drug crack. Hats off to Solomon Jones for writing this realistic and emotional treat. I wish the author much success and look forward to your next release. Thanks for keeping it real.
God's Blessings.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Jones' loving dedication of Pipe Dream to his wife is a telling clue that the author has walked the walk. This novel is an amazing "film noir" that makes you forget that you are simply the reader. Instead you are standing in shadows and running for your life right alongside Black, Clarisse, Leroy and Pookie.
Interestingly, Mr. Jones is equally perceptive of the emotional make-up of a tired old detective on the verge of retirement who, throughout his career, has taken the time to know and, therefore, understand the people that he has vowed to protect - even the "pipers."
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved or sacrificed or lost hope because Pipe Dream will show you the truest meaning of these words.
I'm looking forward to Mr. Jones' next novel, The Bridge.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a first book, I think that Solomon Jones has outdone himself. At first, I thought that I was not going to like the book because he was using a lot of termonology that I was unfamiliar with. But this book proved to be a page turner. I could not rest because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Pookie, Black, Clarisse, and Leroy. It has a lot of suspense and an ending that will leave you waiting for Mr. Jones' next book. You will not be disappointed with this book, I promise.
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