Keith Thomas Walker’s Dripping Chocolate is a romantic tale with an urban twist. The characters are not your usual upper crust lovers living fantastic lives in ideal settings coping with a complex complicated love. The characters are true to form working class single parents making it in the world. Nicole, a mother of three, works in a call center where her coworker girlfriends make up her supportive social circle. Charles Dwayne Hester is only months out of the joint taking on the challenges of an ex-con seeking employment while resisting the street’s lucrative drug hustle. Determined to go “legit” Charles is forced to rely on his money making assets, a handsome face and a well endowed muscular body. Charles is reluctantly drawn into stripping because of his desire to be a good father and the responsibility of two kids and twice the baby mama drama.
The story opens with Nicole—not without her own baby daddy drama–coming to the realization that her recent relationship with Byron isn’t working. He’s controlling and jealous and as advised by her girlfriends potentially dangerous. She breaks it off but Byron can’t seem to take go for an answer. To celebrate her 29th birthday girlfriends treat Nicole to a night out at Peeping Jane, a male strip club. Nicole shuns the idea of male strippers. Exciting and easy on the eyes she considers them undesirable and full of no class baggage.
Enters Dripping Chocolate his first night on the job stripping; learning the ropes and making plenty of money. Nicole gets a special dance and the encounter remains engrained in her memory. Shortly thereafter she bumps into Dripping Chocolate aka Charles at the Walmart while both are shopping for their respective sons. Her new perception of Dripping Chocolate as a responsible father dramatically changes Nicole’s first impression.
With cold feet she resists his overtures while considering her girlfriends’ conflicting advice. Nevertheless she dives into irresistible waters, but soon finds swimming in the budding romance a challenge. The plot thickens with heightened conflict when Charles’ stripping becomes the elephant in room.
Conflict is the key to Keith Thomas Walker’s string of successful novels. The author is a master of what literary agent Donald Maass calls micro-tension, the literary device designed to keep readers turning pages. While Dripping Chocolate is a romance it’s no fantasy dream but chocked with common real life urban struggles. Through sublime dialogue Walker’s characters jump off the page vivid and real. In great writing the plot is layered with conflicting relationships taken to dramatic heights. I highly recommend Dripping Chocolate.
You can listen to my in depth interview with the author on my blog EditorialIndependence.com.