Most of the novels are around 99 cents and a ton of them are available on Kindle and, I’m sure, everywhere else. Wikipedia says “The tone for urban fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside of city living. Profanity, sex, and violence are usually explicit.” I get a kick out of them, I love the language, and they have influenced my world view; for example, I now refer to my car as my whip.
The Life Of A Bitch And A Thug: A Chi-Town Hood Love Story, by Krystle Yvette
Being from Chicago myself, I particularly enjoyed this novel even though there aren’t any Windy City landmarks that figure prominently.
Here's a quick recap: At one point Bitch says: “If Chaz plays his cards right, he could probably be my nigga one day.” Thug, whose name is not Chaz, suspects something going on between Bitch and Chaz: “I hope this nigga Chaz does not call himself liking my bitch. He a cool lil nigga, but I will kill that nigga if need be.”
And sure enough, stuff happens and: “I looked around the room to see if I could see any deceit in these niggas eyes. I looked that nigga Chaz dead in the eyes and he was sitting over there like he ain’t just rape my wife. I had something real special planned for that nigga.”
But Chaz isn’t the only one living on borrowed time; take Raymond, for instance: “Raymond was the only nigga in the room looking nervous as hell. I’m gone have Dirty and Pimp follow that nigga. I don’t give a fuck about him being Kane’s brother; if he jeopardized my empire that nigga dead. I knew I had to watch this out of town ass nigga I thought.” Very exciting.
Addicted to a Dirty South Thug, by Shan
There is both humor and gravity in this book. “I kept noticing Anastasia’s ass giving me a dry ass stank look” represents the funny, but my heart went out in commiseration and empathy for the character who, after everything good goes straight to hell, laments: “Things had been dope as fuck, too.” I feel you, bro.
Falling For My Side Nigga, by Racquel Williams
I had trouble relating to the characters here, although when one of them comments wistfully “Once in a while, a nigga needs quietness in his life,” I could do nothing but agree.
A Thug Worth Fighting For: A Tale of Our Passion, by Daijah Shine
Another Thug. “I sat outside [the] crib, smoking a blunt while waiting for his ass to come out.” (Wikipedia should have mentioned the ubiquitous drug culture in this genre.) And speaking of cribs, there’s a funny moment when one of the couples are getting ready to go out and the woman says to her man “Nigga, hurry up. I gotta stop by my mama crib before we go to the trap.” But my favorite passage is this piece of analysis and reflection: "Niggas be havin' shit confused. Just because a nigga act one way for his lady, don't mean I'm a pussy. I'll still fuck a nigga up if it’s necessary," Dontay exclaimed.” Outstanding!
Gangstress, by India, contains one astonishing moment in an otherwise disappointing book. I love strong women, but Gangstress herself was not near as exciting as I’d hoped. And I get distracted by errors like “Taylor made suits” and “except my condolences for...”, etc. But when Gangstress poses this rhetorical profundity---“What type of nigga would stop at the mall when he have a dead body in the trunk? I thought to myself.”---well, I just have to shake my head in awe.