(come on...what did you think I was talking about?)
The Men Who Sleep With My Husband
by Alicia Coston
Indigo Press 2008
Are you in the mood for some trashy fun? I mean really trashy? I’m talking Dynasty* meets The Real Housewives of New Jersey on the set of the Jerry Springer Show trashy? Then you’ve got to read "The Men Who Sleep with My Husband", by Alicia Coston.
I picked this book up for my kindle (for free, of course) because…well, who could resist a title like that? And in case you think the title is just overly dramatic hyperbole, let me assure you, the very first scene of the book will disabuse you of that notion (although, to be fair, the title is euphemistic – there’s not a lot of ‘sleeping’ going on). But I get ahead of myself. Let’s start with a brief synopsis, then we’ll meet some of the characters.
Brief synopsis: A woman discovers her husband is cheating on her (with men) and she takes a hit out on his lovers.
Simple enough, yes?
No. Not simple at all. This story is a big bowl full of crazy…and I mean that in the best way possible.
Almost without exception, every single character that’s introduced ends up being coincidentally connected – in some ridiculous way – to the principals of the story. It’s outlandish and barely believable and a whole lot of fun!
To start, we have Lavender (yes, her name is Lavender; I am not making this up), the central character and the cuckquean (I’m not making that up either; google it) implied in the title.
Lavender’s husband, Quincy, is cheating on her with another man. Lavender’s husband is also the pastor of their church. And the man he’s having an affair with is one of the deacons. She walks in on the deacon fellating her husband…in the pulpit…in the very first sentence of the book!!! (I told you this was awesome).
Lavender manages to keep her cool long enough to flee the church unnoticed, but not long enough to avoid rear-ending an off-duty cop while she erratically drives home. This point – where we meet the cop and his passenger – is the place to start paying attention, because it’s where the coincidental connections start.
Okay, I was going to do a vague-ish (so as not to spoil the story) breakdown of who all these people are and how they are connected, but that’ll take too long and it’s late (3:30am) and I’m lazy. So, since I highly doubt any of you are actually going to read this book, I’m just going to shout SPOILER ALERT and dive into it…
So Lavender, unwilling to face the shame and scandal if the truth came out – she is the First Lady of her church, after all – decides to hire a hitwoman (named Dulce) to kill her husband’s lovers and frame her husband for their murders…thereby creating an even bigger scandal…which would only reflect badly on him and not at all affect her or their teenaged son…? I’m not really following her logic here…
Unfortunately, the plan backfires almost right away. Dulce offs the deacon, but before Lavender can start planting the evidence Dulce gives her, the police arrest the deacon’s widow. Of course, the lead officer on the case happens to be the detective Lavender rear-ended. Oh! And she’s having an affair with him as well!
It only gets more complicated, so try to keep up!
The cop, Tai, had been having a brief fling with a girl named Zoe (his passenger when he was rear-ended) who he picked up at a bar. What he didn’t know was that Zoe was actually 17, had been dating Danny (the son of Sargeant Garcia, his hated rival) and coincidentally went to high school with Lavender’s son, Jalen (with whom she later became friends).
Also Zoe’s dad, Tom, had coincidentally gone to college with Lavender’s husband Quincy. Tom and Quincy had dated for two years until Tom’s father found out, beat the crap out of him and made them break up. Oddly enough (or maybe not so odd), at a later point in the book, Quincy and Tom reconnect, and end up kissing. Jalen walks in on them, flips out, and ends up beating the crap out of Tom as well.
(By the way, since this book is so ridiculous, I won’t get into the extremely problematic situation of having a “weak” “gay” character whose sole purpose is to serve as a literal punching bag upon which the “strong”, “conflicted” straight men can work out their issues with regards to what is and what is not “acceptable” male sexuality and behaviour)
Had enough yet? No? Good, because there’s more!
Tai – who’s falling in love with Lavender – has an “evil” ex-wife, Mena, who divorced him because he was “married” to his job and therefore not paying enough attention to her. Turns out she’d been having an affair…with his dad!! And the best part? Apparently, on more than one occasion, their daughter Sabine had heard her mom and grandfather getting it on!!
There are several other side stories that get dragged into the mix:
- Quincy’s affair with Madam Woo, the drag queen who’s also a prostitute – though Quincy doesn’t realize this until he gets a post-coital payment request (which he refuses to make, until Madame Woo and her “butch dyke” pimp, Sonny, beat the crap out of him. But don’t worry, they get their come-uppance, too. Dulce kills Woo, Sonny and Sonny’s girlfriend).
- Zoe’s therapist, Denard (who coincidentally went to high school with Quincy and had been Quincy’s first sexual experience) who shows up towards the end of the book and outs Quincy and denounces him as a hypocrite in front of his entire congregation.
- Dulce the hitwoman, first being blackmailed by her mother (Dulce takes a contract out on her and has her killed) then being “unmasked” by Tai when she coincidentally saves his daughter from an attempted kidnapping. He let’s her go – on the condition that she leave town and never come back – because all of the people she’d killed had “deserved it”.
- Lavender’s decision not to frame her husband for the murders, but rather her best friend Corrine’s philandering husband Neil, who gave Corrine HIV and, later, attempts to rape Lavender.
Whew! Okay, I’m done. There’s only so much ridiculousness even I can take. If you’re actually interested in knowing what happens at the end (here’s a hint: two characters die and a third gets a “new beginning”), I suggest waiting for the Lifetime Movie to come out. Although…since the “cast” is 95% black, it’ll probably air on BET or on Oprah’s network …probably…
Or, more realistically, Tyler Perry will make it into a feature film and he himself will play the role of Lavender in drag.
I would TOTALLY pay to see that movie!
…at any rate, I’ll keep my eyes peeled and let you know if/when they make the movie and where it’s playing…
In the meantime, stay away from this book. It’s ridiculous…
…though, if you must read it, I can “loan” it to you via my kindle…
*for those of you born after 1990, Dynasty was a prime-time soap opera on the ABC network; it was basically the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but with
good real actors.