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As usual while in the library I look to their featured stands and see what is new. The other day I saw the cover of this book, “A Good Man” by J.J. Murray and thought the color was stunning and even the cover model looked flawless and so I read the back of the book and was immediately hooked from the blurb.
Sonya Richardson, retired WNBA player who prefers to be alone and watch Man v. Food gets a call one day that she has been entered into a new reality show called “Hunk or Punk”- she has the looks, the charm, and…she is forty. But at least she can pass for twenty-nine. And the hunks? All young, black men willing to woo her.
And one white man.
Here is where it gets even more interesting: John James Bond is the former pastor of an AME church and when he is contacted to be on the show, he hesitates and is right to assume he will be the white guy to take the fall in less than four weeks. However, once he meets Sonya he finds himself letting down all his guards and it isn’t hard to do since he is honest. And Sonya, surprisingly, let’s down her shield as well and welcomes his comforting presence. He is quickly becoming a true anomaly in all this. And a fierce competition.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the dialog. I never read a book by J.J. Murray before but he has an ear for conversation and reality. A few readers(okay maybe most) could be turned off by the many “ums” in the book, but let me explain: The term was endearing and it was cute. The “ums” were like mantras and little innocent moments. Jewels even.The two main characters can not help but like one another in a house full of men who could be seen as “in your face” type however when John speaks with Sonya, it is personal, they relax around each other and their secret flirtation turns into all out seduction using nothing but their words of honesty.
Never had I read a book that actually takes place on a reality show. This book must have been inspired by pieces from “I Love New York”, complete with obstacle course challenges, cook-offs, singing competitions and Sonya’s family member coming to regulate with a sniping attitude and the fact that they all live in a mansion together-yeah pretty similar to ILNY.
The good part is that Murray has created a sensitive, sweet, intelligent personality for Sonya. She is not a “Sista with an attitude” but she knows exactly what she wants and she gets it too. Although she is from North Carolina and John is from Burnt Corn, Alabama(Burnt Corn? Wow, that was funny)- they find themselves attracted to the sandy beach of LA catching a sunrise (so sweet!)as opposed to being in the mansion, which is filled with tension and lies.
I see myself reading more from Murray. He is a writer with a heart for dialogue and infusing fiction with reality. Certainly the characters’ charm wooed me anyway. Sonya was sweet but confident while John was a strong man with a heart for God and where God places him, this could be why some of the men at the mansion couldn’t really be too mad at John…okay some. The entire book felt like a reality television show except with text and it kept me up well into the night because I had to know who Sonya will choose and if any other subplots would ever be solved.
It doesn’t need to be said that Sonya is black and John is white because the book wasn’t really focused on color although the topic came up a few times. The focus was on the Spirit of the people in this work and if you love a good romance(and reality shows) you will love “A Good Man”
A Good Man, J.J. Murray