Dynasty by Dutch

Dynasty

by Dutch

Reviewed by Cherri Millard and Marisol Blanik
February 2010

Synopsis:

The Bells and Simmons are family. The Bells, a crime family in New York, have the cocaine market on lock. The Simmons, hailing from the South, reign supreme in heroin. Talks of joining forces are suddenly stalled when family patriarch Guy Simmons is gunned down. Suspicions fly. Jealousy breeds. The body count rises. Guy Simmons has created a legacy he wants to pass on to his two sons, Kevin and Tyquan. However, his womanizing ways have spilled over and jeopardizes all he's worked for. The mothers of his sons hate each other. Like mother, like son. Guy's shooting has ignited a new brotherly beef; a beef that could have deadly repercussions, especially when you have a family where the enemy may lie within.



Reviewed by: Cherri Millard

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What a dysfunctional tangled web Dynasty is and what a web it will be when you rush out to read this first installment of yet another saga.

Dutch pens another tale of betrayal, greed and deception; characters are involved in a dirty game where friendship counts for nothing. A twisted turn of events overlap each other in a narrative that brings readers from the present to a lengthy back story, that reads like a long drawn out flashback. Simply stated, Dynasty is an ironic dilemma: you absolutely must read the entire book to get the most out of it.

Two families—the Simmons and the Bells—have a lifetime of crime and secrets between them. The Simmons hail from the South and reign supreme in heroin and the Bells are from New York dealing heavy in the cocaine market. The thought of joining forces is put to a halt when the patriarch, Guy Simmons’ life is threatened. Guy is the controller and shot caller of the Simmons family and he wants to pass down the foundation he has built to his sons, Kevin and Tyquan. This leads to an all out war with the Wolf Pack Crew after suspicion leads them to thinking that they were responsible for the hit put on their father. The majority of the spotlight is focused on the Simmons family; you don’t get much from the Bells, though you get somewhat of a glimpse.

Victor “Vee” Murphy commands the crew called the Wolf Pack, who proves to be a nimble adversary for the Simmons. Each member wears a pendant that symbolizes their affiliation and it boosts their respect; the Wolf Pack Crew is in full effect. Vee is far from your average street-dealing hustler; this hazel-eyed bandit uses females as human shields, gives out $200,000 like its a stimulus package, will murder his very own henchmen at the drop of a dime to flush out any potential rats and picks up chicks at McDonalds without even batting an eye. Vee is your modern day ghetto superstar hood celebrity all in one. He does have his own past demons that catch up to him, and he pays the ultimate cost. Can you imagine losing your love and child, gaining a mother, finding a father and then killing your own brother? Let that marinate for a second.

What starts off as just another typical street tale of murder filled with sex, slowly crawls then, transforms into something worth so much more. Morals and values like sacrifice, survival, love and honor are explored on intense but yet subtle levels. The only issue is that you have to wait so long for this to kick in. Imagine watching runners in a marathon, they don’t turn it up until that very last stretch before the finish line. Only Dynasty shouldn’t read like a runners marathon. If you can manage to get halfway through it, you’ll be reading at full speed until the end. But is the story arc supposed to read that way? What ever happened to story pacing?

You will appreciate a series of unsuspected twists and turns. There were some spoilers sprinkled in the narrative. I’m not sure if this was intentional but it took away from the surprises the story could have offered.

This is not the Dutch/Kwame Teague I have come to know from the Dutch Trilogy. Not with the use of so many characters and lack of their development. I didn’t love or hate any of these characters. All I got was overly used slang, descriptions of clothing and jewelry. Though each of the supporting characters did have profiles, only they all painted the same exact visual in my mind: brown, mocha chocolate, hazel eyes, waves that make you seasick, oversized male private parts that reached from 8 to 14 inches. The sad thing is if I can remember such a thing as my previous statement, then we have a story that has a problem. Why was there such a focus on the size of a penis? I couldn’t get into the story due to those unnecessary distractions and illusions.

What did you like best about this book?
The twists, turns and the ending pages that concluded the story were respected.

What did you dislike about this book?
The endless descriptions of clothing and jewelry. This did nothing but drown out every aspect of the narrative and made for a very long and slow read, not to mention the tale is roughly 200 pages. It contained an inordinate amount of awkward and goofy sentences, which gave you the impression that you were reading a 400-page book. Try running straight with a ton of garbage and boulders in your way, that you have to constantly jump over to continue running. That’s a workout. Reading shouldn’t be a workout (a mental workout, yes) we have gyms for that.

There were some continuity issues that I noticed as well. For example, when Karrin got shot and was hospitalized, why was she sexing so soon after the next sequence of events, really? You just got shot and now you already sexing? There was also no real connection between the cousins, Karrin and Cat. They didn’t even acknowledge each other throughout the story, although their familial relationship was mentioned.

For the sake of literature and a book: I did not like the excessive use of slang. Yes, people do speak like that, but reading and hearing that is two different things. Just tone it down is all.

There is no need to hold the readers hand through everything. Explaining the common only infuriates readers. I almost put it down after this happened twice on the same page one right after the other. For example on page 82 it reads: “Since he wasn’t a wholesaler yet, meaning he didn’t sell large amounts of weight … Eddie taught him the valuable lesson of never sleeping where you shit, meaning never live in the same area you do dirt.”

Much of the dialogue was from cliché central, it read staged, rushed and in some instances it was very corny. The use of the word “trailed” was over used in the case of supporting a characters thought. Everybody’s thoughts seemed to trail off somewhere.

How can the author improve this book?
A total rework of the story and the need for an experienced editor would do this book justice. I would tone down the slang and clothing descriptions. Again, we need some serious editing here. Why not give it one last proofread before sending it to be printed? It seemed as if it was written in one draft, edited in one draft and then just sent to press.


Reviewed by: Marisol Blanik

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Dynasty by Dutch definitely brings the drama back to Street Literature in a hood soap-opera-ish sort of way. Two crime families, but only one real boss man Guy Simmons, and the saga begins.

It’s the Bells that run New York with cocaine and the Simmons keep it funky fresh in the South slanging heroin. As family always do, they begin to feud when Guy Simmons’ nephew Tito Bell, has a bright idea for a merger. Suddenly Guy Simmons is gunned down outside a local nightspot, as he lays in a coma it’s up to his sons to revenge his shooter no matter what. Dirty little secrets are revealed that threaten to undermine everything that Guy Simmons has worked for.

The Dons:

Guy Simmons: The leader of the infamous Simmons empire. Unfortunately for him when he was younger his womanizing behavior will soon come back to perhaps weaken and terrorize his reign as the ultimate crime family.

Kev Simmons: Guy Simmons’ oldest son and left in charge by his own accord vows to slay anybody he thinks has something to do with the unsuccessful hit on his dear father. He also has a love/hate relationship going on with his brother and his wife, which he stole from Ty.

Tyquan Simmons: Guy Simmons’ 2nd oldest son. Ty has no problem getting his hands dirty while he stands by silently hating his older brother, Kev, who he feels shouldn’t be the next in charge. He relentlessly searches for answers concerning the shooting attempt on his father’s life. As Ty plays I spy he uncovers a lot more than he is prepared to deal with.

Vee: The leader of the Wolf Pack and ex-friend of Tyquan. Vee has to bring it to the Simmons sooner than later, to simply stay alive as he dodges bullet after bullet. Both Ty and Kev feel as though Vee and his crew had something to do with their father’s shooting. They will stop at nothing until Vee and the entire Wolf Pack crew is dead.

Tito Bell: The leader of the Bell family with the bright idea to merge both family businesses as soon as humanly possible. But, Kev is really not trying to hear him whereas Ty thinks it’s a great idea.

The Divas:

Gloria Simmons: Guy’s ex-wife, Kev’s mother, and more times than not the head diva in charge.

Debra Simmons: Guys new wife and Tyquan’s mother, with plenty of secrets that she is not prepared to deal with when Pandora’s Box is opened.

Karrin Simmons: Kev’s wife and Tyquan’s ex-girlfriend who just happens to be still in love with Tyquan.

Theresa Bell: Tito’s mother and Gloria’s sister-in-law.

Asia and Brooklyn Bell: Tito’s twin sisters from the Tri-State area that can shoot a gun better than most men. Each of them boasting the looks of a 5 star chick.

Shantelle: A blast from the past that disappeared almost as quickly as she appeared. But out of sight does not mean out of mind in all cases.

Cat: Vee’s baby mama, the beat to his heart, and Karrin’s cousin.

With a spectacular cast of characters Dutch introduces his readers to an urban soap opera. There are so many twists and turns because the characters know they only have one life to live. At times Kev and Tyquan may get antsy because they are young and restless. But, it’s nothing like Gloria and Debra as they pull off bold and beautiful exploits as they compete for Guy’s attention. In this book you get more family feud than the game shows and before you know it … game over!

What did you like best about this book?
The overall storyline was fresh and interesting. The ending was appreciated and suspenseful.

What did you dislike about this book?
Dynasty lacked content editing, copy editing, and character development. There was also too much useless slang and bling bling. The story simply was not reader friendly at all. Dynasty went back and forth from the past to the present, which was the worst and made for a very awkward read. The present had this hood shoot ‘em up bang bang I’m a gangsta type voice and vibe. And, the past had the powerful and veteran voice of the author we have grown to embrace and love, Dutch/Kwame Teague.

As a veteran author whom much is given, much is expected. Dynasty has the potential to be a distinguished and notable Street Lit classic series. However, the foundation of the first book came up short. I had to force myself to keep reading until I reached page 100 or so and from there I enjoyed the read. In the beginning each time I put the book down it never called me back.

The scenes were not flushed out properly. The majority of the scenes were simply too short, lacked detail, and a few were just too unrealistic. As a reader, if someone dies the author owes the readers more than one or two paragraphs. I simply needed and expected so much more. I also felt as though a lot of scenes were forced and could have been feed to the reader in a more creative way.

Within the pages of Dynasty the author did not reveal too much about the Bell family. There should have been an equal balance between both families. I already know by being introduced to the Simmons family first it will be difficult and a chore to read a second book that focuses primarily on the Bell family. I know this is a series but the first book should have set a firm and exciting foundation, which it didn’t. Quality trumps quantity.

The lack of critical care has resulted in a great injustice to author Dutch, his readers and his legacy as a writer. By releasing Dynasty in this condition, the players behind the scenes acted as fans and not publishers.

How can the author improve this book?
The back and forth between the past and the present could have been done differently. The past could have easily been revealed via flash backs and conversations, which would have ultimately made the book so much more enjoyable.

Better character development would have rounded the story out and made me either love or hate one or more characters. I wanted to know what type of men Kev and Tyquan were and what they stood for beyond the streets. I saw them in motion for an entire book but know so little about them and how they were raised. I also found myself wanting to know more about the women that were connected to the younger Simmons’ men. Cat and Karrin may have been minor characters but connected to major players nonetheless.

An editor dedicated to the content of the storyline alone would have been a definite plus and upgrade for Dynasty not to mention the copyediting notes that were left in the book. A great book requires great writing, creativity in revealing key information, and completed scenes that can carry a book. Dynasty lacked all. A great idea and storyline means absolutely nothing when it’s rushed and the key elements are missing.

Although Dynasty by Dutch was a rough read due to the horrible editing, uncompleted lack luster scenes and the back/forth between the past and the present, I am still a ride or die Dutch fan. I hope he brings it in the second installment of the Dynasty book series and redeems himself as the great writer and storyteller that we know him to be.


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