The author Jerome Dickey, who was a common feature on the best-sellers list for more than 20 years, has sadly passed away at the age of 59.
The US writer created 30 novels about thrilling daring adventures and heart pounding romances that revolved around young African American characters.
He also wrote a series of Marvel comics about a love story between X-Men’s Storm and the Black Panther.
“His work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world,” his publicist Becky Odell told USA Today.
Dickey was born in Memphis, Tennessee and began his working life as a software developer for an aerospace industry. When he was laid off from that job though Dickey found his true calling and took him writing.
He first gained prominence in the 1990’s during a book for African-American literature. His debut novel ‘Sister, Sister’ explored the lives and relationships of three siblings. It was a powerful and moving portrayal of African-American life and was recently named one of the 50 Most Impactful Black Books of the Last 50 Years by Essence magazine.
He was often praised for his ability to write “believable and powerful” female characters. Indeed his female characters were so engaging he quickly gained a huge female readership, leading to the New York Times calling him the “chick lit king.”
Calvin Reid, an editor at trade magazine Publishers Weekly, said: “He captures black language and black middle-class characters with more depth than you often see in commercial fiction.”
He soon branched out into stories of crime and suspense, though he never left the steamy tangled relationships he had become known for.
Dickey had four daughters but avoided basing his plots on his own life. “I avoid my life,” he once said. “It bores me. Trust me. A book about me would be a snoozefest.”
His final novel, The Son of Mr Suleman, will be published in April.