I had the pleasure of meeting Mario D. King while he was promoting his debut novel at the Black Writers and Book Clubs Literacy Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. Mario was also honored for his community service to literacy. His novel The Crisis Before Midlife is a romance and while it has some flaws the author has done a commendable job as a male writer in the romance genre showing what a man wants in romance.
The protagonist a young man, Malcolm Turner is a teacher, an aspiring writer and a single parent. The Crisis Before Midlife is a romance chronicling his search for love. It’s often a given what the female protagonist wants, that perfect man, the perfect love, a home and a lasting relationship. And Malcolm Turner is no different. Malcolm an eligible bachelor has the same desires but too many distractions i.e. women and the remnants of too many failed relationships. So when Malcolm finds the one relationship he wants to work it gets derailed when an ex comes on the scene. The resulting assignation destroys his chance or does it? Malcolm has hopes and plans for the future and a young daughter who needs a mother.
There are few men writing romance literature though it is the most lucrative genre of all the contemporary books sold today. And there is a reason men don’t dominate in this field. It requires delving into deep emotional territory an experience men often find saccharin and sappy. Mario King has done a good job of showing what a man wants in a relationship and the challenges a man faces when woman find him irresistible. King captures his home town Memphis with vivid descriptions of local spots.
Authors like Mario are helping to take urban fiction to a higher level. This is a very good first book but I had some problems and they were all editorial. The first glaring warning came in the Author’s Note stating the book is a fictional novel, the classic faux pas of an untrained editor. Those in the know, know “fictional novel” is a no-no redundant term, all novels are fiction. Also some of author’s fashion descriptions and music are not organic to the scenes and often unnecessary and will date this book. I also thought the stylistic choice in diction could have been improved with a competent experienced editor.
Nevertheless kudos to Mario D. King. All in all it’s a good and interesting read though slow at times. It could have been better had he amped up the conflict. The few flaws I found could have been addressed by any good developmental editor. I look forward to Mario’s next book. I think he has a great potential and I like would like to follow his development. I give it 4 stars.