On April 15, Dickey released his 21st novel, "A Wanted Woman" (Dutton Adult, $26.95), in which a super-assassin and "woman of a thousand faces" embarks on a voyage of self-discovery in Barbados.
"With almost a dozen books that have consistently made The New York Times Bestseller List, Eric Jerome Dickey is one of the most popular writers of contemporary urban fiction in the nation," said Wang-Ying Glasgow, the library's adult services coordinator and Bookstock organizer. A decade ago, in a profile of Dickey under the headline "Chick-Lit King Imagines His Way Into Women's Heads," The New York Times, quoting his publisher, said Dickey was selling more than 500,000 books a year.
Dickey, 52, grew up on Kansas Street in southwest Memphis and graduated from Carver High School, then got a degree in computer technology from then Memphis State University before moving to Los Angeles and beginning a career in writing.
Glasgow said Bookstock is designed "to promote local authors as well as to cast a wider net" to explore a variety of genres. On goodreads.com, one early review of Dickey's latest novel said, "There was a plethora of suspense, violence, gore, and the blood flowed freely." Another checked "the steamy sex scenes," but found "scenes of torture and gang raping" disturbing. Glasgow noted that Dickey's keynote talk will be announced over the library's intercom as an event for adult audiences.
Dickey's talk from 1 to 2 p.m. will be followed at 2:15 p.m. by "Summertime Is Crime Time." Authors on that panel include Megan Abbott, whose novel "Dare Me" was one of Amazon's Best Books of 2012; Ace Atkins, the Oxford, Miss.-based author who will publish both "The Forsaken" and "Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot" this year; Michael Kardos, co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University and author of "The Three-Day Affair"; and Scott Phillips, whose debut novel "The Ice Harvest" was the basis for a movie directed by Harold Ramis and starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.
A panel at 11 a.m. will focus on international spy thrillers. "From the South to Around the World" will feature Dickey and Mark Greaney, the Memphis-based author who has written four books in a series of thrillers about ex-CIA-agent-turned-assassin Court Gentry, The Gray Man. Greaney's lastest Court Gentry book, "Dead Eye," was published in December, on the same day his third book written with the late Tom Clancy was released. Greaney's collaborations with Clancy include "Locked On," "Threat Vector" and "Command Authority" (Putnam, $29.95). Also on the panel is Keith Thomson, whose novels include "Once a Spy" and "7 Grams of Lead."
Deborah Johnson, who wrote "The Air Between Us" and "The Secret of Magic," will be interviewed for the library's "Book Talk" program by Stephen Usery at 11:30 a.m.
"True Memphis Stories" will spotlight local authors Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Wei Chen, Dan Conaway, Marie Pizano and Blanche Jordan Scott at 11 a.m. in the library's Memphis Room. G. Wayne Dowdy, manager of the library's history department and author of "On This Day in Memphis History," will moderate.
Other local authors on the schedule include Vincent Astor ("Images of America: Memphis Movie Theatres"), Wei Chen ("Around the World in 69 days") and Barry Wolverton, whose "Neversink" for young readers was one of the Literacy Mid-South 2014 "Books of Choice."
Along with books and authors, visitors at the event will find cooking demonstrations, face painting, live music, balloon artistry, a scavenger hunt and food trucks.