I-5: A Novel of Crime, Transport, and Sex

From I-5: A Novel of Crime, Transport, and Sex by Summer Brenner:

“I want you to eat, Anya. You need to eat because already you have problem with your weight. You scrawny, Anya. You went and got too skinny. We don’t want you skinny. You don’t look good like that. Your face too thin, make your skin bad. It’s jaundice color, your skin. You need to put meat on your bones. Bring her a roast beef sandwich and potato chips too.”

Anya protests. “I’m a vegetarian now.”

Kupkin chuckles. “You aren’t anything, Anya. You aren’t anything unless I tell you. Vegetarian? Where you get these kind of ideas? Vegetarian is for two kinds of people, Anya. Either you grow up believing you not supposed to kill things. Like Hindu in India. They don’t kill cows, but they kill Pakistanis. So what that tell you about vegetarians? Anyways I know you, Anya. I know where you were raised. You’re not fucking Hindu.”

Kupkin laughs. Drago echoes him.

“As for other kind of vegetarian, it’s somebody who thinks meat bad for you. Like something wrong with it. You know how many people starving around world? You probably don’t know number, but you used to be one of them. They starving for meat. Meat is what everybody wants. Meat absolutely best thing you can eat. Like nice car for your body. You can’t live right without it.”

“I don’t like the taste of meat,” Anya complains.

“You totally in wrong fucking business then.” Drago cracks himself up.

“I’m not in the business,” she whispers.

A dark, disturbing look at an issue that is all too real. Summer Brenner does a fantastic job with her characters, and in showing the world they inhabit without preaching or drowning us in exposition. It’s a bleak read that is probably too much for the squeamish . . . but it is also darkly comedic in many places. I loved it. Switchblade Press consistently delivers the goods in original crime/noir stuff that stays away from the “usual” fare. I’ll read anything they put out.


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