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I-5

A Novel of Crime, Transport, and Sex

A novel of crime, transport, and sex, I-5 tells the bleak and brutal story of Anya and her eponymous journey north from Los Angeles to Oakland on the interstate that bisects the Central Valley of California.

A novel of crime, transport, and sex, I-5 tells the bleak and brutal story of Anya and her journey north from Los Angeles to Oakland on the interstate that bisects the Central Valley of California.

Anya is the victim of a deep deception. Someone has lied to her; and because of this lie, she is kept under lock and key, used by her employer to service men, and indebted for the privilege. In exchange, she lives in the United States and fantasizes on a future American freedom. Or as she remarks to a friend, “Would she rather be fucking a dog…or living like a dog?” In Anya’s world, it’s a reasonable question.
Much of I-5 transpires on the eponymous interstate. Anya travels with her “manager” and driver from Los Angeles to Oakland. It’s a macabre journey: a drop at Denny’s, a bad patch of fog, a visit to a “correctional facility,” a rendezvous with an organ grinder, and a dramatic entry across Oakland’s city limits.

“Insightful, innovative and riveting. After its lyrical beginning inside Anya’s head, I-5 shifts momentum into a rollicking gangsters-on-the-lam tale that is in turns blackly humorous, suspenseful, heartbreaking and always populated by intriguing characters. Anya is a wonderful, believable heroine, her tragic tale told from the inside out, without a shred of sentimental pity, which makes it all the stronger. A twisty, fast-paced ride you won’t soon forget.” –Denise Hamilton, author of the L.A.Times bestseller The Last Embrace.

“I’m in awe. I-5 moves so fast you can barely catch your breath. It’s as tough as tires, as real and nasty as road rage, and best of all, it careens at breakneck speed over as many twists and turns as you’ll find on The Grapevine. What a ride! I-5’s a hard-boiled standout.” –Julie Smith, editor of New Orleans Noir and author of the Skip Langdon and Talba Wallis crime novel series

“In I-5, Summer Brenner deals with the onerous and gruesome subject of sex trafficking calmly and forcefully, making the reader feel the pain of its victims. The trick to forging a successful narrative is always in the details, and I-5 provides them in abundance. This book bleeds truth—after you finish it, the blood will be on your hands.” — Barry Gifford, author, poet and screenwriter

“I-5 cuts through layers of flesh to reveal the true heart of noir: That for every American dream there are a thousand nightmares. I have read no better novel in the genre.” –Owen Hill, poet and author of the Clay Blackburn crime novel series

“I-5 has a quality very rare in literature: a subtle, dark humor that’s only perceivable when one goes deep into the heart of this world’s absurd tragedy, or tragic absurdity.” —R. Crumb

Summer Brenner was raised in Georgia and migrated west, first to New Mexico and eventually to northern California where she has been a long-time resident. She has published books of both poetry and fiction and given scores of readings in the United States, France, and Japan. In addition to I-5, her nine books include: Ivy, Tale of a Homeless Girl in San Francisco, Dancers & the Dance, and The Soft Room.

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