SODOM ROAD EXIT
Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press (APRIL) Softcover $18.95 (404pp), 978-1-55152-716-1
Amber Dawn’s Sodom Road Exit combines supernatural erotic tension with the power of love, community, and acceptance, all set against former funhouse glory.
The past meets the present with a searing intensity against the backdrop of a bankrupt Canadian amusement park. Formerly a longtime Lake Erie tourist spot, Crystal Beach has closed, leaving behind a bleaker landscape, an economic void, and a restless and fiery ghost named Etta.
At the center of the novel is Starla Mia Martin. She’s in her early twenties, cynical yet poetic, gay but not fully out. In the summer of 1990, Starla finds herself overwhelmed with debt and forced to move back in with her free-spirited mother. Despite Starla’s history of being sexually abused and her tendency to see life’s darker side, she has a strong will and her own unique charisma.
When Starla takes a job at a campground area near Crystal Beach’s shuttered remains, her magnetism and energy help her to bond with the local residents. That same life force appeals to the ghost of Etta to the point of spiritual and sexual possession. Like Starla, Etta was once an attractive and intense gay young woman. A “professional screamer” on Crystal Beach’s Cyclone roller coaster, Etta thrilled the crowd with her excited cries. Etta also worked as a prostitute before her untimely death during World War II, turning tricks for men yet feeling true desire for women.
Alternating between 1990s life and recollections of Crystal Beach in its heyday, Sodom Road Exit creates two compelling fictional worlds, along with a supernatural erotic tension as Etta’s powers of seduction threaten Starla’s first significant lesbian relationship. With vivid settings and quirky, memorable characters, the novel pairs the edgy intrigue of a ghost story with the grounded warmth of people coming together to love, support, and accept each other.