Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight - MEG NOLA

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.

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