Praise for Summer Brenner's writing:

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

from READ LIKE THE WIND (Molly Young) April 2019

I-5 by Summer Brenner (Fiction)

I love micro-genres. . . . My favorite micro-genre of book is "Hard-boiled California sex trauma novellas." This little-known gem about a Russian victim voyaging through the Central Valley is sleek and significant. It is also blurbed by R. Crumb.

VOTED TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2009 - Los Angeles Mystery Bookstore

"Summer Brenner's noir novel "I-5" was born on November
24, 1999, the same day a Berkeley motorist spotted Lakireddy Bali Reddy
carrying an unconscious female into a van." - Justin Berton, review on SFGate, September 10, 2009

“My current publisher crush has got to be PM Press’s Switchblade line” By Jedidiah-Ayres

" 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

"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, screenwriter, poet, novelist, including Wild at Heart

"....Completely outside my normal reading pattern, I found myself staying up one night with a quick-read-page turner: Summer Brenner's I-5, a hard-boiled feminist thriller....Well-written, without a superfluous word, it's a big chase, practically a movie on the page...." - Ned Sublette, musician, performer, and author of Cuba And Its Music, The World That Made New Orleans, and The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans

"...We learn Anya's story in layers, and we learn her character in actions that are never quite what we expect them to be. She kept me guessing all the way through this hallucinatory shadow-world tour." - Jedidiah Ayre, Ransom Notes: The BN Mystery Blog

“I-5 offers an unflinching and unsentimental examination of the emotional wreckage created by sex trafficking. When Anya, a survivor of this brutal industry, is enlisted to help her tormentors "break" a difficult new girl, the trip she takes to another city offers her an exhilarating glimpse of freedom. Along the way, Anya's flooded by painful memories that reawaken emotions she'd stifled long ago. As the journey goes off-course, Anya begins testing the boundaries of her captivity and entertaining thoughts of revenge. Steeped in tension and biting black humor, this noir road-novel-cum-character-study is an impressive debut by a promising new voice.” - by Garrett Kenyon, Literary Kicks blog

"....Brenner did not set out to update Ivan Desinovich [by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn], but the similarities are unmistakable. In both novels, the main characters are snatched from their families and delivered to remote places that function by a harsh new set of rules....[B]oth characters also exhibit a sense of agency that helps them retain their humanity in brutish surroundings....Amidst all the difficult questions, the lively depiction of villains and antiheroes in I-5 make Brenner's novel a thrill to read." - Matthew Hirsch, ZNet (also posted by mattgonzalez)

"....It is a hairy and perfect novel....It does not hurt that Anya is the heroine to end all heroines. Brenner's book is an antidote for a wide range of complaints." -

"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

"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...." - Denise Hamilton, editor of Los Angeles Noir and author of the LA Times bestseller, The Last Embrace

"...a novel that will beat you up - chances are you deserve it. 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. Roll over Willeford, tell Goodis the news." - Owen Hill, poet and crime writer of The Incredible Double and The Chandler Apartments

"...Having now read - and completely enjoyed I-5 - I still think Summer Brenner is a poet, but one with notable narrative skills and a deep commitment both to her characters and to justice...I-5 is in this sense a political novel, though Brenner never lets this obstruct our view of her character. Anya is someone you will never forget." - Ron Silliman,

"...I-5 is a very smart and conscientious book. But that doesn't mean that it isn't also an immensely enjoyable book. Brenner is an elegant writer, with an ear for the kind of startling turn of phrase that catches the reader off-guard and reawakens them to the force of her story...." - Benjamin Whitmer, INDenver Times

"I-5 is a wholly original piece of dark fiction that never goes where you expect it to and ventures into uncharted waters. It's uncompromising in ways that should be exceptionally appealing to readers of dark fiction, I-5 is as tough a crime tale as you're likely to find anywhere." - BSC Review

"Summer Brenner provides an insider's look at the seedy world of sexual slavery....Nothing gets sugar-coated, yet Brenner shows sincere sympathy and warmth for her characters. I found it hard to stop turning the pages...." - David Batstone, author of Not for Sale, founder of the Not for Sale campaign

"....a journey marred with sex and crimes that exposes the harsh reality of the invisibility of women, immigrants, and the marginalized, struggling to survive." – Opal Palmer Adisa, poet, fiction writer, professor at California College of the Arts

"Brenner says I-5, her eighth novel, was inspired by the events of 1999 in Berkeley when a 17-year-old Indian girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning....She and other teenagers had been brought to the United States to work as cheap labor and sex providers....but Brenner took the incident many steps further, a tribute to her social conscience, especially her identification with immigrants and other marginalized groups, her feminism, and her considerable writing skills." - Estelle Jelinek, The Berkeley Daily Planet

"Her prose style is a mirror reflection of the interstate: parched, fast, and tense, with an emotional timbre that matches the velocity of the plot." - Rachel Swan, East Bay Express

"....Brenner braves a subject matter that is not easy to embrace, and she manages to create a character that is neither cliche nor uninspiring. I-5 moves at a clipped pace towards its conclusion, and the reader is wholly invested in finding out how Anya finally resolves her life." - Megan Burns, Gently Read Literature

"...a grim and gripping noir novel....Brenner writes boldly and with seething clarity...." - Nina Sankovitch, Read All Day

Nearly Nowhere

“I haven't read any of Summer Brenner's many books, but she comes highly recommended. And after reading her novel Nearly Nowhere, the latest Switchblade release, I can see why.” - Andrew Nette on and magazine, Crime Factory. Full review of Nearly Nowhere:

“With her beautifully wrought sentences and dialogue that bring characters alive, Summer Brenner weaves a gripping and dark tale of mysterious crime based in spiritually and naturally rich northern New Mexico and beyond.” - Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and writer, author of Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico

“Summer Brenner's Nearly Nowhere has the breathless momentum of the white-water river her characters must navigate en route from a isolated village in New Mexico to a neo-Nazi camp in Idaho. A flawed but loving single mother, a troubled teen girl, a good doctor with a secret, a murderous sociopath -- this short novel packs enough into its pages to fight well above its weight class.” - Michael Harris, author of The Chieu Hoi Saloon

“To the party, Summer Brenner brings a poet's ear, a woman's awareness, and a soulful intent, and her attention has enriched every manner of literary endeavor graced by it.” - Jim Nisbet, author of A Moment of Doubt

“It's because the characters are so richly drawn, the writing so elegant, the rural Western landscape so exquisitely described, that you don't realize at first what Brenner has done to you; how she's loaded up the dory, strapped you in, and loosed you down this terrifying river. And, then, of course, it's too late. Nearly Nowhere is a beautiful and chilling novel.” - Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike