cover image Broiler


Eli Cranor. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-590-1

Edgar winner Cranor (Ozark Dogs) delivers another top-notch Southern noir, this time centered on two families who cross paths at an Arkansas chicken processing plant. Luke Jackson hopes his successful efforts to increase productivity at Demter Foods’ largest poultry facility will land him a promotion. His ambition comes at the expense of his overworked employees, who aren’t allowed overtime pay or bathroom breaks. After Gabriela Menchaca becomes so dehydrated it causes her to miscarry, her partner, Edwin Saucedo, organizes a strike and files complaints with the company against Luke. When Luke fires Edwin in retaliation, putting his and Gabriela’s already fragile finances in further jeopardy, Edwin devises a desperate plan to win his job back and pay his rent. Before long, that scheme—which targets Luke’s wife and young son—leads to devastating violence. Cranor depicts the inhumane conditions of America’s industrial food system with a vividness worthy of Upton Sinclair, and he matches the novel’s gritty realism with an anguishing and suspenseful revenge plot. Cranor continues to impress. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management. (July)