I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
In the not-to-distant future, things in Southern California look a little different than they do now. Everything is taken to the extreme, but this isn't exactly a good thing and many people suffer from the effects. Ernesto is a product of the prison system and some sort of genetic engineering that they test on the inmates there. After getting knifed in the throat, Ernesto has some magic worked on him by the doctors at J. Smyrna and is subsequently released as a success story. Ernesto works as a bouncer at a bar near his home. Madeline frequents the bar and hits on any guy for a place to stay and any cash they might have. When Madeline witnesses a bank robbery committed by a high school friend of hers, she thinks she has found a new way to make easy money and has just the friend to help her do it. However, the plan doesn't go smoothly and Madeline and Ernesto both find out just what the J. Smyrna Transfection Lab and Corrections Management has been up to.
A dark and heavy tale about what happens to people who life has forgotten, people who believe they have nothing left to lose. I was struck by how little I liked any of the characters. Madeline, Jake, and Blondie were all deplorable. Ernesto had redeeming qualities, but a dark past. What kept me reading was the interest in all of the characters motivations as well as what exactly happened to Ernesto in prison. I do wish there was a little more depth to the setting, some backstories and how exactly J. Smyrna was pulling off what they were able to achieve. Since things worked slightly differently in this world, I felt just a little lost at times; although, this is a shorter story and can easily be read in one sitting. Overall, an unconventional story featuring characters that usually go unnoticed.