Congratulations to my new friend and talented author Aya de Leon on her debut novel, UPTOWN THIEF. I will do a gush-fest below– and mean every word– but it’s a bit doomed to read like a paid advertisement, so before I do I’d like you to read this article from THE WASHINGTON POST.
They stole the point I planned to make today. Aya’s genius with UPTOWN THIEF is in creating entertainment with accessible social insight. Never during the read do you feel you are being preached to, you’re too consumed with the action of the plot and hot sex scenes…
…but afterwards, when the book is over and you think back on it, it’s not the heists and romance that stick with you. Those aspects might make you pick it up in the first place, and certainly keep you frantically flipping through pages, but the book’s hangover is in its unique portrayal of sex work. Aya delivers strong female participants and a version of the world where, with health and safety provided and enforced, sex work– which has existed as a form of employment since the beginning of documented time– is a choice versus a destination for the destitute alone.
UPTOWN THIEF has a bit of everything– action, sex, smarts, an underlying point. I’d describe it as a women’s ocean 11, but with more at stake than just money and revenge. It was a much enjoyed fast, fun read.