Scary, sad, and way, way out there, Leroy’s picaresque debut novel follows a young boy through southern truckstops, where “lot lizards” turn tricks for drivers whose tastes run from women to transvestites to boys in jeans. Sarah is actually the name of our hero’s mother, and in the beginning they both work for Glad, a fairly nice pimp who treats his whores decently and serves them up to a not-too-rough clientele. But when the boy appropriates his mother’s name and gender (at least in appearance) to go wandering, he winds up in the clutches of a really bad guy named Le Loup. The gory details of how “Sarah” is abused by this monster and his cohorts will come as no surprise to those familiar with Leroy’s journalistic pieces (in Spin, Nerve, New York Press) under the pseudonym Terminator, some of which dealt with his own experiences. It’s disturbing to encounter a 20-year-old who knows this much about life’s seamy side, but Leroy depicts his damaged, degraded characters with considerable tenderness.
Not exactly a laugh riot, but not as unrelievedly sordid as a plot synopsis might suggest.