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Broiler by Eli Cranor





About Broiler

The troubles of two desperate families—one white, one Mexican American—converge in the ruthless underworld of an Arkansas chicken processing plant in this new thriller from the award-winning author of Don’t Know Tough.

Gabriela Menchaca and Edwin Saucedo are hardworking, undocumented employees at the Detmer Foods chicken plant in Springdale, Arkansas, just a stone’s throw from the trailer park where they’ve lived together for seven years. While dealing with personal tragedies of their own, the young couple endures the brutal, dehumanizing conditions at the plant in exchange for barebones pay.

When the plant manager, Luke Jackson, fires Edwin to set an example for the rest of the workers—and to show the higherups that he’s ready for a major promotion—Edwin is determined to get revenge on Luke and his wife, Mimi, a new mother who stays at home with her six-month-old son. Edwin’s impulsive action sets in motion a devastating chain of events that illuminates the deeply entrenched power dynamics between those who revel at the top and those who toil at the bottom.

From the nationally bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Don’t Know Tough and Ozark Dogs comes another edge-of-your-seat noir thriller that exposes the dark, bloody heart of life on the margins in the American South and the bleak underside of a bygone American Dream.



Praise For Broiler

CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2024
Deadly Pleasures’ Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2024

“Cranor paints a vivid, devastating portrait of the cruelty surrounding an imbalanced system, all while maintaining a wicked level of tension that drives this powerful story forward. He is a writer at the top of his game.”
—Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads

“Not many writers would draw inspiration from such disparate subjects as postpartum anxiety and the squalid conditions in a chicken plant, and fewer still could do the two together justice, but Eli Cranor does one better: he makes them roar. Broiler is the most powerful kind of crime novel—relentlessly tense, ruthlessly observed, and deeply illuminating. It will sing you a lullaby as it grips you by the throat. I loved this novel.”
—Katie Gutierrez, author of More Than You’ll Ever Know

“Eli Cranor has a restless imagination that serves him—and his readers—well. Broiler is his latest Trojan Horse of a novel, a satisfying hunk of noir that tells us far more about the American South than those endless newspaper think pieces set in diners and gas stations. Want to understand what’s going on in the United States right now? Read Eli Cranor.”
—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Prom Mom

“Eli Cranor proves all the promise of his Edgar-winning debut and doubles down on it with each new effort. Broiler is grit and muscle on the surface, but it hits deep, populated with characters who linger. Cranor delivers the thrills while in pursuit of bigger game, those special stories born at the intersection of desperation and hope. Don’t miss his work.”
—Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of An Honest Man

“Broiler is the kind of dark, unflinching noir that readers will not be able to ignore, shedding light on the forgotten corners of the American South through the eyes of people so real they leap off the page. It’s hard to believe, but Cranor keeps getting better. His raw prose serves as the perfect messenger for a story that paints a bleak picture—weaving around you slowly before pulling you in tight and refusing to let go. Powerful.”
—Alex Segura, bestselling and award-winning author of Secret Identity and Alter Ego

“Taut, harrowing, and charged with profound insight, Broiler pushes four unforgettable characters to the brim. What happens when hard work isn’t enough? Exploring class, ambition, mobility, and desire, Eli Cranor uses bolts of linguistic electricity to show how the things we want can sometimes blind us.”
—Danya Kukafka, author of Notes on an Execution

“Eli Cranor is one of the new big ‘uns. I don’t have the proper term for what he does with words, calm but knowing prose, and nearly Steinbeckian concern for his characters, their woes and petty victories, dreams and shitty jobs. There is conflict and tension and sorrow, but it’s his people who stick.”
—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone

“Cranor delivers another top-notch Southern noir . . . 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.”
—Publishers Weekly




(to come)



About Eli Cranor

Nationally bestselling, award-winning author Eli Cranor writes from Arkansas where he lives with his wife and kids. His critically acclaimed debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, won the Edgar Award and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by USA Today and one of the Best Crime Novels of the Year by The New York Times. Eli also pens a weekly column, “Where I’m Writing From,” for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and his craft column, “Shop Talk,” appears monthly at CrimeReads. His second novel, Ozark Dogs, was a national bestseller. Eli currently serves as the Writer in Residence at Arkansas Tech University. For more information, visit


Photo credit – Heath Whorton