In a far future city, where you can fall to a government cull for a single mistake, And What Can We Offer You Tonight tells the story of Jewel, established courtesan in a luxurious House. Jewel’s world is shaken when her friend is murdered by a client, but somehow comes back to life. To get revenge, they will both have to confront the limits of loyalty, guilt, and justice.
Jewel is a courtesan in the House of Bicchieri, a brothel for only the wealthiest of the wealthy. Her close friend Winfield is murdered by one of her clients, but is somehow resurrected at her funeral. Win sets her sights on revenge, not just on the man who killed her but the brothel owners who control their courtesans’ lives with brutal efficiency and calculating cruelty and other clients who take their pleasure in treating people like toys. As much as Jewel hates the way her world is run, she can’t see any way out of it. Will she protect herself and thereby protect the exploitive system or will she side with Win and fight back?
I loved the way this was written. Premee Mohamed breaks all grammar rules with this novella, blending run on sentences with fragments until the text itself is as unsettling as the story. It’s hard to get a grip on the plot, characters, or text, but you just have to accept that this is a novella that cannot and should not be contained.
Neon Hemlock is quickly becoming one of my favorite speculative fiction novella publishers. I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read from them, including And What Can We Offer You Tonight. This is a blistering, beautiful story, one absolutely must be read.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.
Buy it at bookshop.org (affiliate link).