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Praise for ROUGH TRADE

A New Yorker Best Books We've Read in 2024 Pick

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Richly atmospheric and finely paced ... a potent and morally complex portrait of queer life and history.”

The New Yorker

“The mystery smolders; desire and queerness suffuse the pages.”

The New York Times


“[O]utstanding ... Readers who love to root for the rogues will gobble this up.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An addictive treat sure to please fans of Sarah Waters and HBO's Our Flag Means Death... Detailed historical research bolsters dynamic crime fiction in this spectacular queer adventure about opium smugglers in 19th-century Washington Territory.”

—Shelf Awareness

“Carrasco’s characters display emotional depth and intelligence amid escalating danger in a lawless atmosphere … This is a fast-paced and racy thriller that intriguingly explores gender roles and sexuality repressed and (covertly) expressed during its late-1800s setting.”

—Joelle Egan, Booklist

“Katrina Carrasco’s Rough Trade is the kind of high-octane queer adventure that the historical record can point us to in scraps of diaries and newspaper accounts of ‘female bandits,’ but rarely do we get to luxuriate inside the lives of these bad-ass queer ancestors in such glorious fiction.”

—Hugh Ryan, author of When Brooklyn Was Queer

“Rough Trade is a thrilling, fascinating game of shifting alliances and betrayals. The blazing heart of the novel is queer joy—queer spaces of the past brought to life in roaring, Technicolor glory, an unforgettable found family of rebels and outlaws, and timeless questions about the radical choices and sacrifices necessary to live an authentic life. I loved this book.”

—Kim Fu, author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century

“Rough Trade is at times a brilliantly twisty thriller, a tightly-examined glimpse into life on the early edge of American mythmaking, and a roustabout adventure that centers the people who kept the economy going both above and below the board and the table at the turn of the twentieth century.”

—The Lesbrary



Washington State Book Award Finalist

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Winner: Shamus Award for Best First Novel

An A.V. Club Favorite Book of 2018

A Buzzfeed Best Thriller of 2018

A Vulture Best Crime Book of 2018

A CrimeReads Best Crime & Mystery Debut of 2018

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Library Journal Starred Review

[Carrasco’s] greatest creation is Alma, a fearless adventurer who embraces her own duality: female/male, Latina/white (a Mexican American, Alma can change her skin tone depending on how much French-chalk powder she applies), agent/double agent … “The Best Bad Things,” itself irresistibly toggling between crime fiction and literary novel (not that there should be a distinction), is a swaggering introduction to this heroine; here’s hoping she’ll return soon.

—Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

“Katrina Carrasco’s gripping debut novel, The Best Bad Things, is essentially three books in one: a sexy noir, social critique, and historical fiction. That’s quite an undertaking for a first outing, but Carrasco quickly proves she has enough imagination to fill whole shelves … The Best Bad Things is the rare book that should be savored, but is impossible to put down.”

The A.V. Club's 10 Favorite Books of 2018

“The Best Bad Things follows Alma/Jack’s excesses — sex, violence, booze, opium, greed — in the Washington Territory in the 1880s, where honor among thieves is scarce, but the action scenes (not to mention the sex scenes) are plentiful and crackling with tension.”

Vulture's 10 Best Crime Books of 2018

“Historical fiction, and in particular historical crime fiction, has to feel of its time and of our time. Katrina Carrasco has mastered this duality in her first novel, which introduces the gender-fluid hero and general badass Alma Rosales ... I loved it all, from the crackling chemistry, the unapologetic sexuality (hetero and queer), the dazzling sentences, and a corker of an ending that shocked as it was the only possible outcome.”

Sarah Weinman, Best Thrillers of 2018 for Buzzfeed

“Carrasco succeeds in coupling a feminist historical that maintains period plausibility with an exploratory queer narrative rarely seen in the crime genre … Breath-catching pacing, tantalizingly rough-and-tumble characters who are somehow both distasteful and deeply relatable, palpable erotic energy, and powerful storytelling make this a standout.”

—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review


“Carrasco’s first novel explores every nook and cranny of what it is to be two-natured. Male and female, cop and criminal, marginalized and sovereign, best and bad: no matter the duality, disgraced Pinkerton detective-turned-unabashed gangster Alma Rosales (aka Jack Camp, pronouns she/her) rides the pendulum from one extreme to another. She’s not alone: all of the colorful characters populating the seedy docks in 1880s Port Townsend, WA, have at least two sides to their stories and multiple angles from which to view them … Carrasco is an author to watch.”

Library Journal, Starred Review


“Carrasco’s prose … is so evocative it ignites all the senses, even as the thunderous pacing leaves you scrambling to pick up on all the clues … Carrasco gives Alma all kinds of appetites—for sex, mischief, power, and more—then feeds them with one lusty chapter after another. Society may push Alma into a liminal space, but she is absolutely living it up.”

—Danette Chavez, The A.V. Club


“Meet Alma Rosales, a Mexican American, bisexual, cross-dressing, defrocked Pinkerton detective whose hunt for stolen opium on behalf of her boss and sometimes-lover Delphine Beaumond will keep you on the edge of your seat and maybe even wondering if you’ve lost your mind. Sexy, fun, serious and unputdownable.”

—Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post


“A brazen, brawny, sexy standout of a historical thrill ride, The Best Bad Things is full of unforgettable characters and insatiable appetites. I was riveted. Painstakingly researched and pulsing with adrenaline, Katrina Carrasco’s debut will leave you thirsty for more.”

—Lyndsay Faye, author of THE GODS OF GOTHAM


“Gritty street fiction set in the lawless past when Port Townsend was the Deadwood of the Pacific Northwest, Katrina Carrasco’s The Best Bad Things is a bloody brawl of a book. Carrasco uses a whippy structure and flexible prose to play an unsettling shell game as Alma, dressed as Jack, sheds her impulse control along with her corsets, and the plot accelerates into a visceral, unexpected underworld of bare-knuckle fighting, opium smuggling, and genderqueer lust.”

—Nicola Griffith, author of HILD and SO LUCKY


“The best thing, upon opening The Best Bad Things, is to ensure you don't have any plans for the next day or so. Instead, surrender to this book's glorious race through the rain-soaked, crime-ridden streets of 19th century Port Townsend. Katrina Carrasco's jaw-dropping debut is powered by Alma Rosales, a runaway steam engine of a woman: fast, ferocious, and barreling heedlessly toward her destination. Carrasco writes with stunning verve and fierce intelligence, and The Best Bad Things will keep you guessing until its explosive end.”

—Carrie Callaghan, author of A LIGHT OF HER OWN


“A vibrant and compulsive read; in Alma Rosales, Katrina Carrasco has created a gender-bending heroine who is impossible to forget. The Best Bad Things packs a massive punch and succeeds in queering the crime genre.”

—Saleem Haddad, author of GUAPA


“I nearly chipped a tooth on the opening paragraph of this book and choked to death. Katrina Carrasco is a powerful writer, her prose as sharp as a Hattori Hanzō sword from Kill Bill. But be warned, you may need a trip to the dentist after reading this amazing debut!”

—Frank Bill, author of DONNYBROOK and THE SAVAGE

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