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Eating Dangerously, Dream Thief, Life Interrupted 

Short Stories

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Eating Dangerously

Michael Booth, Jennifer Brown

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, $24.95, hardcover

Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown are both Denver Post reporters and worked together covering the 2011 listeria outbreak that originated in Colorado cantaloupe and went on to kill 33 people. In Eating Dangerously: Why the Government Can't Keep Your Food Safe ... and How You Can, they make a pretty clear point: Consumers have a role to play in food safety. We may be at the end of the line, but the bright spot here is that there are some actions we can take as consumers to protect the safety of the food we eat. This is a hands-on, "don't eat a pink hamburger" look at the problem foods — ground meat, sprouts, raw milk — and a guide to doing what one can. It's also a good debunker, making clear that local and organic does not necessarily equal "safe." Most of us will get some sort of food-borne illness — there's no such thing as the "stomach flu" — but it doesn't have to be deadly. If, however, you're OCD about your food, this might be TMI. — Kel Munger

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Dream Thief, Volume 1

Jai Nitz, Greg Smallwood

Dark Horse, $17.99, paperback

In one of the most original debuts for a character, American comic book writer and Bram Stoker Award winner Jai Nitz gives us John Lincoln, a hard-drinking stoner with no ambition and a tendency to party until he wakes up in strange places. After stealing an aboriginal mask from a museum (while wasted, of course), John — who Nitz has described as "a bit of a douche bag" — starts waking up next to dead bodies. He didn't kill them, exactly; he was possessed by the ghosts of the people they killed. And each time he finishes one bit of revenge, he falls asleep again — and the next episode begins. With a former football-star best friend, John is determined to get to the bottom of what's happening to him and find out what it has to do with the father who abandoned him. An action-packed supernatural thriller, The Dream Thief has moody, noir-ish art from Greg Smallwood to flesh out an original premise for a promising new series. — Kel Munger

Life Interrupted

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Denise Brennan

Duke University Press, $23.95, paperback

Denise Brennan's book is the antidote to the current rush to conflate human trafficking with sex work. In Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States, Brennan compiles years of interviews she's done with people who have been trafficked for labor in agriculture, construction and domestic work, not just sex work. The first two chapters focus on people trafficked into the agriculture and sex sectors, and Brennan, anthropology department chair at Georgetown University, makes it clear that both the worker in the tomato fields and the worker in a strip club are being abused and exploited, often in ways that are actually not terribly different. Her discussion of the T (for "trafficked") visa, which is given to 5,000 people a year, and the legal limbo to which its recipients are consigned, is especially enlightening, as is the very clear fact that we are all responsible for human trafficking. Our economy, as Brennan points out, depends upon it. — Kel Munger

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