“There’s only two times in a restaurant,” Marie learns before her first shift at the Olive Garden, “before and after.” In between, you just white-knuckle it until your last table is cleared. You might say the same thing about the white-knuckle experience of reading Love Me Back. Marie works her way up from the chains to a high-end Dallas steakhouse, with plenty of coke and sex along the way, but Tierce’s fearless debut novel isn’t a success story, or a redemption story, or even a cautionary tale. It’s a story of desire, of survival, of choices made for better or worse, and it’s an intense and convincing (and unflinchingly explicit) immersion in a life in the service trenches.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA