Review: Crossroads by Laurel Hightower

Crossroads

Buy it here: Off Limits Press, Amazon, Bookshop

Synopsis:

How far would you go to bring back someone you love?

When Chris’s son dies in a tragic car crash, her world is devastated. The walls of grief close in on Chris’s life until, one day, a small cut on her finger changes everything.

A drop of blood falls from Chris’s hand onto her son’s roadside memorial and, later that night, Chris thinks she sees his ghost outside her window. Only, is it really her son’s ghost, or is it something else—something evil?

Soon Chris is playing a dangerous game with forces beyond her control in a bid to see her son, Trey, alive once again.

Review:

I started reading this novella on September 10, 2020. I finished it 393 days later. This means that I averaged a page every 3.5 days. These statistics skew the rest of the story. I remember starting to read Crossroads and getting halfway through when I realized I could not read it. I don’t know if it was because of the state of the world in May 2020, and while working the front line of Covid-19, managing patients on life support, I was seeing a great deal of tragic family loss, but the story of Chris and her grief for losing her only son, Trey in a car accident, and being so grief stricken that she had a daily visit to the roadside cross where he died was just too much at the time. I put it down until a few days ago. Mostly because I kept looking at it on the shelf and kept thinking about how I had heard nothing but good things about it. So 526 days later, I have finished Crossroads, and even though Covid has not changed as much as I had liked, my need for dark literature has returned.

 Crossroads is dark, sad, and filled with grief and heartache. I know that there are only 110 pages, but the story seems to be much much longer. We feel so much for Chris and even the secondary characters like Dan, the neighbor who is watching her struggle, and Beau, Chris’s ex-husband and Trey’s father, that the connection between reader and character is so strong, especially for such a short novella. Maybe because we naturally feel empathy for those who have lost someone, and especially when it comes to losing a child, those stories of grief really suck us in. This may be because of the genuine disbelief in how we would act if given the situation, and a little bit of relief that it is happening to someone else and not us.  Or maybe it is the result of a skillful writer. Laurel Hightower does such a masterful job of telling the story. She weaves so much emotion into the story that you feel the desperation of Chris to see her son again, that you feel the longing that Dan feels for Chris to have some peace in her life. Hightower does not hold back on making the reader feel the things her characters feel.


I enjoy this novella and I cannot recommend it enough. Not only is it a good story, but it is a great example of what a masterful writer can do with this form. I feel like Crossroads is one of the novellas that will be discussed as one of the end classic of the horror at the novella length. Do not wait as long as I did to finish this book.

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