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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

Crossroads, Laurel Hightower: A Review

I was ecstatic to receive an advanced copy of Crossroads from Off Limits Press for review consideration. Look at that cover! Can confirm that it's even more beautiful and haunting in person.

As the anniversary of her son's tragic death approaches, Chris' grief grows, and she visits the site of the accident often. But one night, she's convinced she's seen the ghost of her dead son, and Chris is determined to see him again, a venture that grows more dangerous with each passing day. A mother's love knows no bounds--but will Chris be tethered by them or succumb to them?

This book wrecked me. I am emotionally gutted. Do I regret a single second of it? HELL NO.

Let me start by saying this is everything I want in a horror plot. Tragedy, complex characters, purposeful scares, and an underlying layer of sadness. It's a quiet book with a loud voice, one that refuses to be ignored, and WOW. Just wow. I was reminded of the very best parts (IMHO) of some of my literary staples: Pet Sematary, The Monkey's Paw, and Faust.

This story is a raw, biting examination of grief and love. Chris' character is well-developed, authentic, and utterly lovable. You will feel her pain. You will mourn with her. You will find yourself questioning if you'd make the same choices if it were you in that position. I can't remember the last time I felt so invested in a character arc, but I held my breath for the entirety of the last two chapters.

That's not to say the supporting characters are any less developed. Chris' interactions with Dan, Beau, and Nat highlight the complexities of love, how relationships aren't one-size-fits-all. How people can grow from tragedy while simultaneously be stuck. How endings don't always mean the end. Packing that much of an emotional punch into a hundred some-odd pages is a feat.

On a final note, Hightower's writing is effortless, a superb combination of sophistication and familiarity, and I am here for every word.

Overall, you DO NOT want to miss this book. Crossroads is an elegant, visceral examination of the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of grief. I cannot sing its praises enough. Definitely on my re-read shelf.

Thank you to Off Limits again. Stellar title.


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