Crossroads - Laurel Hightower
Crossroads - Laurel Hightower (2020) Reviewed by Yvonne Miller
Crossroads…a fork in the road, a decision to be made, life taking a turn and lives altered. Laurel Hightower has taken a certainty in life - death and given it a complex meaning, a burden, a floating through life trying to grasp the ending but never holding onto that tangible point. Chris is existing rather than living after the death of her only son; taken in the most tragic of circumstances well before his time in a car crash. Grief crushes her, minute by minute, hour by hour. A natural reaction to an unnatural event, but what would you do to have them back?
Looking at the artwork – the desolation, the grief and loneliness jumps out at you. It is essentially a horror in its purest form – the death of a child. I know if I were to lose one of my boys it would be like living hell on earth. The colour of the cover, the illustration, it grabs you by the genitals with its originality and its bleakness and the words contained within the pages hit you where it hurts the most! A narrative so bleak but powerful that it could bring even the strongest person to their knees.
Motherhood had made her face all her fears, let go of her phobias and the things that bugged her, like snot and puke and having anything touching her collarbone. Kids trample all over those little rules and preferences in no time.
Laurel Hightower takes us on a journey. A road less travelled, the grass has covered up the remains of the track and the wind leaves you feeling wreaked and disorientated. A snippet of life, the devastation of putting your entire life into your child hands only for it to be cruelly taken away – leaving you with a sense of emptiness. Crossroads isn’t an easy read; it isn’t meant to be. It’s meant to grab you by the jugular and never let go. It makes you want to run and hide and hope to any higher power that this never happens to you.
Chris is a broken mother. A mother that is a shadow floating through this world putting on an act that all is okay, hiding her mental strain and depression hidden from her public persona. Laurel Hightower brings us unbearable sadness in Crossroads and has the button to the reader's emotions firmly pressed.
The writing within Crossroads brings the puzzle and mystery together. With every supernatural visit, the tension almost becomes too much. Be prepared to have your own heart ripped out, stomped on and handed back to you in pieces. I wanted to make this book last but from that first page the author has her hooks in you. She knows she has you and won’t let go until that last harrowing sentence has been digested.
As the story developed, I had several "A-HA!" moments and as a reader was left wondering who was holding the deck of cards. A story that will haunt me for a while to come yet.
Crossroads is a masterpiece in visceral fear. It crackles with menace and despair. It’s scary, truly scary. Reality has blended with the sinister. Laurel Hightower has captured every parent’s worst nightmare and brought it into frightening high definition.
Laurel Hightower grew up in Kentucky, attending college in California and Tennessee