Book Review: “Crossroads,” a Supernatural Thriller by Chandler McGrew

Chad4“Sometimes we owe a penance for things we didn’t do”

I’ve stated before that a good book can be like a drug and that a well-written, intricately woven novel that is rife with twists, turns, plots, sub-plots and unexpected turns of events will captivate me for hours on end. Page-turners. They are very difficult to find, and it is the rare author who can churn them out consistently. Chandler McGrew is one of those authors. In terms of sheer delight and diverse story weaving, Chandler gets it right, every time. He has the rarest of abilities to delve into so many aspects of a story, to really touch just about any genre in some way, using those assets to his advantage. His latest offering in the supernatural thriller genre has kept me awake until 3:00 am for two nights in a row. I simply could not put down

Crossroads…

This is a story about a being made of pure evil, a young girl who possesses the ability to stop him and his minions and the convergence of the real world, the dream world and several places in between. The entire tale surrounds the world of traveling carnivals, mystical planes, ghosts and the sacrifices that must be made to ensure that the entire universe and everything in it doesn’t become unglued and completely destroyed.

Crossroads is available in digital format in the Kindle store, and is easily worth way more than the $2.99 purchase price. You really need to cough up the bones and buy yourself a copy. You will not  be disappointed.

From Chandler’s Website:

“It isn’t just our world the Empty-Eyed Man covets, and the only one who can stop him is a young girl named Kira Graves. When Kira’s family and everyone else in their carnival are murdered by hideous otherworldly creatures called Grigs, Kira and her invisible companion, Jenn, try to flee toward a half-mythical place of safety called Graves Island. Instead, Kira is drawn through the looking glass to another world. The planet of the Creators is swiftly changing from a world of dreams to one of nightmares. The only way to stop the Empty-Eyed Man from turning the entire universe into chaos is for Kira to destroy the tool he most desires. What she must sacrifice to do so may be worth more to her than the prize.”

There Is So Much More…

Just when you think things could not get any worse, they do. I lost count of how many times I said to myself (and sometimes out loud), “No way!?” The anticipation of how Chandler’s characters are going to get themselves out of trouble is impossible to predict, because that’s precisely how Chandler wants it to be. There are so many unexpected twists and turns in this story. That, alone, can make any thriller worth the read. But Chandler combines twists and turns with his brilliant weaving together of the plot lines he has created for his characters.

One of my favorite aspects of Chandler’s books revolve around his character development. A few chapters about this group, a few chapters about that group, a few chapters about another group. Methodically, but with equal doses of suspense and horror, Chandler knits the quests of these groups together in steadily rising crescendos of trouble that take them in and out of this world into realms that reveal the utter genius that is the mind of McGrew.

Just when you think they finally caught a break, something goes horribly wrong and you find yourself ignoring the world around you because you just have to find out how they’ll get out of what seems like an impossible predicament, only to be launched into another one that is even more impossible. Crossroads excels at this, which is the mark of a true thriller.

Before you start reading Crossroads, you should have plenty of snacks and drinks handy and find a comfortable spot. You’re going to be there a while. Thrillers have always been on the top of my list for recreational reading, and Chandler McGrew has never, ever disappointed me.

Chandler’s Other Books…

Chandler has had four critically acclaimed novels published, and they are all awesome. Perhaps it has something to do with residing in Maine, which seems to be a prerequisite for producing hearth-thumping suspenseful thrillers.

SlantHis first foray into writing was a book called “A Certain Slant Of Light.” This book is very hard to find, as it is out of print. There are two copies currently available on Amazon. Chandler sent me a copy from his private stock, and if I did not give it mention here, I would be excluding a part of his development as an author. So, a few words are warranted.

This book starts off with a bang. A woman has just died on the operating table after a horrible car accident. Only thing is that she doesn’t know it yet. On an adjacent operating table, a young girl has also died. One was supposed to go to “heaven,” the other to “hell.“

There was a glitch, though, and their “souls” were united – preventing them from “crossing over.” They were returned to their bodies, and now after a couple of years, “Death” has come calling, demanding its due.

This early work of Chandler’s is a sign of what was to come over the ensuing years. As Chandler developed as world-class writer, his characters also developed – as did his story lines, plots and his uncanny ability to scare the hell out you.

Cold Heart…

ColdChandler followed up with “Cold Heart,” which ells the tale of a killer that is stalking people in a remote village in Alaska, pursued by an ex-cop who has no gun or means of calling for help. This story is a quintessential game of hide-and-seek, and kept me on my toes throughout the entire book.

There is little more frightening than a crazed killer, roving from house to house, wreaking sheer terror on a community that has nowhere to turn. The killer’s target also has her own demons she is contending with, and the twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This book is incredibly good, and the story is a wonderfully terrifying tale. I’ve read this book several times, and will likely read it again. Then again, I’ve read all of Chandler’s books more than once. I am guessing you will want to, as well.

Night Terror…

NightTerrorChandler followed up with an intense volume called “Night Terror,” which is wonderfully terrifying psychological thriller. Seems that two young boys disappear several years apart – without a trace. Grief, hope and madness ensue as one of the mothers swears her son is alive, and claims to be able to hear him crying out to her.

There is, however, one person who knows what happened to these two boys, and as Chandler weaves his main characters through a labyrinth of the bizarre, this book rapidly becomes impossible to put down. Just when you think everything’s gonna be OK, another twist in the story takes you by complete surprise.

I absolutely loved this book, and will gladly offer you two pieces of sage advice should you choose to buy it. Get your Red Bulls ready, and don’t read this book with the lights out…

The Darkening…

DarkeningWait, he’s not done! Chandler then released “The Darkening.” It’s rare that one can get totally lost in the mind of an author, but with this volume you will find yourself in a place where you definitely don’t want the lights to go out.

Fortunately for those of us who love this genre, Chandler begins this book with a blackout. It’s perfect! Even the sun dims. Then, without explanation, entire populations vanish, causing entire cities to shut down.

What comes next can only be described as “complicated,” but in that page-turner way that I have now come to expect from Chandler. Seems there’s a small band of people who’ve been expecting this.

As the entire planet begins to slip into total, the fate of the planet rests on two complete strangers. One of these two saviors is beset by mysterious shadowy beings that cannot be seen or heard by anyone else, but are an integral part of the story. The other one is haunted by her own demons, and her birthright plays a vital role.

The battle at the end of this book is nothing short of epic. A fight against the darkness that seeks to envelop the entire planet puts the characters on the front lines of something so horrible, so terrible and so utterly unexpected that you will want to read this book several times over.

In Shadows…

ShadowsChandler’s last offering, “In Shadows,” I called “the icing on the cake.” That was before “Crossroads.” But that takes nothing away from this work. Set in Maine, as it should be, a blind and deaf young boy is able to hear the whispers of evil and is totally convinced that a mysterious and lethal force is seeking out those people in his life that he holds most dear.

There are enough plots and subplots in this book to keep you gripped from start to end. A police detective, a lost love, an unsolved murder, a family curse and a serial killer are only a hint at what happens when one looks into the eye of evil.

In Shadows” begins as a crime thriller, but quickly evolves into a horror story of epic proportions. This book literally scared the crap out of me, which is no small feat.

Final Thoughts…

Buy Crossroads. Seriously….

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Chandler McGrew lives in Bethel, Maine, and is proud to hold the rank of Shodan in Kyokushin Karate, and is now studying Aikido.

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  2 comments for “Book Review: “Crossroads,” a Supernatural Thriller by Chandler McGrew

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