October 9, 2011

The Crossing (not the Cormac McCarthy one)

Serita Ann Jakes, Christian speaker and wife of Bishop T.D. Jakes, makes her fiction debut with The Crossing.

Claudia Campbell, a preacher's daughter, is haunted by the murder of her friend and teacher, B.J. Remington. Ten years ago, Claudia, B.J. and other students were on a school bus when a masked gunman climbed on board and shot B.J. Claudia keeps reliving the moments on the bus and is suffering from increasingly frequent panic attacks.

Claudia's husband, Victor, an assistant district attorney, decides to reopen the case in an attempt to give his wife closure. Teaming up with suspended cop Casio Hightower, another student from the bus who handles his own trauma by beating his girlfriend, Victor begins re-interviewing suspects.

Claudia is already struggling with her faith after a miscarriage and some shocking revelations about her mother and cannot handle the information that Victor is discovering. She begins to distance herself from everyone, instead wallowing in her memories of B.J.

B.J. herself narrates the beginning of each chapter in flashbacks to her dying moments. She mourns the fact that she didn't make certain things right, but finds peace in talking to Jesus as her life ebbs. Some of the other victims of the attack also manage to find such peace, but the lives of some will end before Victor finds the murderer.

In The Crossing, Jakes manages to make complicated characters believable--the tortured cop, the grieving friends, the mourning family, who are all seeking answers to their complicated questions about faith and loss.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure.

Do you read Christian fiction? It's been several years since I've read any -- 
I was a bit surprised by this book, because it was a more serious and dark in content than I was expecting in a Christian novel.

Just so you know, this review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness on September 27th, and the image and title are Amazon affiliate links.