Review: Carlyle’s Crossing

Carlyle's Crossing
Carlyle’s Crossing by Chris Quinton
My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Although I like several books Quinton has done, I couldn’t get through this one. I took the chance on it even though it was from TEB, which I generally stay away from. The story should be fine and it has all the necessary elements but it just bored me. There’s no tension, no action, no real purpose to the story. Actually it does have a purpose but the book and characters are taking their sweet time to getting around to it and I can’t read anymore. I made it a little over half way (pg. 110 out of 170) and just couldn’t take the repetitive scenes anymore. Each time I thought about it reading I would groan aloud and realized I was done with this one.

Jubal is a forest ranger, like his dead father was, and loves his job. In the opening scene, Jubal is involved in a horrible car crash that lands him in the hospital but miraculously without any real injuries. His long time friend and fuck-buddy, Sal, comes to take him home and insists on staying with him while Jubal recovers. At the same time, Jubal learns of an inheritance from an estranged family member from a small town in Vermont. The same town his parents fled from, vowing never to return. Deciding to get some answers to all his questions, Jubal and Sal travel to Vermont and once there, realize they need to save the town with only Jubal’s special abilities.

The various elements of a successful story are all kind of there; there’s a life and death scare that forces two casual friends to solidify their relationship, followed by a supernatural mystery that only they can solve. Unfortunately I never felt the story came together in an interesting and engaging way. The crash at the beginning seems superfluous, though the story was just beginning to tie it into the greater mystery when I gave up on it. So perhaps there is more to it but I don’t really care.

There is no tension between Sal and Jubal either as they just decide to formalize their existing relationship. Their romance is almost an afterthought or a given. I never really cared because it was obvious the two were in love and going to be together. There was no drama or question about the relationship. Yet the men didn’t seem that interesting to me either. They felt very flat and predictable with Jubal acting kind of ridiculous. He’s suddenly a great benefactor to the town when he first wanted nothing to do with it. He seems to change his mind for no real reason after eating at the diner a lot.

Which is perhaps my biggest problem with the story and why I gave up. There’s simply no action. The two men go to Vermont, have sex, eat at the diner, deal with the paperwork regarding the will and inheritance, and talk talk talk talk talk talk talk ad nausea. This feels very much like an ordinary couple who go on a rather uneventful trip back home to deal with ordinary issues. There’s supposedly a supernatural element with an ancient knife, Jubal’s ability to see and talk to ghosts, and the town that’s depressed but none of that factored in to the story in any real way so far.

I’m not necessarily against run of the mill, ordinary couple stories (and in fact have loved them in the past) but there has to be something that engages the reader and keeps the interest alive. I didn’t find it here. Perhaps others will.

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