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Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: 'Cryer's Cross'

©2011 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews

By Lisa McMann
YA Horror thriller
February 2011
Simon's Pulse
ISBN: 978-1416994817

Life for Kendall Fletcher is a very specific, very controlled routine. It's the only way she can function with her OCD ready to spin out of control with any change to that. But life is not going to remain quiet in her tiny hometown of Cryer's Cross, Montana, after classmate Tiffany Quinn disappears.

Months later, Tiffany has not been forgotten but life does go on. Summer is over and school is starting back up. The one-room high school class, divided by sections into year, has a larger enrollment when a brother and sister arrive. Jacian and Marlena have come to town with their parents to help their aging grandfather. Jacian is very surly, as befits a dark romantic hero, leaving his girlfriend and great soccer team behind.

Kendall's best friend -- certainly not her boyfriend -- Nico Cruz is Jacian's opposite because he's one of those light-hearted, easygoing guys. But it's Nico who goes missing next. Even Jacian, who came to town late in the spring just before Tiffany disappeared, and Kendall are roughly questioned by state police.

Kendall and Jacian end up practicing soccer moves together, slowly bonding. But Kendall, who notices everything, finds new graffiti on one of the desks at school. "Please save me" wasn't there before. Soon, she thinks she hears voices.

From this point on, CRYER'S CROSS turns from being a contemporary romance novel with believable heroine and hero to a horror thriller. Why there is graffiti on the desk and what it means put Kendall in grave danger. With a lot of exposition to wrap up the story, the chills aren't as creepy as they might have been. And McMann's strength in telling this story was in the realistic portion of the narrative. The compelling characters and their particular inner and outer conflicts would have made a very strong story in their own right.

This doesn't make CRYER'S CROSS a loser; it just wasn't as terrific a read as it seemed to be at first.

©2011 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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