The following is a final review of another story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. This story in the anthology is titled Ghost Townies, by E. Branden Hart.
Crossroads, a word meaning a location where roads meet, or it can be used as a metaphor...a moment when a decision must be made so that consequences of the decision can play themselves out. Neve Talbot's Crossroads contains both.
The story is longer than all other stories in the anthology, a fact I had not realized until I began writing this review. It certainly doesn't feel like a long read. Talbot takes the time it needs for the reader to really understand the central characters. It's more than a snapshot moment in their lives. She digs deeper, and the result is appreciated.
The story deals with a death--a given for such an anthology. The characters, as do we after such an event, confront their our own mortality. Death makes us look inward. We take stock of our own lives and we contemplate not only the decisions we have made, but the ones we're making right now. We are forced to confront ourselves in a way that makes us uncomfortable, for death is the final word in our own personal "book of life."
Reading Talbot's words is such an enjoyable experience. They comfort and surround and conjure pleasure as the story unfolds, a story never rushed, but timed perfectly. I have read Talbot's steampunk selection in Mechanized Masterpieces Steampunk Anthology, in which she uses another writer's story as her backdrop. With Crossroads, she steps away from the that canvas and allows her work to shine. It's a really well done story. Thanks Neve for its inclusion and happy birthday!