Thursday, 15 October 2015

Crossings - Review


Crossings — the latest release from Ashley Capes
Ashley Capes is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. His epic fantasy series The Bone Mask Trilogy is among my favourite fantasy stories of all time (and he's just released the second book in the series — check it out now if you're a fantasy lover in search of a new author to follow). I've read pretty much everything he's published, and his most recent release didn't disappoint.

Crossings is difficult to categorise — it's probably most fitting in the paranormal genre. But essentially, I think I'd classify it as a supernatural mystery with a good dose of thrill.

The story takes place in small town, outback Australia, where eerie pale gums and messmate trees dominate the landscape. Lisa Thomas is our protagonist. On the face of it, she's an ordinary woman, a bit of a battler. She works as a cleaner, struggles with her ageing father suffering with increasing dementia, and volunteers as a wildlife rescue officer. And if all of that wasn't enough for us to feel sympathy for her, she soon learns that her abusive ex-fiancé, Ben is back in town, and for some reason he wants to talk to her.

As a main character, I found Lisa instantly likeable. While she is, on the surface, an 'ordinary' woman, Capes has done a brilliant job investing her with an extraordinary nature, especially with her affinity for animals. In her volunteer work as a wildlife rescue officer, she comes across dead animals (largely car victims) regularly. She keeps a packet of salt with her to conduct a little 'last rites'  ritual that I found particularly endearing.

What makes the story a real page-turner from the very start is the mystery of the strange occurrence of animal corpses appearing without any explanation — many of them at Lisa's house. The suspense is the kind that keeps you from doing things you're supposed to be doing, as you just want to find out what the hell is going on — and that's when you know you're reading a good story.

The way supernatural elements are woven into the story is entirely credible and adds to the tantalising mystery. There is a subtle link to aboriginal dreamtime mythology, which adds an interesting layer to the events.

Of course, one of the trademarks of Capes' writing is his outstanding skill with imagery, and once again, the frequent poetic descriptions within the prose had me in awe of his writing style.

By the novel's end, all of the disparate and tense-filled threads in Lisa's life seem to converge into a dramatic and suspenseful ending that had me flicking the pages faster.

Any reader with a heartbeat will enjoy this story, and particularly those fans of paranormal, fantasy and mysteries.

Book One of The Bone Mask Trilogy — a must read for epic fantasy fans.
To learn more about Ashley check out his site — www.cityofmasks.com



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