Dani Pettrey

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Standing at the Crossroads by Charles Davis

Posted by Melody Ballard On March - 29 - 2011

Genre: Suspense

Publisher: The Permanent Press

Publication Date: Feb 2011

Reviewed by Melody Ballard

This is the story of one man in a particular place, at a particular point in time. It is a story of beliefs and passion, of a county and it’s people, and it is a story of truths and lies. It could be about all people, in any place at any time but it’s not. It’s the story of Ishmael and it’s the story of Africa.

Ishmael is called the Barefoot Librarian. Raised in an orphanage he soon learns that the way to freedom is  through books and stories; it is through the classics that he makes sense of the chaos that surrounds him. He learns that literature is a metaphor for life, and that life itself is only a reflection of the reality of one’s beliefs.

He believes that others can find hope within these same pages in which he finds sanctuary.   Loading books upon his back,  he travels from village to village leaving an entire book at one place, a chapter, or only a few pages at another.  Wherever people gather they fill in the missing pieces with stories of their own. Ishmael is firmly grounded in his own reality, and is resigned to the fate that he knows must surely await him.

His ordered world changes when he meets Kate.  Through Ishmael’s eyes we see the magic of discovery that can be found within ones heart. Kate is headstrong, passionate, full of optimism with a belief that if one cares enough, wrongs can be made right. Renewed meaning and hope surface when Ishmael and Kate encounter Mara, the child of a war with no name.

The chance meeting of this white woman of privilege, this black man of strength, and this lost child soon becomes a maelstrom of emotion as events find their world spiraling out of control.  The stark truths around them surge through an abyss of unimaginable horror, only to culminate into a vacuum of unreality.

Charles Davis masterfully crafts Standing at the Crossroads with vivid imagery and powerful but eloquent prose.  Davis, author of Walk on Bright Boy, and Walking the Dog, just keeps getting better.  Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys “Fiction with Feeling”.

Review copy provided by publisher.