CROSS ROADS (FaithWorks, 2012)

As they walked Tony asked, ‘Jack, is this place, this in-between place that I know somehow is me… Was I brought here to be confronted with what I have done wrong?‘ . . .   ‘No, my dear boy, quite the reverse,’ Jack assured. ‘The in-between and the life-after is centered and built upon everything you got right, not what you got wrong. And it’s not that what you got wrong is inconsequential or just disappears; much of it is all around you as you can see, but the focus is on the rebuilding, not on the tearing down. . . . Yes, the old must be torn down for the new to be raised; to have a resurrection you must have a crucifixion, but God wastes nothing, not even the wrong we have imagined into existence. . .  ‘Well,’ responded Tony, ‘I like the building part. It’s the tearing-down part that I’m not a big fan of.'”

Cross Roads had me the minute I started. The crazy thing is, the diabolical main character reminds me of a few too many people I know. Yikes! The classic narcissist. Paul Young takes us into the sinister thinking of a man who has built a formidable empire formed out of his internal anger and angst at life. He has become his own idol. With storytelling skill, the plot is unraveled and we are taken into a strange, mystifying place where the main character’s life takes an unusual twist and turn. The book has the flavor of the allegory, what is–is not exactly what is, you know what I mean? It is a facsimile of the real, sort-of. That is part of the mystique that entertains in this book. We want our man, Anthony Spencer, to figure it out, what he needs to do. We want him to recognize how he has sabotaged his own life and some others who were the recipients of his sour and manipulative behavior–the casualties of a selfish person. We fall in love with Maggie, who becomes rather ensconced with Tony in an unexpected way.

In this unpredictable story, we are favored to meet the holy trio, Jesus, Spirit, and Father, but we don’t recognize them at first. They have a part to play in the freeing of Tony from his self-made prison, a prison he formed to protect himself from hurt.  It’s quite an adventure. I appreciate the way Paul Young delivers an important message as he spins an interesting tale replete with captivating supernatural weirdness. He’s good at showing the bigger spiritual picture and exposing truth that long has been buried. If you want to read a book that entertains while exposing the truth of the human heart, Cross Roads is a good pick.


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