The Crossroads Review
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English teachers across the nation rejoice! There is now a book out there for dissection and analysis that rivals Shakespeare and Hemingway.

Mark Hostutler's collection of short stories will challenge you intellectually. If a challenge makes you happy, then happiness lies within. Hostutler's skill at describing the surroundings of the characters will leave you reaching for your thesaurus. If you don't like to be challenged by what you read, however, this book is not for you.

The Crossroads consists of seven short stories and a small introduction by the author. The introduction sets the tone for this piece of fiction. All of the stories are well-written, complete works. A problem many authors have in short works of fiction is having a definite start, middle, and end. Hostutler does not have this problem.

As I read, it felt as though as I was getting a glimpse of the characters' lives by seeing them through a window. His characters -- from the 21-year-old Peter, at a bedside vigil with his dying father, to Shawn Justis, the exiled criminal living his life in a jail no one knows how to get to, and no one can escape from -- almost seem like an old friend that I need to call.

This isn't a quick read due to the high level of English vocabulary used, but it is an interesting one. Some of the descriptions are very poetic. I can see English Literature classes analyzing this book in a decade or so, and I think that's what Hostutler was thinking when he wrote it.

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