“Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.” – Charles Bukowski
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200
Rating: 3 Stars
Blurb: Carter Hopkins is on a mission. He has already written about the conflict in Syria, but is determined to go even deeper. With his editor’s help, he joins a band of freedom fighters led by Jalal. But it is Jalal’s brother, Nemat, who draws Carter’s attention. Nemat has left the family olive grove to join his brother in fighting the Syrian government in Aleppo. When Carter saves his life and is declared an honorary member of the family, Nemat couldn’t be happier, even though he knows his family will never understand his true interest in Carter.
Carter and Nemat say their goodbyes after the end of the assignment. Carter’s stories garner a lot of attention, but he can’t stop thinking of the man he left behind. Then rumors of the use of chemical weapons give Carter another chance at a story, and he jumps at it. But much has changed in Syria, and any chance of getting Nemat out of harm’s way seems more impossible than ever.
Review: In Crossing Divides Carter is a reporter embedded with a group of freedom fighters in the Syrian civil war. He has joined a family of farmers who have taken up arms against a government that is allegedly using chemical weapons against its own citizens. In the Middle Eastern culture, homosexuality is a sin punishable by death. The death is usually carried out by a family member to help restore the family’s honor. Nemat has known he is different for a number of years but hasn’t had a name to attach to his feelings.
The leader of the family with which Carter is traveling is Jalal. Jalal’s younger brother Nemat has caught Carter’s eye, and he has caught Nemat’s as well. When Carter saves Nemat’s life, Jalal pronounces that Carter is an honorary member of their family. He is treated as an honored guest and well-taken care of. He and Nemat find themselves alone and hiding one night. They believe that this is all it is possible for them to have together. Carter returns to the U.S. worried about Nemat, Jalal and their whole family. He can’t get his mind off of them and realizes how deep the feelings are that he developed for Nemat.
The stories Carter writes based on his time in Syria draw the attention of a nameless government agency which wants the rest of the information not printed in the articles. Carter receives an “I owe you one” from one of the agents.
Under implausible circumstances, Carter returns to Syria, even though the fighting has gotten worse and is more widespread. He is able to find Nemat’s home. Many changes have taken place and Nemat is now responsible for taking care of the family. While Carter and Nemat have a little bit of time alone together to renew their feelings for each other, most of it is spent planning the next dangerous part of the journey Carter would like to take. Under even more implausible circumstances, the journey is undertaken successfully and no one is injured.
When it is again time for Carter to leave, he wants Nemat to come with him to America. Carter even considers staying in Syria to be with Nemat, but they could never be open about their relationship in Syria. A series of increasingly improbable events lead up to, and beyond, Carter’s departure from Syria and into Turkey, then home again to the U.S.
This story just didn’t click for me. I felt the writing was simplistic, and too much of the plot was impossible for me to believe. I realize that Andrew Grey is a talented author with many devoted fans, but based on Crossing Divides, I, unfortunately, cannot count myself among them. His style just isn’t for me.
Recommended for Andrew Grey fans.