J.C. and Stenson entered the world with everything against them. Runaways from opposite sides of the track. When you are abandoned, abused, poor and homeless, you will do whatever it takes to survive. They are in the fight for their life but not alone. Good souls still exist in the world. The struggle is real. The time is now. And payback is their only option.
Plot: Darkly humorous, but tentatively uplifting, this novel centers on two broken individuals as they fight for solace, clarity, and truth.
Prose: The prose here is solid, despite moments of clunky exposition and hyperbolic descriptions. While often morose, Anthamatten infuses moments of levity and humor into the narrative. Throughout, the prose exhibits a sense of gravity and forward momentum.
Originality: Double Crossed offers a unique storytelling structure through its twin focus on two individuals connected by their respective pasts and tumultuous present.
Character/Execution: Justin "JC" Carter and Stenson Beckett are sympathetic characters whose exposure to trauma and violence leaves them wounded, but not broken. The novel’s focus on misfortune is hard hitting—and borders on heavy handed—but the nuance the author offers to her characters provides valuable moral complexity.
Date Submitted: July 13, 2020
The novel begins with JC and Stenson’s background and upbringing, but the rest of the story focuses on their battle of wits with each other. Both have strong personalities that develop despite the events they endure, rather than being rooted in their experiences. Almost everyone who shows either young man an ounce of kindness is murdered or abandons them, and characters are often removed from the plot by way of murder when they no longer serve a story purpose.
The backstories for both JC and Stenson are well written, setting the scene for their trials and triumphs as adults. The way Anthamatten showcases their childhood misery is dramatic and dark, but there are flashes of humor, and the story gradually lightens. JC and Stenson’s violent upbringings and surroundings don’t make them into naturally violent men, and they hesitate to use force against each other, illustrating that a bad beginning in life does not dictate a bad ending. Fans of contemporary fiction or satire will appreciate this narrative of two tough survivors striving to find a measure of joy, success, and safety in a dangerous world.
Takeaway: This novel of young men striving to overcome their violent pasts will entertain readers who appreciate a mix of action and comedy with dark undertones.
Great for fans of Eric Jerome Dickey, Carl Weber.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B