The Crossing: A Novel

The Crossing: A Novel

by Serita Ann Jakes

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307730343
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/06/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

SERITA ANN JAKES has been involved in Christian ministry all of her adult life and has served alongside her husband, Bishop T. D. Jakes, throughout their entire marriage of nearly 30 years. In addition to raising three sons and two daughters, Mrs. Jakes is Executive Director of the WoMan To Woman Ministries of The Potter's House of Dallas where her husband is Senior Pastor.

Read an Excerpt

   It’s strange. Since childhood, I’ve believed I would die in my sleep. 
   Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…
   In my mind’s eye, I picture myself sandwiched between Mama and Daddy as we knelt beside my bed, speaking the prayer together. It always seemed like they were sucking up all the oxygen, leaving me with none. I thought I might suffocate. But I could smell Mama so well. She hadn’t had her nightly bath yet, so she still smelled of southern cooking and a hint of Chanel No. 5. The smallest amount behind her ears and inside the crook of her arm was enough for it to linger wherever she wandered in the house. I loved the smell of Mama.
   I remember the expression on her face when she opened the box one Christmas morning. By the look of wonder, I knew she loved it. She blushed under Daddy’s admiring gaze as she dabbed some on her wrist and lifted her arm to his face. As I watched, a bubble, like the ones I used to blow with those huge pieces of sugar-coated bubble gum, started deep inside me and got bigger and bigger. It was a rare moment of sheer joy in our family.
   A few years later, a pin of reality burst the facade, but in that moment…joy. I’m glad my mind took me back to that place, if only for a minute. I can remember Daddy as he was. And forgive what he became.
   …and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Present Day

   Claudia hated this moment. Stopped at the tracks, watching the lights flash and hearing the bell clang. First in line, as the wall forms in front of her. The whistle growing louder as the engine nears. The rhythm of steel against steel, the train racing by, beating in her ears. Other cars had lined up behind her, hedging her in. Suffocating. Blocking any chance of escape.
   Could a heart really pound right out of its chest? She felt her breath coming in short bursts. Her phone beeped, but she couldn’t bring herself to look for it. Closing her eyes tight, she gripped the steering wheel.
   Her chest hurt, and she could smell the metallic tang of blood. The rest of her senses picked up the sensation. She could taste the iron, way back in her throat, and her ears pounded with the rhythm of her heartbeat. Then her hands felt a sticky warmth—BJ’s blood, soaking her cheerleading skirt. The wetness spread over her legs. She gasped and stared down at her lap. Her Diet Coke had spilled on her light tan linen pants. Still, she couldn’t move.
   No matter that the train had come and gone, still she sat, staring at the bare metal tracks. Her body shook all over. Vehicles sped around her, blaring their horns. People glared at her, some even shouting obscenities at her, but it was no use. She’d become paralyzed. She didn’t know how many minutes she sat there while the world swept by her, a still body in a raging storm.
   A dull tap registered in her brain. She turned toward the sound and tried to focus on the man outside her window. He reached out and made another clipped, three-rap knock on the glass. Finally, recognition flashed, trying to convince her that everything was okay. She pressed the button and lowered the window for the waiting police officer.
   “Claudia?” His voice sent a shiver down her spine. Images sped through her mind, blurring her focus. “Is there something wrong with your car?”
   His voice was a little deeper now than it had been ten years ago, but she could still hear it screaming, “Leave her alone!” And then the gunshot. She could feel herself fading again…
   “Claude!” He reached in through the window and shook her shoulder. “Come on, girl. I know what this is. I’ve been there too. But snap out of it. You’re in the middle of the street.”
   She felt herself slowly ascending, as though swimming from the bottom of a deep lake. At the surface, a ragged, cold breath filled her lungs. “Casio.” Tears filled her eyes.
   “It’s okay, baby,” he said, his voice soft, taking her back to the days when he was quarterback, she was cheerleader, and everyone said they’d be America’s sweethearts. “Can you drive the car into the parking lot?” He pointed to the right where a mom-and-pop café sat practically empty.
   She nodded.
   “I’ll be right behind you.”
   It took every ounce of willpower to slide the Tahoe into gear and drive toward the parking lot. Once she stopped, her lungs screamed and she could feel the breath-stealing, muscle-seizing horror of hyperventilation coming on. Casio appeared at the passenger side door. Clutching her chest, she pointed toward the glove box. “Bag,” she managed to gasp.
   “A bag. In there!”
   “Oh! Okay! Are you okay?” Hang on.” Casio opened the glove box and pulled out a paper bag, then brought it to her mouth. “Breathe. In-out-in-out.”
   She did. Her lungs felt like they might burst as the panic spiked. “Oh, God. It’s just like that night.” A scream vibrated in her throat, and she squelched it before it could pierce the air inside the Tahoe.
   “No.” Casio’s hand pressed against her clammy neck. “Now, listen, Claude. Keep breathing.” His smooth-as-silk tone calmed her and evened out her breath. She tried to focus on his tone. “This isn’t like that night on the bus. No one is after you. The person with a gun was after BJ. No one else. It wasn’t a random act or I wouldn’t have just been shot in the arm. Right? If that man was on a killing spree, we’d all be dead right now.”
   His voice was beginning to soothe her, and slowly, the words sank into her muddled brain. She set the bag in her lap and filled her lungs with a cleansing breath. “Thanks, Casio,” she whispered and tried to smile. “You’re a hero.”
   His jaw clenched as he inhaled from a freshly lit cigarette and then passed it to her. “Yep, that’s what I am.” He expelled a stream of smoke. “A real hero.”
   At the sarcasm in his tone, Claudia regretted her choice of words. She reached across the seat and took his hand. “We did what we could.”
   “Too bad that doesn’t make the dreams go away.”
   She stared into the horizon where clouds were beginning to roll their way. Silently, they sat, hand-in-hand, passing the cigarette between them, remembering that they shared a bond of pain and loss.
   Somehow, for the moment, it made things calmer.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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The Crossing 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
JodyJ More than 1 year ago
I was not able to put this book down, I love faith based suspense novels anyway. The Crossing starts out with BJ Remington being shot 10 years earlier on the school bus that was coming back from a football game. A masked gunman boarded the bus and shot the star quarterback and cheerleading coach BJ Remington. This is a must read, it is an amazing story of unconditional love, hope and loss. To me this book is for anyone who has experienced a loss, or gone through a traumatic experience, and still be able to find your way back to God in such a heavy time in your life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys faith based suspense novels. You will not be able to put this book down. Serita Jakes has captured the attention of her readers with this wonderful novel of healing and grace. I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Press book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
harstan More than 1 year ago
A decade has passed since the horrific murder of Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington. Though the case has gone cold in terms of law enforcement, those on the school bus that day and others who were close to the victim have failed to move on as the homicide remains inside their souls. Assistant District Attorney Victor Campbell knows his wife Claudia is one of those who remain hunted by her friend's death. Although he has a hidden agenda, for the sake of his wife's emotional state, Victor reopens the investigation. Former high school football quarterback Casio Hightower saw his dreams of the NFL end with a bullet when the shooter killed Remington. Another victim is a resentful cop with anger management issues that he takes out by battering the woman he loves Harper Abbot; he wants closure just like Claudia does. Casio offers to assist Vic. This is a great Christian investigative thriller with a shocking late twist that makes Serita Jakes tale that much more plausible. The story line is character driven with Claudia the link between the ten years. Loaded with action and avoiding preaching though the message is to turn to God when unexplainable bad things happen to good people, readers will relish this excellent whodunit. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great job First Lady Jakes...I was very impressed with the story line. It held my interest and made me want to read more. It is a much recommended reading. Can not wait to see it on the big screen.
LBrandon99 More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written with faith and redemption intertwined in every chapter of this book.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
Murder. The gunman shot her, shot someone trying to stop it, then got off the bus and disappeared. That's how the story began, but what happened to the individuals in the story definitely doesn't end there. B.J. died that day, but Claudia and Casio were dealt a blow that would change them forever. Casio had played football, Claudia had trusted B.J and called her "friend." But what about the shooter? Who was this person and how does their life intertwine with those on and off the bus? After 10 years, how is everyone coping? Will Victor be able to help his wife and solve the murder? Will anyone lean on God to help them? While I enjoyed the book, I found it a little hard to get into at first, but as the story unfolded, I couldn't put the book down. I was pulled in by the effects of PTSD on the characters, especially Claudia and Casio, and the love Victor had for his wife. This story could have come from today's headlines and was written in a realistic way. Individual readers will enjoy this book and book clubs will find lots to talk about. Some topics are: PTSD, secrets, love, forgiveness, and finding your way back to God. I received my free review copy from the Blogging for Books program and thank them.
crazypinkbubbles More than 1 year ago
The Crossing tells the story of a shooting by a masked gunman that occurred on a school bus many years ago. The case went unsolved until someone reopened the case 10 years later. The story unravels the lives and secrets of those involved in the tragedy as the mystery of that day begins to be revealed. After reading the description of The Crossing, I was immediately excited about a story that would tell about real life hardships and loss with the mystery of finding out how all of this happened. I am a sucker for a good mystery. While I was excited to begin reading, it took me a while to actually get into it. It is not the type of mystery that makes you feel like one needs to keep reading all night just to find out what happens. While it did get more interesting toward the end, I found it to be a little slow, and I never really connected with the characters. I definitely expected more and was a little disappointed when I finished. While I was disappointed to some extent, I did think the The Crossing had a good portrayal the hurt caused by sin, and the power that true forgiveness has. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Organicshoes on LibraryThing 10 months ago
After 10 years Claudia is still haunted by the night she watched as her best friend was murdered and unable to do anything. The murder has gone unsolved for so long, when Claudia¿s husband, Victor, decides to reopen the case in hopes of bringing Claudia some closure the nightmares and panic attacks return full force. Now that the case has been reopened and new evidence has come forward there is no way of stopping now. The case is tearing apart Claudia and Victor¿s marriage, will Victor be able to solve the case and be able to pull his family back together? The Crossing could be a great story, the idea and storyline pull you into the lives of those affected by the murder and how some of the students are still trying to cope after ten years. Jakes has a good start to what could be a great story; however, the story comes off as very surface level and does not really dive into the characters and the problems they are facing on a deeper level. The issues that develop throughout the book are solved very easily and fall into place a little too neatly. The summary on the back of the book is also slightly misleading, this book could be great if Jakes would take it to the next level and really delve into the characters and what makes them tick as well as what causes some of the relationships to be so strained. Reading a book where the characters have many situations to overcome and in the end fall perfectly into place seems unrealistic and avoids showing the growth of each character.I received this book complimentary from Waterbrook Multnomah for an honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
kaykwilts on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Once I started this book I could not put it down. It was that suspenseful. This is a book written by a Christian writer but it is not the typical Christian fiction. If you are looking for a book where there is a fairytale ending for everyone at the end of the book then this book is not for you. For one couple there was the happy ending but not for others. Book is full of twists and turns. Be sure to stay with the book until the end because you won't be disappointed. I am looking forward to what this writer has in store for the future. Would love to see her write more fiction of this caliber.
msh09 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I enjoyed reading this book by Serita Jakes. It was on the heavy side emotionally, dealing with PTSD, murder, lots of heavy emotions throughout the book. Jakes weaves throughout the story the serious consequences of sin and selfishness, how lives are affected by our sins as well as others. It was difficult reading for me at a difficult time in my life, but I don't want to take away from the fact that it was a good read.
themiraclesnook on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book was one I could not put down. It grabbed me from page 1 and oh my did it keep me and shocked me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
carolized More than 1 year ago
Slow Slow Read...purchased this book for January's Book Review. I am very disappointed and had to place myself on "book punishment" to finish reading it. Book punishment is I can't purchase another book until I finish prior book. I don't like book punishment nor the book that get me there. Save your money...borrow mines
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was somewhat slow in the begining, but as time went on I couldn't put it down. There were some twist and turns that I was NOT expecting. I enjoyed it and I highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THESELF-TAUGHTCOOK More than 1 year ago
On the way home from a high school football game, a masked gunman jumped onto the bus and opened fire, killing the cheerleading coach, BJ Remington, and injuring the star quarterback, Casio Hightower. Ten years later, Casio and his former girlfriend Claudia are still dealing with the aftermath of that terrible night. When Claudia's Assistant District Attorney husband reopens the case, the truth of what happened that night reopens old wounds that have never really healed. This is a good novel portraying characters suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They seem like real people with real problems, which you don't usually find in fictional novels. Casio has anger management problems as well as relationship problems, and Claudia suffers anxiety attacks and flashbacks. These are very real and common symptoms. The opening of each chapter where we hear BJ's dying thoughts are captivating. They may be the best part of the book. It held my attention right up until the end, and then somehow it fell flat. The solution was predictable and it seemed that most of it was wrapped up off-stage, if you will. But all in all, it was a good read, and I thought it was nice that at the end there was information regarding PTSD. 4 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. Hope others who reads it will like it too.
libraryboy More than 1 year ago
This has been a LONG time getting to the top of my too be read pile. I joined "Blogging For Books" last year some time in a hesitant start to this whole review blogging thing I'm doing. I waited, and waited for the book to come in, but it never showed up. Here now, with my resurgence of doing these reviews, I had them send me another copy so that I can finish what I started. Claudia, Casio and the several other players and cheerleaders were on a bus back from a game when, while they were stopped for a train, a masked gunman boarded the bus taking the life of their cheer director and friend, BJ. Other than minor injuries, no one else was hurt except for BJ. The relationship between Claudia and her teacher had gone past the normal boundaries and they had become close friends. Flash forward 10 years, Claudia is still haunted by what happened on the bus, Casio, now a police officer, is having trouble with anger management. Claudia's husband is the ADA and has been given new evidence by Casio that gives him a reason to reopen the case to hopefully find the killer. Is there a killer on the loose? What is Claudia hiding and why doesn't she want the case reopened? Does Casio ever get help with his anger issue? READ THE BOOK! This book was rather hard for me to get into, unfortunately. The book is basically written from the perspective of about 4 characters; BJ, Claudia, Vic and Casio. I guess I'm just a simple guy and having to read these perspectives was just a bit much for me. The plot was pretty straight-forward, although there were some side stories that I thought distracted from the main plot (the affair that Claudia's mother had). There are several underlying themes that were spelled out in the book; Spousal Abuse, infidelity, faith, etc. just to name a few. So is this a "man's book"? I would have to say probably not. Not that I think all men are as easily confused as I am, but I would rather have a book that just tells the story. Having it told by different perspectives was a major turn off for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Just finished reading this. She did a wonderful jib...hope she erites more. Wished there were scriptures about forgiveness in here...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Claudia is married with a wonderful family. But after a miscarriage she keeps remembering what happened her senior year in high school. Her best friend dies and two other people are shot. It brings adultery, murder and lies into her life and leaves her shaken. Her husband can see her downward spiral and re-opens the case to bring her closure. It opens up more than just one person's death. This book was written from the dead woman's perspective as well as from the other people involved. It was an interesting way to tell the story and helped to keep the story from feeling too deep and depressing. The story was well told and had very engaging characters. It has some interesting parts that I didn't see coming. Definitely a book I would recommend. I can't wait to read more by this author. I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.