One Eye Press Singles has done it again. They published yet another novella that has left me speechless and begging for more. Their latest offering, Texas, Hold Your Queens by Marie S. Crosswell is a police procedural, wrapped in a crime novel, layered with heartbreaking romance, yet is as dirty and unflinching a novella I have read in recent memory.
This beautifully written story centers on Detectives Mason Page and Farrah Tyler and explores both their hunt for a wanted fugitive and their hunt for love and salvation within each other. The story is told in two parallel storylines that are separated by two months and an eluded to event that has torn a hole in the loving relationship that Mason and Farrah have been strengthening recently. Each storyline is well written and they merge nicely in the latter half of the book.
The strength of this novella lies in Crosswell’s ability to paint an eloquent picture of the despair and loneliness felt by her protagonists as they deal with the fallout of their hunt for their fugitive. Crosswell not only gets into the minds of her characters, but into their hearts and souls, and takes the reader for the ride as well. Both Mason and Farrah are well fleshed out and contain mountains of humanity, something that's often lacking in crime novels. As they struggle to reconnect with each other and themselves, the reader becomes more and more invested in their elusive quest for understanding and forgiveness, not only from their partner, but from themselves.
While the crime aspect of this novella is strong, the humanity of the characters are what truly lifts this offering into the must-read realm. Crosswell keeps her writing taunt and I felt a compulsion to finish and see where the characters ended up. I cared for them as a read and I hope to see both detectives in future writings from Crosswell. Characters this strongly written deserve to live and and grow.
Reviewed by Derrick Horodyski.