Jeanne C. Stein, Crossroads

Posted November 15, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Crossroads (Anna Strong Chronicles, #7)Crossroads by Jeanne C. Stein
Series: Anna Strong, 6 7
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixth Seventh in the Anna Strong urban fantasy series set in San Diego and revolving around the Chosen, the head of the thirteen vampire tribes although this particular story takes place on a Navajo reservation.

My Take

It’s a question of embracing one’s humanity and a short, but normal life versus accepting the responsibility of integrity and protecting humanity. A journey of cause and effect in which Anna puzzles out the choice she must make. How the decisions and choices she has made to-date affect others.

A lovely exploration of Navajo culture with some of the Dine language, its ceremonies surrounding death, hogan architecture, and food that creates a bond with the reader. Stein also provides Anna with lots of opportunities for self-reflection. Some of which made me a bit nuts. I don’t remember Anna being such a nitwit!

The Story

A few brief bits of action starts Crossroads off but the real purpose of the story begins with Chael’s visit with Anna in her home when he dangles the carrot of Anna regaining her mortality while threatening the existence of Daniel Frey’s son. A son whom no one should know exists. A reversal that should not be possible.

Both are located on the Navajo reservation and Frey and Anna journey there to protect and inquire. But tragedy strikes and John-John loses the most important person in his young life. The question becomes was it an accident or was it intentional and there are too many possibilities as to who it could have been.

Someone has been manufacturing fake artifacts of Navajo culture. Members of the tribe want nothing to do with vampires. Is Sarah’s lover threatened by Daniel? Has Chael bribed someone to destroy the lives of people whom Anna loves?

Anna must choose whether she will succumb to the violence of the vampire within or can she hang onto her own humanity?

The Characters

Anna Strong may be a vampire, but she’s also a bounty hunter in partnership with David, an ex-pro football player and a Boy Scout by temperament, and now, Tracey. For whom, Anna runs backup when the two descend upon her sister’s, Miriam’s, ex-husband with the restraining order.

Max was Anna’s boyfriend when she was turned. When he found out what she was, he took off. Although. He did keep coming around Culebra’s bar to donate blood and fuck vampires; guess it was just Anna that turned him off. Doesn’t seem to stop him from calling for favors from her. Jerk. Culebra runs a blood bar across the border where vampires can purchase a live one. He also provides intel to Max and Anna. Detective Harris has his own suspicions about Anna as she always seems to be at the center of problems. Suspicions that are ramped up when the lab indicates that the bone from Chief Williams’ burnt-out shell of a car is over 200-years-old.

Daniel Frey is a shapeshifter, a panther, an English teacher, and Anna’s friend. It’s his son, John-John, who is threatened. Sarah is the mother of his child and they live on the Navajo reservation, eager to prevent Daniel’s interaction with his son. Mary Yellow Bird is Sarah’s sister with quite a bit to hide. George Long Whiskers and his wife have quite a bit to hide as well as lose. Officer Tony Kayani is with the Navajo Nation Police and Sarah’s lover. Sani is the shaman with whom Anna must meet; an impossible task since he “doesn’t exist”.

Chael is head of the Middle Eastern Vampire Tribe, Anna’s greatest enemy, and eager to replace her as the Chosen and implement his own plans for humanity’s destruction. Judith Williams is a vampire and Chief Williams’ widow. She’s also hooked up with Chael and hates Anna.

The Cover

The cover has a jean- and tank-top clad Anna ready to pull the trigger on a modern crossbow as she stands prepared to fight on a sketchy landscape, a green-tinted full moon lighting the scene.

The title reflects a decision she must make. Tempting in one direction, irresponsible in another, a Crossroads in Anna’s life.

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