Crossing Jordan - Jack Dickson

Ladymol's Review

I couldnít help but be prejudice in favour of liking this book before Iíd even opened it because Jack Dickson is one of my favourite authors, and heís not written a word yet that Iíve not loved. His Jas Anderson series is fabulous. Oddfellows was excellent. Iím reading his collection of short stories, Out of This World, and loving every one. So, I came predisposed to like Crossing Jordan and wasnít disappointed in any respect. This is an amazingly powerful and moving story told in his very unique striped down writing style. Set in the heart of Glasgow, as were his other books, this tells the story of Danny and Kel, two very different fifteen year olds. Danny is the son of a policeman and a teacher, the epitome of middleclass, taking 5 highers (the qualifications that get you into University) and aiming to go to Edinburgh University the following year. Heís also gay. Kel is trouble. Red haired, punchy, low intelligence but street-wise, heís already served time in juvenile institutions. His mother left when he was thirteen and his father beats him. Heís also homophobic.

Despite all these differences, they are inseparable, and their relationship is told with such amazing insight that you feel you actually know these boys for real.

Kel is involved with the local big man, Jordan. He boasts that heís Jordanís partner, Jordanís friendÖ we know heís only boasting to look big to Danny, but the reality of the situation is far worse than we could ever imagine.

Doing a ďjobĒ for Jordan (meeting a man and accepting a parcel), turns into a nightmare for the two boys that escalates and escalates until they are forced to flee the city, wanted by both Jordan and the police. One thing you donít do when you work for Jordan is cross him. Heís a truly terrifying figure.

Interwoven in this tale of underworld crime and violence is the story of Danny and Kel: why they are together, how they feel about each other. I donít think Iíll even attempt to describe how this relationship unfolds. Itís so subtle and real and lifelike and heartbreaking and funny that you really must just buy this book and read it. Iíve never read a more honest account of a teenager coming out. I may be wrong, but Iíd hazard a guess that the author was Danny.

Much of the dialogue is written in broad Glaswegian. Iím not good with reading accents, but I had no real problem with it.

The book has one of the most truly erotic sex scenes Iíve ever read in a novel (and you know Iíve read lots!) and has wonderful sexy moments throughout. However, itís underage sex, so just be warned if that sort of thing is likely to offend you. I donít think anyone British would turn a hair at fifteen year olds having sex, but I think the reaction would be stronger in the States.

If youíve ever wondered what the difference between exploitation and genius is then read this novel.

Very highly recommended.

Cerisaye's Review

Nothing quite compares to the experience of a Jack Dickson novel.I read for escapism, but his books are far from cosy or comforting.Words that hurt like barbs against the skin, prose stripped to bare bone, with power to shock and arouse, disturb and move you to almost simultaneously to tears or laughter.

Boys in age and physical maturity, but they face problems thatíd bring down most adults in this heartbreaking story of love on the run, that moves from Glasgowís criminal underworld to the streets of London.Fear and desperation so vividly evoked itís like youíre inside their heads experiencing their terrorÖthe intensity of their feelings, their need for each other, and the indissoluble bond that joins them.

Dannyís dad is a policeman and his mother a teacher, a nice middle class family.Heís bright and plans to go to university in Edinburgh, an escape route from pressure at home and in school to pretend to be something heís not.Danny is coming to terms with being gay, desperate to experience the wonderful things shown in The Joy of Gay Sex.He puts up with homophobic bullying because he knows thereís a better life to come.And heís got Kel, thin, red-haired, green-eyed with pale freckled skin, and bitten fingernails.Kel has limited opportunity but he wants the good things.

Kel is the school bad boy, jailbait, in the clutches of a charismatic local criminal.Jordan Burns is sleek and handsome, smooth and sexual, and he likes boys.Danny is drawn to him but heís also scared, repelled even.Rightly.Anyone who crosses Jordan ends up minus an eye, a reminder where their loyalties lie.  

Kel has an alcoholic father who beats him.His mother left them for a new life and family in London.Kel has little experience of love and no sense of self-worth.Jordan uses his body as a receptacle, an exchange of favours that represents Kelís chance to escape deprived circumstances.He says heís not a poof.Itís just sex, knobs in holes, body without soul.

This is a blistering story of teenage love, youthful optimism, and unspeakable violence.A series of calamities plunges Danny & Kel into a nightmare world, pursued by Jordanís henchmen after a drug deal goes wrong. A simple money pick-up ends in accidental death when Kel intervenes to protect Danny from a violent attack.Eventually the boys run away to London on the overnight sleeper, hoping to escape Jordanís retribution when he discovers theyíve been deceiving him.†

Innocents abroad, theyíve nothing but each other- romance without a trace of sentimentality.Can they survive apparently hopeless circumstances or will Kel drag Danny down with him?Gathering tension culminates in a shocking climax that refuses to compromise.

Dickson captures emerging adolescent sexuality, the fierce intensity of first love, and cruel isolation caused by parental failure to love unconditionally children who must make their own way.Neither set of parents accepts a gay son, class and educational achievement no deterrent to bigotry.

Though preoccupied by teenage obsession with sex, shown with understanding and humour, Danny aches more for intimacy and affection.Kel, Jordanís bum-boy, full of self-loathing, sees sex as something done to him, like his fatherís fists.Can Danny teach him the difference between making love and fucking?Kel did it all for Danny, the shooting that pitched them into the horror of violent retribution.

Itís tender & sweet, unbearably sad, horrifying, erotic and wonderful.I was emotionally raw by the end.Expect graphic violence and explicit sex- thereís a beautifully real first-time sequence- and an ending that begs for a sequel.Donít miss this book.

Published by the Millivres-Prowler Group Ltd. ISBN: 1873741413

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