Title: Cross Currents
Author: John Shors
Genre: Contemporary fiction, multi-cultural fiction
Publisher: New American Library
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: Lek opened his eyes, though his body remained as still as the gecko on the ceiling.
Lek and Sarai own a small resort on Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi island. Their restaurant and bungalows stay busy enough for them to just get by. Lek is happy to welcome Patch, and the help he brings to the resort, even though it’s obvious that Patch is running from something. Patch’s brother, Ryan, shows up on Ko Phi Phi with his girlfriend, Brooke, hoping to convince Patch to turn himself in to the authorities. As the brothers and Brooke spend time together, it becomes obvious that Ryan’s and Brooke’s relationship is shattering, while Patch and Brooke are drawn to each other. As the cracks begin to appear between the brothers, and Lek and Sarai struggle to keep their resort profitable, none of them are aware of the devastation headed their way.
This is the fourth book by John Shors that I have read and reviewed – and loved. (You can find my reviews of his other books on my Reviews by Author page.) In fact, I think his books keep getting better and better, as Cross Currents is my favorite by far. (I haven’t read Beneath a Marble Sky yet.) This author has such a huge passion for Asia and its people, and each page of this book is soaked in that passion. I can honestly say I had no desire to visit Asia until I read The Wishing Trees, and after this latest book, I find myself wanting to go to Thailand, to experience the beauty and the kindness of the people.
One of the things that John Shors does best is write setting – he puts you right smack in the middle of the story. As I read, I could hear Lek and Sarai’s children laughing, feel the sand between my toes, see the tree house Patch built, taste the banana crepes. And while I was turning the pages, vicariously living in Thailand, I was falling in love with the characters in this story. Lek, with his injured hip, who works so hard to make his wife laugh. Sarai, who is so driven and busy, all of her movements quick and efficient. Yai, Sarai’s mother, literally fat and happy, taking such good care of baby Achara. Niran, and his love of the ocean and its creatures. Suchin, so feisty and full of laughter and jokes. And Ryan and Patch, two brothers who couldn’t be more different, who each struggle to understand the other, but whose bond couldn’t be stronger or more permanent. Brooke, a young woman who has had something precious stolen from her, and who finds a measure of healing on the beaches of Ko Phi Phi.
Of course, reading this book is a lot like waiting for the last shoe to drop. Because of the setting and the time period, I knew what was coming, and the deeper I got into the story and the more attached to the characters I became, the more I was scared for how things would end. The last twenty pages or so were accompanied by sadness and many tears, but ultimately, Cross Currents is a story of family devotion, love, and redemption. It is a story not to be missed.