Cross Body Lead
Propertius Press (2021)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (01/2022)
“Cross Body Lead,” by Elie Axelroth, is a compelling work of women’s fiction focused on a college student being stalked by a fellow student, the psychological and legal aspects surrounding it, and the outcomes, which may come as a surprise to you.
The student is Evelyn Davis, and as she is stalked by someone, at first it is minimized, and she goes to a professor, campus counselor, and college safety authorities, but no one seems to be able to offer her much help. There aren’t many Black students on this campus, but Evelyn is one of them, and things really intensify over time, with her stalker, Eddie Pike, following her, posting pictures of her on social media, and texting her several times a day. Billie Is Evelyn’s professor, and loves helping her at-risk students out, but this situation may be too much for her. Even when Evelyn’s apartment is broken into, she is disregarded. Frustrated, Billie does what she has to do.
Axelroth has crafted a psychologically satisfying novel that also speaks to current-day issues of stalking and obsession. The writing is raw and emotional, frank and moving. The plot moves along at a steady pace, and I like the way the author builds suspense a little at a time. I also like the multiple points of view, as it gives a well-rounded picture of what’s unfolding in the story and why. Other characters are brought in to offer diverse angles of the events, making for a fully formed narrative.
Stalking is a major issue today, and Axelroth is doing a great public service by dramatizing it in a way that reaches more effectively than a PSA ever could. Axelroth is a talented writer, and she pulls all the pieces together to bring you a powerful story. There are many things about the way the author writes that I like, for example, the way she describes Billie’s personality through her teaching style.
If you like punchy psychological dramas with a message, you will love “Cross Body Lead” by Elie Axelroth.