Shy, introverted, Clive Barrow knows that he’s different. He tries to keep to himself but that can be difficult for a boy growing up in a western-Georgia town as small as Crossroads. His one outlet to “the world out there” is his only real friend, Ludy Porter.
In the winter of 1950, in the throes of adolescence, the two go on a hunting trip. High on a successful hunt, bold from overindulgence of illicit moonshine, libidos raging, Clive and Ludy have a sexual experience.
For Ludy, the incident is all alcohol and hormones, something to be dismissed, never discussed, never repeated. For Clive, however, the encounter awakens a profound new aspect of himself, a genie he can’t return to the bottle.
But this is the 1950s in the Deep South. Clive knows he can do, must do, nothing. Being himself could not only destroy his lifelong friendship, it could cost him his life.
The conflict drives him into a marriage he doesn’t want, a war he barely survives, and an obsession to drive out the demon within. On the death of his abusive father, he takes on a hardscrabble farm and turns it into a lucrative cattle business. All seems well until his old urges arise and he’s threatened with exposure and the loss of everything he’s built with his own two hands. He retaliates the only way he knows to protect what he’s gained.
A thing done once becomes easier a second time. Or a third. Or a fourth.
Clive Barrow explores how a castigated sexual identity and unrequited love can push a human being into an instability that grows into something insane and terrifying.