CrossroadA Mystery | Honorable Mention 2020 Spotted Owl Award
On a desolate road in the Oregon high desert, an apprentice mortician stumbles upon a horrific car crash–and into a vortex of treachery, long-buried secrets, and growing menace.
Melisende Dulac is a fish out of water after relocating from the East Coast to a small community in the Oregon high desert. But just as she’s beginning to think of Barlow County as home, her life takes an ominous turn when she comes upon a grisly multiple car wreck and three shattered bodies on an isolated road outside of town. Near the scene, Melisende trips over a fourth body, that of a newborn girl lying a physics-defying distance from the wreckage. There is no one to claim the infant, nor a clear indication she was even part of the accident.
The crash offers plenty of opportunities for an apprentice mortician–but when the victims’ bodies are stolen from her family’s mortuary, Melisende is branded suspect number one. Then, Portland lawyer Kendrick Pride arrives on the scene on behalf of one of the victim’s families–or so he says–and Melisende begins to see that there’s much more to this enigmatic figure than meets the eye.
As the shadows gather and the mystery deepens, Melisende must race to find the truth–or be swallowed by the darkness.
The World of Melisende Dulac
Crossroad takes place in Barlow County, Oregon. Though fictional, the county is inspired by the landscape and history of central Oregon, even down to taking its name from Sam Barlow, an Oregon Trail pioneer.
Some of the information on these pages can only be inferred from Crossroad. Some appears in the short story "Hey Nineteen," which takes place about six months before the events of Crossroad. Beyond that, there are additional works-in-progress, including a short story now out on submission and two novellas.
Praise for Crossroad
2020 Owl Award for Best Northwest Mystery, Honorable Mention ANNOUNCEMENT
“This pulse-pounding tale begs to be read in one sitting.” FULL REVIEW
“A richly drawn background contextualizes the mystery’s melancholy, with bursts of humor emerging like sun through clouds.” FULL REVIEW
“But the true tour de force is Cameron’s character work. Mel is exquisitely drawn, and Cameron insightfully cultivates a supporting cast that further defines her. Appealing in their own right, they help push past and present forward to a conclusion that is resoundingly satisfying.” FULL REVIEW
“Dark, funny, and truly mysterious, W.H. Cameron’s CROSSROAD throws a prickly, complicated heroine straight into the middle of strange deaths and shady dealings as the newcomer in a lonely high-desert town.”
“Complex, compelling, intensely atmospheric, with masterful writing and gritty, unique characters. Though not a western per se, CROSSROAD is set in rural central Oregon’s high desert and will appeal to crime/mystery readers who enjoy the dark side of writers like Craig Johnson, CJ Box, and Nevada Barr.”
“CROSSROAD is a macabre, sinuous journey through the haunting beauty of Oregon’s high desert—and prickly, charming apprentice mortician Melisende Dulac is an ideal guide. Cameron deploys cliffhangers with a master’s touch, and renders his fictional Barlow County so vividly, you can almost smell the desert sage. With luck, he and I will be returning for years to come.”
“Gripping and darkly comic…Packed with unusual and enthralling characters, and set in a wonderful, fully-realized, high desert milieu, CROSSROAD had me hooked from page one.”
“A tragic wreck, stolen corpses, an unidentified infant, a high desert ghost, and a young woman struggling to make sense of it all—CROSSROAD offers up twist after delicious twist. Readers will root for the prickly and exceedingly relatable mortician-in-training Melisende Dulac as she works to expose the dark secrets of a small Oregon town.”
“If you haven’t yet found W. H Cameron’s gripping mysteries and great characters, time is not up! CROSSROAD is an immersive read and a you-are-there page turner.”
Revisions are when you get to
get to move the darts onto the bullseye while no one is looking.