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Crossed Over: A Murder, a Memoir Hardcover – August 4, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (August 4, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679411844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679411840
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shortly after a hit-and-run driver killed her son Peter in 1984, Texas novelist Lowry ( Breaking Gentle ) began visiting Karla Faye Tucker, a death-row prisoner in Mountain View, Tex., who was convicted with her boyfriend for the 1983 pickaxe murders of an acquaintance and his lover. In due course Lowry read Tucker's trial transcript and interviewed the judge, Tucker's defense attorneys and the jail chaplain. There is little further investigation or much sense of where Lowry is going with any of this material. She seems as lost about what to make of Tucker's death sentence as she is about what meaning to derive from her son's death. But what we learn about Tucker's prison habilitation is instructive: her mother, a prostitute, was 13 when Tucker, the girl's third daughter, was born; Tucker started using drugs before she was 10. Also of value is the rare glimpse the book provides of prison life for a woman on death row.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The murder weapon is a pickaxe, and the killer is 23-year-old Karla Faye Tucker, who readily admits to the crime, even stating she felt sexual gratification during the killing. Sensational media copy. In a mixture of true crime and memoir held together by a fiction writer's rich language, novelist Lowry ( Breaking Gentle , LJ 8/88) uses prison interviews and speculation about Karla from her family's snapshots to unveil an upbringing of substance abuse and prostitution. The night of the murders, Karla, having become a hardened woman living on the edge, crossed over to a realm where rage and violence replace law and order. Through sometimes tenuous comparisons, Lowry also contrasts events of her life to those of Karla, now on death row. Lowry tells of her son Peter, killed in a hit-and-run incident. Questioning her parenting, recalling his childhood and later brushes with the law, she concerns herself with what happened in between, "before and after," in both the life of her son and Karla. Recommended for true crime collections.
- Robert Hodder, Memorial Univ . of Newfoundland Lib., St. John's
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Don't waste your money on this trash.
Richard A Thornton
Perhaps, being of the mindset that reality rests as much in behavior as thought, I did not find Lowry's analysis of events convincing or cohesive.
Bonnie Brody
I just re-read this book and quickly remembered why I had been so annoyed by it before.
Leser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Trisha E. Lisk on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Lowry's way with words and with the flow of the story is exquisitely rendered. She has told a story that is far, far too hard to tell and made the reader glad she did. She weaves the tragedy of her own son's death with the horror of Karla Faye Tucker's life and crime and death with such a soft touch and consummate skill it can only be a gift. I am a voracious reader and can tell you that I've never read a harder story to tell, told with so much light, so much compassion, so much beauty, so much gut-wrenching honesty. I have worked with abused people and with people who have experienced great losses, and I learned from this book. Thank you, Ms. Lowry, for giving us your bone marrow in this one.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am a regular reader of the true crime genre and picked up this book the same way I have picked up the others ... go to the true crime section and take something from the shelf. At the time I chose this book, I had never heard of Karla Faye Tucker or her crime. I read the book and enjoyed it for the same reason the author became close to her subject ... Karla Faye Tucker is a compelling character, despite the horrible crime she has admitted to committing. Karla Faye is surprisingly likeable, forthcoming about her life before the crime, and talks about the crime candidly, although not in a boastful or graphic way. She does not try to blame her upbringing, anyone or anything for her crime and does not plead for understanding. She simply talks about herself, what she did and how she feels about herself now. The reader is given the opportunity to make their own decision about her. About two months after I read this book, I began to hear about Karla Faye Tucker every day as her execution date drew closer. I support the death penalty and have never felt badly about the execution of a convicted murderer, in fact, I applauded this nation's ability to carry out these punishments. When Karla Faye Tucker was executed this week, I felt terribly sad. I still can't fully explain why, but this book was certainly the reason.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book, in the true crime genre, is about a female pick ax murderer on death row. It is a biographical retrospective from a psychological perspective and examines Karla's early involvement with hard drugs, her upbringing by a drug addicted and prostitute mother and other environmental influences.

The author juxtaposes a memoir or her son who was recently killed in a hit-run accident. He, too, was a 'child-gone-bad' - - skirmishes with the law, school drop-out. "There but for fortune"......she thinks.

Though interesting, this book misses the boat. Karla has become 'decent' - - a christian, caring woman. However, I ended the book still thinking, 'Who is she?', and ultimately, 'so what!'. Perhaps, being of the mindset that reality rests as much in behavior as thought, I did not find Lowry's analysis of events convincing or cohesive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leser on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I just re-read this book and quickly remembered why I had been so annoyed by it before. One issue was the writing style, at least in parts of the book. When Ms. Lowry writes about the murders, she continuously jumps back and forth, gives the same information several times and even interrupts the account of the murder with one those many, many, many anecdotes about herself. The result is an annoying muddle. However, while some reviewers criticized that she didn't talk about the cruelty and senselessness of the murders, I think she did. There is no glossing over, there is no forgetting the victims in her account. Throughout the book it is obvious that she did thorough research to get and present all the facts.

She also does a good job of writing about the trial. There is no painful minute-by-minute account of every little thing and detail (as there is so often in true crime books), it is a good summary of the trial, with the relevant information included. Everyone who has ever read a trial transcript knows how long-winded they are and in my opinion, Ms Lowry has done a good job of sticking to the important bits.

I wish she had shown that diligence throughout the rest of the book. The trial section is one of the best sections of the book because it is the only one that isn't constantly interrupted by the author talking about herself. In the many true crime books I read, the author always stays in the background, tells the story of the crime, the victims and the perpetrators. Here, Ms Lowry spends about a third of the book talking about herself. I don't quite understand why she thought it would be a good idea to do so. In my opinion it didn't work out at all.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By headbutler on April 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Compassion" seems to be in short supply when it comes to Karla Faye Tucker --- starting with then-Gov. Bush's smirk on the occasion of her execution and continuing in these reader comments. This she-got-what-she-deserved feeling stems, I think, from the view that People Don't Change. What grim philosophy! Change --- the hope of it, the longing for it --- is, in fact, what drives most evangelical religions. Given that, you'd think Karla Faye Tucker would be the Poster Child for Christian conversion. She never denied the terrible crimes she committed, she prostrated herself before her Lord, and, if you believe her, Jesus bathed herin His love. That is the subject of the book Beverly Lowry has written --- a book powered by a head-splitting irony: The murderesss gives comfort to the professional writer (a mother whose son was killed in an unsolved highway accident). My advice: Just read the book. Decide for yourself.
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