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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Joshua Tree is a short story written by Vicki-Ann Bush. Driving through the Arizona desert, Sam and Edith’s weekend plans hit a snag when the car’s radiator dies, leaving them both stranded. Sam calls the nearest mechanic and is towed to the closest town. The amount of Joshua trees in the surrounding area is startling, all having grown and multiplied, seemingly from out of nowhere. As the mechanic, Calvin, advises that the car will be fixed the following morning at the earliest, Sam and Edith stay the night at a motel. Both are warned to avoid a house they had passed earlier which had been amidst the thickest part of the forest of Joshua trees, as it is owned by crazy old man named Everett. Falling asleep at the motel from sheer exhaustion, Sam wakens from a nightmare to find Edith missing, with a note that she had gone for a walk. In a panic, Sam goes looking for her and is befriended by a large white dog, Beau, which seems to be lost. After finding Edith’s engraved cross – something she never takes off – lying on the ground, panic engulfs Sam and he swiftly makes his way to old man Everett’s house. What he discovers is far more horrifying than he ever could have imagined and Sam quickly realizes that his only chance of survival is a miracle.
Vicki-Ann Bush delivers this psychological thriller flawlessly, capturing every emotion and setting the scene so well that it was like watching a film on the big screen, right before my very eyes. Sam’s love and devotion to Edith is made clear by the mention of the engagement ring in his pocket, and I felt his fear as my own when Edith had vanished. The main reason I grabbed this particular book from the shelf was because it had Vicki-Ann Bush’s name attached to it, and this author is renowned for writing incredible romance and paranormal novels which have knocked my socks off many times in the past. As soon as the horrific turn in this story hit me, I was thrilled to see that Vicki-Ann’s talents extend to such a broad range of genres. With tears in my eyes, my pulse raced and my jaw dropped the very moment I learned the shocking secret behind old man Everett, causing my skin to crawl with every page turn thereafter. I thoroughly enjoyed the adrenaline rush of reading The Joshua Tree and recommend it to those who enjoy paranormal thrillers which hit the reader like a sledge hammer, while begging for more.