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Crossing the Line

Second Edition / Re-Release / 2019

Sergeant Nathan Thompson lost his leg in Afghanistan. Megan hides a secret. When they are assigned as a paramedic team, tensions flare—Nathan thinks Megan is a condescending know it all, and Megan resents a partner who might not be able to offer 100%. As they respond to calls, their mutual respect grows. Then Nathan notices bruises on Megan’s arms, and her excuses don’t add up. The next life Nathan must save may be that of his own partner—if only she’ll let him.

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'The whole damn book was amazing! I read until 3am, then thought about it all night. Then woke up thinking about it. It's a GREAT book! I loved it! I want more! I'm still hungover from that book. I can't even get into another book right now, had to go to magazines.'

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Second Edition

First Edition

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4.1 Stars
17 Ratings
6 Reviews

4.4 Stars
28 Ratings

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4.2 Stars
51 Ratings
15 Reviews

5.0 Stars
11 Ratings

'Oh my God. The book is so good!! Was so good. I'm sad it's over. Not everybody wants to read things that are "socially acceptable." Sometimes you want raw and realistic and relatable but still with enough magic and feel good warm fuzzies to get you through it and make you love it all the more. That's exactly what Crossing the Line is.'

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Crossing the Line was the April group read in the Fine Literature Book Club. Click to read the discussion posts or to join the group!

'Ok, I'm finished. Shaking, shocked, and finished. I can picture the entire book in my mind. Every single detail. Holy cow.'

Cover Art & Prototypes

The cover art for Crossing the Line was produced by DanSun.

The first edition cover was produced by Neil Brown of Flashover Press, and the second edition cover was produced by the author. 

'This book is a must read! It has it all. Romance, intrigue, all while tackling the tough issues. This is by far one of the greatest and most enjoyable books I have ever read. It holds you're attention and keeps you wanting more all the way to the end.'

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Metro Atlanta EMS Conference

The first edition of Crossing the Line was released at MAEMSC in 2016. Joy Slaughter spoke on a panel with Kelly Grayson and Kevin Hazzard.

'Mrs. Slaughter uses her actual EMS experience to bring a well-rounded account of budding love in an emergency setting. This is probably the best EMS book I've ever read, and includes accurate descriptions of real world treatment modalities. Highly recommended.'

Fan Pics

Here are fans in their Barrington County t-shirts, out and about and strutting their stuff! 


'Great book! For once, I've found a book that seems to have crawled into my brain and showed what our EMS world is really about! I read it, cover to cover in six hours. The second read was just as wonderful! Thank you, Joy!'

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Spotify Playlist

Most frequently played songs during the composition of Crossing the Line

'Was not ready for the book to end. The characters were very real. I could see myself and others I knew as the characters. It was very real with the hardships public safety deal with on a regular basis. Can't wait for more of this story to come.'



'Best book I have read in a long time!!! A must read!'

'Enjoyed immensely. As a paramedic and someone who lives with PTSD it's also very relatable. I met the author this weekend at a conference and got to speak with her briefly; she gets it. She really understands in a way that very few authors seem to.

(Very minor spoiler alert after this point. Ill try to be as spoiler-free as I can.)

With the above said... parts of this book were really hard to read. I would have finished it in one sitting, but I had to stop a couple of times due to PTSD triggers. While I appreciate the realism it got a little too real for me at a point. So, fair warning. A character flashes back frequently and vividly. A character has suicidal ideation and calls a life line. A character is brutally assaulted. But the author goes an often-ignored step further: characters are shown embracing their issues and taking positive (and some negative) steps to try to work through them.

With the current, albeit mostly silent, epidemic of first responder suicide it's refreshing to read a book that destigmatizes mental illness in a really positive way. "Suck it up and move on" doesn't always work. Maybe this book is what we as a group need.'

'My partner just finished your book. He threw it and screamed. He's like, "WTF! When is book two coming out??" He said its the only book he's ever read, like actually finished. He's read books but never finished them. He says he's going to need xanax because of a book.'

'Awesome book!!! Was pretty cool to read a novel about EMS, not just another EMT/Paramedic biography. A must read for any current EMT/Medic or someone thinking about becoming one.'

'Wow! I couldn't put the book down. Really great read! Can't wait to see if there's a part 2.'

'The burning red and white fury of the two Suns above Tattooine is the fury I feel for the author for making me hate a character so much, only to make me feel bad for hating the character.

All kidding aside, I found the book to be quite enjoyable. I rarely read medical related stories, but I found myself lost in the pages and forcing myself to put the book down so that I could get some sleep.

The characters are both relatable and captivating. They're full of flaws and vulnerabilities rather than the perfect life-saving, pestilence-stomping, disease-curing heroes starring in most first response books.

The story, although fiction, depict events that most emergency responders have faced in one way or another. Joy brings the reader along for a ride in EMS that, in my opinion, most other authors have failed to do.

I highly recommend this piece of literature to anyone who wants to gaze into the imperfect world of emergency services. You'll find happiness, sorrow, anger, humor, and just about any other emotion one looks for in a great work of writing. 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, and high five to the author.'

'I really enjoyed the real life action of the EMT/Paramedics in this book. I felt like I was right there with them, working side by side with them throughout the whole book. Even though this is a fiction book, it is written as if it were real life. Domestic violence between police, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics is more common that people think. Especially if they are in a relationship (dating or married). I was a firefighter/EMT, and Joy Slaughter knows what she is writing about. I cannot wait for her next book!'

'I lost an entire days' work because I wanted to read just the first few pages. I mean, come ON - an author who actually KNOWS medicine (from actually DOING it on a daily basis) being able to spin a tale that makes you believe everything you're reading actually happened is no easy task, and yet she nailed it. HARD. As both a medical professional and a disabled veteran, I thank Joy for doing the research required to get the smallest of details correct, and in the proper context.

If there were 6 stars available for this review, I'd give 7.

Great work, Joy. Now get busy on the sequel!'

'I enjoyed reading this book. I was glad this author didn't have them responding to just cut the scene short. By doing this, she showed how EMS workers work together as a team. The love story had its ups and downs, but it was great.'

'This book had my emotions all over the place, sadness, anger, happiness, rage, love, and laughter. As an EMT I enjoyed the story line and the basis of how the pressures of the professional life can and does affect our personal lives in this business. Excellent book, "Crossing the Line" crossed many lines and ripped down boundaries. This is a must read.'

'Read over and over. Cannot put this down.'

'Slaughter's snapshot of life as a paramedic is spot-on - as it should be, because Slaughter works in the field herself. Trigger warnings for those who have been abused - Slaughter pulls no punches in her portrayal of officer-involved domestic violence, which is as it should be; the issue is a common and heartbreaking one for public safety personnel, down to Todd getting away with whatever he wants on a scene with Megan because she's his wife, and Megan letting him, because it's a good ol' boys' club. A paramedic myself, I was pleased with the medical treatments portrayed (albeit frustrated a few times because hey, not my agency!). This is a solid read for clinicians and for those looking for what life as a provider is like - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Slaughter knows what she's doing with PTSD as well - both with Nathaniel's military-caused trauma and Megan's OIDV trauma. Flashbacks are real and visceral, and drop the reader back into Afghanistan or into a kitchen with a bowl of Cheerios, stomach churning at the potential of what's going to happen next. EMS is not all sunshine and rainbows, and the dichotomy of good and bad, of happily ever after and tragedy, of life and death, keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.'

'Loved it! Very well written and hits home.'

'Crossing the Line is well-written and well-planned and involves topics of growing interest to mainstream readers. The placement of a war veteran into a position of contrasting weakness and power is masterful. The use of medical jargon is interesting without leaving the reader bored. The love story keeps readers guessing and engaged.'

'This is a really cool book. And I'm not just saying so because the characters are first responders and because it humanizes post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic abuse: I'm also saying so because it's an actual page-turner! I haven't laughed (or cried) this much in a long time. I haven't read a good fictional account like this in a long time either.'

'Fast-paced and easy to read.'

'This is a well-written and coherent book with no incongruity within the plot. The characters are three dimensional with good development over the course of the story. Joy uses evidence-based medicine in the context of the calls run by the characters in her story, and the calls themselves are realistic calls that any of us in EMS may have run at one time or another. The dialogue was well-developed and flowed easily. The EMS system described in the book is different from mine but was described in such a way that it was easily understandable but didn't halt the flow of the narrative.'

'This is a great read. I was pleasantly surprised considering the fact that it dealt with some pretty heavy subjects. Joy portrayed these without making the novel heavy or depressing. I really enjoyed the story and gave me some insight into situations I don't have any experience with.

Crossing The Line is one of those books you could read in a night, or make last while you think deeply on the characters and their situations.

I'm hoping there's more to come because I could see there being much more to this story!'

'The nature of the characters' profession is literal life and death, and the reader gets an up-close view of how rescue personnel must come to grips with this fact. This also lends to the excitement and adrenaline running throughout the text and pushes the reader to keep reading—and read quickly.'

'The strengths of this novel are the moments of action, the scenes of emergency and procedure. These are what ultimately make it unique'

'Some things hit a little too close to home, but that's what I loved about it. Very real and fantastic writing!'

'I'm not the biggest fan of reading, but once I picked this book up I found I could not put it down. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. I cannot wait to enjoy more titles from this author.'

'This book was great. It keeps you very interested the whole time. The situations in it ring true to public safety, and bring me back to some calls, I've experienced myself. You start to empathize with the characters, and start to want things to go in certain directions. Can't really elaborate without spoilers. But this book will keep you wanting more, especially if you're in public safety yourself. Like me.'

'I was fully taken into this story. So many of the situations are so close to real life that it made it believable (if not personal). And I felt that the details describing the work they performed lent legitimacy to the rest of the story. Even though my personal experience was different, there were many things about the stories of the main characters that caused me to have to rethink my own life experiences. Reading this book not only trapped me in the story, but frustrated me and eventually helped me gain some perspective on my own life. My enjoyment, however, could have something to do with my experience working in the EMS industry myself or simply by having had personal relationships in my life.' 

'I absolutely loved this book! It was the perfect combination of romance and action. I loved the characters and their back stories. I loved how they bonded with each other and overcame so much together. I would recommend this to a friend. I would read it again. '

'I really enjoyed reading this book. I don't enjoy reading, but this book instantly caught my attention and I was hooked! I can relate to Megan in several ways. The way it was written really felt like it was real, like I was there. I really hope she will write another!'

'Loved it! Couldn't put it down but didn't want it to end!! Now it is one of my favorites. I'm also a firefighter and EMR, it's awesome to find a great book about the profession.'

'Great book. Read it twice.'

'I love this book, and I have read it more than once. As an EMT, I love the accurate descriptions of things related to the job.'

'Joy Slaughter is a gifted writer who tells a compelling story in Crossing The Line. With her talent for snark, she gifts her characters with realism, making them living, breathing people. Like real people, they have flaws and aren't always likeable, but you cheer for them all the same.

She also sets her scene with the kind of details that can only come from living her subject matter. I came away with a renewed respect and admiration for EMTs and other First Responders.

I recommend Crossing The Line to anyone looking for the kind of read that will stay with you long after the last page.'

'Loved the book!!! Can't wait for the next one to come out.'

'Decent book about the nitty gritty day to life of an EMT.'

'I love this book! So real. My only complaint is it needed to be longer. I want more of the story. Over-all amazing and highly recommend!

'I got the book today, and I am devouring it. The authenticity is awesome, and the characters real and like able. Write more!'

'This was one of the best books I've read in a long time.'

'Very compelling.'

'Very nicely written. I look forward to other works from Joy Slaughter.'

'Gripping stories of emergency medical runs are knitted into a moving love story, not an easy chore. Her characters are burdened and lifted by the author's understanding of love, loss , and despair. I could not put it down.'

'I've read this book 3 times. The story line and character depth suck you in. I saw myself in this story with some of the stuff I've been through. I wasn't ready for it to end.'

'An excellent read from start to finish.'

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