Friday, 29 March 2013

Review | Shades Of Gray, Andy Holloman

Shades of GrayShades of Gray by Andy Holloman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A richly expansive adventure story:

This is a detailed and evenly-paced story that shows how desperation and urgency can lead a man to dark deeds. Highly detailed and precise in narrative delivery, we see a man on the precipice of despair willing to risk everything … and paying the worst possible price for crossing the line.

A devoted father, John, finds himself in extreme financial difficulty. With his business failing and his precious daughter in need of expensive medical care, John becomes involved in a drug smuggling operation with Wanda, a rough diamond who herself is trying also to look after her child in difficult circumstances. The events of 9/11 have stunted the trafficking of drugs, leaving Wanda struggling to provide for herself and child. The events of 9/11 have also left John’s travel agency business in dire straits, leaving him in the same predicament with his own daughter.

Already ‘partnered’ in a fashion with the sadistic Jamel, Wanda makes a hesitant working-relationship with John to bring drugs into the country and earn the money they both need. An uncommon relationship is formed, in which they both use their particular skills to make the business arrangement profitable.

John is driven by desperation, and reluctantly agrees to the complex plans he and Wanda form. But everything they do must be kept secret from Jamel, Wanda’s former business partner, if they are both to succeed – and stay in one piece!

This is a novel that gives us a vivid insight into the sordid operation of drug-trafficking… a novel which has either been well-researched or simply the product of a vivid imagination… and much kudos to the author for making me wonder which. It’s also a story of heartbreak, struggle, and how far a parent will go to protect its child.

I thoroughly enjoyed the gradual unveiling of this adventure, the tense particulars of each step of John and Wanda’s planning, and the shocks and twists which illuminate the plot line. This story sucks you into a seedy world, complete with its inherent dangers, and above all the frightening consequences. The most innocuous events early on in the book are tied up with a slamming twist at the end, in which the cruellest ironies are revealed. Recommended read.

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