Shades of Gray is seemingly inspired by a true story. It deals with a travel agent and his daughter, and a drug dealer and her daughter. They get involved and difficulties arise.
The book starts strong, with clear characterization and simple, down to earth prose. In the early chapters, I was impressed. Unfortunately, the book bogs down after about the first third. What seemed at first to be simple writing drops into simplistic plotting. What seemed unaffected conversation turns into stilted dialogue.
The ending is good, but it’s not as moving as it could have been. There’s a fair amount of deus ex machina going on, and the whole thing just sort floats in and out without much in the way of choices or action. Despite some pretty radical actions, there’s little introspection or contemplation. Many of the plot elements seem more outlined than complete.
It’s a shame, because I really thought that the first part of the book had charm, and I was looking forward to a good read. I’ve given it three stars in deference to that first hope, and because the ending, if contrived, was still somewhat effective. Here’s hoping Mr. Holloman’s next book carries his strengths throughout the story.