The following critique of Gray Retribution was written by Kath Middleton. Kath is a writer, and is known with great affection on many forums as IGNITE. Since publishing her own first novel, Ravenfold, Kath has started to be better known by her own name, rather than her forum signature. Check her out on http://www.kathmiddletonbooks.com
This is a multi-stranded plot and keeps the reader eager for more movement on each front. There is the exciting jungle setting with the boy soldiers who really engage the sympathy and there is the home setting of Tom’s uncle-in-law who is threatened for protection money in his new business. Each escalates and Tom’s staff who are on training manoeuvres with local soldiers are drawn into the jungle war. At home, thugs don’t merely threaten and Tom’s family is under attack again. It’s full of exciting twists and turns. If I found a fault it was that one incident stretched my credulity a bit too far. However, on the evidence that he had seriously upset many in positions of power, I could concede the point.
There is a strong story line with several interwoven aspects and the reader is taken along on the journey, caring about the outcome in each case.
Readers will know Tom Gray from the three previous books so there’s no need to build his character from scratch. Several of the other characters have appeared before. They are sufficiently well differentiated that the readers doesn’t end up with a mish-mash of solder types or villains who can’t be distinguished one from another. Some were very unpleasant and horribly credible.
Style and Point of View
The style of writing was suitable to the story. it was crisp and clear and even the emotional scenes were not dragged out or ‘soppy’ which in the context made them all the more shocking.
The point of view varied but didn’t hop around so the reader was always clear whose eyes they were seeing the story through.
As good dialogue is a tool for informing the reader about character, action, information from a different point of view and more, it’s a very important tool. Here it is used well and helps to round the characters and keep the reader involved in the story.
Pacing and depth
The pacing was good. The action was fast and exciting but not rushed and breathless. It allowed for some depth of thought for the reader. There was the opportunity to reflect on what had happened before and how Tom Gray had in some ways backed himself into a corner through his no-holds-barred attitude to the death of his first wife and baby son.
There is sufficient emotional range for the reader to become immersed in the novel. Aspects which readers may never experience, such as jungle warfare or gang violence, are built up into believable happenings and we journey with the characters and are enabled to understand (if not agree with) their motivation. I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to other readers.
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