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Review - "Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace"

 

What happens when you take a wealthy Minnesota family running a successful business and inject a truly wicked influence? Potential disaster is the simple answer.

Shades Of Darkness - Shades Of Grace is inspired by a true story, although I am pretty certain that Catherine Johnson would not want to elaborate on the source. If this is based on reality, and I am convinced it is, it goes to show that fact is indeed often stranger than fiction. We do indeed live in a strange and deranged world.

This is Catherine's first adventure into the world on Novel writing, although she is no beginner in the writing world, having worked for many years in the corporate communications world.

Shades Of Darkness is a very fine book, and it explores an all too common theme, marriage, family, divorce, and the fallout that results.

The Pierson's seem an idyllic family, Mom, Dad, and their grown up children Kay, Paul, and Jack have a successful family run Real Estate business. But happiness is often an emotion displayed on the outside, rather than the inside. And when Paul's wife dies unexpectedly the family watches with great concern as Paul retreats into himself.

About a year later, there is a glimmer of hope, Paul meets a new partner, someone who seems to inject the old vibrancy into him. It is with happiness and great expectations that the family heralds the marriage between Paul Pierson and Pamela Schaeffer.  But is Pamela the young and vibrant bride, or does she have darker motives. There are cracks in her facade that cause some of the family members to worry. And before long the evidence is overwhelming that Pamela is not what she seems.

Infidelity is a label that she wears with pride, and rather than appear the ‘guilty party' in the ensuing divorce proceedings, opts to go on the attack. This is attack with vengeance. No one is safe from her, least of all Paul.

This is a fascinating book, and very cleverly written, it creeps up on you. I have known several people that have lived through acrimonious divorces, and they are never a pretty sight. Written from sister Kay's perspective we get a ringside seat of the drama unfolding. Catherine Johnson has done a fabulous job of capturing the tension and intrigue, and also the fallout that effects not only the named parties, but their family and friends.

I once made the huge error of not completely reading a book before I interviewed an author. My rational was that there was only one chapter left, and I could ‘wing it' and read the final chapter later. Of course I asked a question, and the author replied, "Oh I thought I covered that quite well in the final chapter". Did I feel stupid! It is something I have never done again. Shades Of Darkness - Shades Of Grace is one book that keeps it's secrets to the very last page. This Scorpion has venom in its tale and tail, and the poison is lethal.

I have to admit that I was really surprised and shocked by the ending.

You can order your own copy of Shades Of Darkness - Shades Of Grace from Amazon, there is also a web site for the book that shares some interesting insights.

Simon Barrett