3 out of 4 stars
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Darkness of Blue by Gary A. James explores the daily life of Detective Myles Konrad, an ethical person who finds himself in a workplace filled with corruption. The story describes the falling out Konrad has with his ex-best friend, Matt Reynolds, who doesn’t treat civilians correctly when he is suspicious of their behavior, often condoning violence in the process. Konrad soon finds that many officers and detectives have similar opinions. It starts with Detectives Ford and Konrad being called to a secondary school to oversee an incident, where a student, Matthew, is attacked by another student, Xavier, for calling the latter ‘monkey’. The case triggers many of Konrad’s memories, causing him to have nightmares and flashbacks entailing a mysterious incident where a civilian was killed during an arrest. The book follows Konrad as he tries to get closure for the mysterious incident while attempting to cope with corruption, gang member arrests, betrayal, and overwhelming guilt.
I believe the author excelled in describing characters’ tones, actions, and intentions, which led me to connect and relate to them while being interested in how their stories progress. The book’s scenes are also extremely attention-grabbing and detailed, making readers feel as though they are within them. For example, the tension in the nightmare scene, where Konrad was walking beside the holding cells and feeling the glares of the inmates on him, seemed to radiate off the words in the page since they describe the experience so vividly.
The book, overall, does a fantastic job of describing the many faults of the justice system and how these flaws can be traced back to the employees, themselves, instead of the laws. Having an ethical character like Konrad, who presents his side of the story while describing the horrid actions he sees his peers take part in and how he feels about them, adds to the importance of that message. Finally, the book is well-edited, since I only found a few spelling and grammatical mistakes.
The first sentence of paragraphs presenting flashbacks is often a specific date and time for that event. However, I believe, when that addition is not there, it is a bit difficult to tell when a transition between present events and flashbacks happens, which makes it difficult for readers to follow the story. Even when specific dates are added, it is distracting for readers to keep track of events with a timeline specified by days. It would’ve been easier, for instance, for flashbacks to be in italics rather than having the dates for them stated. The transitions between one scene and another are also not done well. The story often jumps from one setting to another without prior notice. Sometimes, there is nothing but a line break separating two scenes that exhibit different characters and locations.
Although the irritating features I stated above may result in the book being a bit more difficult to follow, I believe that the interesting plot, round characters, and overall good theme are more than enough to keep readers invested in the book. For that reason, I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to readers ages 13 and up who enjoy books that discuss aspects of the justice system, have mysterious plots, and a character-centric, internal conflict. Those younger than 13 would have trouble understanding the author’s advanced diction and the messages he is trying to convey.
Darkness of Blue
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