A Smudge of Gray is a quick, interesting thriller. The story is told through third person perspective allowing the reader to see the plot unfold while flashing between two characters, Brian Boise and Trevor Malloy. Brian Boise is a man who decided to follow in his father’s footsteps ten years ago and is now a Detective. But being a detective has taken a toll on his personal life as he hardly sees his family anymore. After connecting a few murder victims he is investigating, the trail leads him to a suspect known as Trevor Malloy. Trevor leads a similar life to Brian’s. The only difference is that Trevor has secrets. He is a hitman among other things and now the two men must face each other.
Jonathan Sturak has a way of describing and portraying things in his writing. I feel this is both the strength and the weakness of this novel. A Smudge of Gray is presented as a psychological thriller but I wonder if it would be better classified as literary fiction. Expecting something different automatically lowers your initial opinion. This is a good story for people who can appreciate deeper internal meanings instead of constant action. What I mean by this is if you are expecting an action packed story with a detective and hitman going at it, than this is not the story.
This story is full of metaphor and symbolism. An example of this is the reoccurring symbol of a man’s shoes as they travel throughout the story. The shoes seem to represent the man’s life as well as reflect inside his mind. The symbolism is this story was great and will have you thinking outside of the box to connect the dots.
I do not know if it is because of the type of books I read but I had the story figured out pretty early on. However, I do not think everyone will and the ending will be a treat for those who do not see it coming. I would like to say more about the characters, story and climax but I do not want to give anything away.
Overall, I think the author has great potential and the only real weakness of this novel is that it is labeled wrong or fits half in half out of two very different genres.
Recommend to fans of Literary Fiction and Thrillers.