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Shades of Blue
by Karen Kingsbury

Reviewed by Marshall Hughes

"...will probably please her fans, but could be seen as a bit heavy handed..."

Brad Cutler has a bright future. He’s a big city ad executive engaged to his boss’ daughter. He’s a committed Christian, and she’s a committed Christian with Christian friends, a Christian family and a private, Christian education. He’s young and good looking, just like his fiancee. He’s financially well off, and she’s a level or three above financially well off.

Brad Cutler indeed has a bright future. He also has a dark past which is eating away at him as his wedding draws near. It’s a past, mostly a one-month period in the summer after he graduated from high school, which fiancee Laura doesn’t know about. In fact, even his parents were never let in on the secret.
With six weeks until his wedding, Brad decides to do what he can to rectify his past. Wrecking his future is one possible outcome of trying to rectify his past, but he feels there is little choice.

Karen Kingsbury’s latest book, Shades of Blue, will probably please her fans, but could be seen as a bit heavy handed by those who, like me, are reading her work for the first time. There is no doubt the world would be a better place if everyone were as wholesome and perfect as the characters in this book, but it seems Shades of Blue is rapidly approaching the edge of fiction on its way to fantasy.

Nobody will get confused with a glut of characters. There are three basic characters and only about half a dozen others on the periphery (if you include a cameo appearance or two by a dog). For those who don’t like to waste time keeping track of a roster of irrelevant people, this simplicity is very welcomed.
I found the foreshadowing a bit heavy, with not much thought needed to guess what would happen next. Fortunately, there is some doubt until the end as what the final resolution and its aftermath will be. Up until the final pages, there are no real surprises.

At the conclusion of the book there is an interesting afterward explaining why the author wrote this book. It is a nice touch, and helps you understand the motivation for the writing of this book. There are even discussion questions.

Likely, this book will be well-received by Christian readers who spend their lives, as the main characters do, in a Christian cocoon. But because the characters are too perfect it is hard to imagine it could ever do well with or be respected by a secular audience.

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Marshall HughesMarshall Hughes is a former sports writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. For most of the past 22 years he has taught English in Japan. He has taught at the university level in America, Japan and China. Among his hobbies are sports, traveling and photography. He has been to 41 countries and is always hoping to go somewhere new. He is an award-winning photographer in both Japan and America. His bi-lines include The Washington Post, The Pacific Daily News (Guam), The Contra Costa Times and several sports publications.