A GRAY LIFE by Red Harvey
Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon
A Gray Life tells the tale of three individuals who’s survival is put to the test during the crumbling of society, when humanity has gone down the toilet and evil has prevailed in both human and demonic form. With wide spread crime, murder and rape occuring throughout the world, decent citizens are in a fight for their lives. One such person is a 12 year old boy, locked in the basement of a madman. Trapped with other victims, the boy writes a journal about his experiences living in the basement, to document his story and give him some hope to cling onto, to survive. Every now and then, he thinks about his school crush, Ashley Heard, a 12 year old girl who’s father is murdered in her family home. Without any other family to turn to, she must make some life choices and brave the dangerous streets to survive. A chance encounter with young prostitute Juniper Jones could be the ticket out of the madness, though Juniper has some secrets of her own.
Written by Red Harvey, A Gray Life is a gripping page-turner of a thriller that explores the lives of these three people and their approach to a new world engulfed by the darkness, an evil so wicked it consumes whatever is laid in front of it. These three people, two children and a young woman, must summon the courage to survive in a place where murder, rape, beatings and demonic beasties are now the norm. Harvey isn’t shy about describing the horrors that they encounter, with the most horrific being committed by the humans rather than the demonic monsters, though the power, strength and size of the demons make them a frightening force to deal with.
The heroine of the book is one Juniper Jones. Though her choice of career of sleeping with men for money would make some people turn their noses up, her empathy ability is one skill that makes her better equiped in the world than any other. Juniper can sense other people’s feelings and therefore can avoid or at least be prepared against anyone hostile. Red Harvey uses Juniper’s ability sparingly though, as not to make the character of Juniper some sort of superhero but instead a woman who can handle herself if need be. And as we find out, Juniper can’t always rely on her special ability.
A set of likable characters and innocent viewpoints (innocence that’s unfortunately soon lost) creates an interesting read from three sides of the same city, though each character has to witness their own unique horrors. The stories of each of the three characters shifts with each chapter. Though the stories interweave with one another, they’re often set in different times, much like the segments in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. This set up really works for the book and keeps the reader guessing as to where and when in time the story is taking place.
The brutality that takes place within the book is often described by someone eavesdropping, so only glimpses are given into the horrors that actually occur, though the imagination of the reader can easily fill in the gaps to obtain a full idea of what crimes have ensued. This approach still makes for a hard-hitting read but without the gratuity of graphic descriptions from the first person perspective. That’s not to say that any of the main characters encounter trouble. Far from it.
Though the paperback book is 396 pages, the text is large with considerable space between lines. I read the book in around 4 hours and when it came to an end, I found myself wanting more, to find out what happens next and to know more about the character of Juniper in her previous life before the world went to pot. Red Harvey’s skills at writing engaging characters with a flowing story are commendable, with the novel’s perfect pace keeping the momentum and the reader hooked.
An easy, enjoyable read, A Gray Life is worth checking out for fans of horror, thrillers and the supernatural.