Thriller Explores Gray Side of Right and Wrong

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New novel depicts man caught between racial crossfire, government scandal and deadly drug cartel

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At the center of R.J. Hall’s fast-paced, debut thriller, A Shade of Gray (published by Trafford Publishing), is a protagonist who has fought to protect his past, only to be pulled back under by deadly circumstances.

When Joe Walker, his friends and his family are walking to their vehicle after celebrating his daughter’s eighth birthday, they are doggedly followed by two black men who attempt to rob them. In an instant Joe instinctually reacts and kills one of the men before everyone flees the scene. The ensuing investigation and trial will uncover lurking secrets in Joe’s past that threaten to spin all of their lives out of control in a media firestorm. At the center of R.J. Hall’s fast-paced, debut thriller, A Shade of Gray (published by Trafford Publishing), is a protagonist who has fought to protect his past, only to be pulled back under by deadly circumstances.

Detectives James Ferrian and Bill Larson respond to the emergency call and arrive on the scene to find two thugs – a wounded Frankie and a dead Wydel Washington – and a new murder investigation. At first Frankie claims that it was a drive-by shooting, but when the facts don’t add up Frankie changes his story, claiming that he and Wydel had been verbally assaulted by a white man who shot them and drove off. Steve, one of Joe’s friends who had been traumatized by the shooting, overhears Frankie explaining this new turn of events. Bound by secrecy, Steve is tormented by what his wife told him after the incident: that the 17-year old Wydel had dropped the knife threatening Joe’s daughter before Joe had shot him point-blank.

As the investigation becomes more complex, other actors come into play, including the African-American activist Reverend Leasure Woods and his press-saavy assistant Damon Bell who hope to capitalize on the death of Wydel as a symbol of racially motivated violence. Damon leaks the story to the media and all hell breaks loose. Joe is taken into custody and must ask for the assistance of an old friend who used to work in the justice department. But Joe’s relationship to the case and to his counsel is not as simple as it seems. Through the flashbacks of his lawyer, Simon Townsil, Joe’s real vocation as an undercover agent and professional killer involved with the unofficial Escombedo drug cartel scandal come to light.

With political and moral interests at stake, all players will work tirelessly until they believe justice is served. But in the case of Wydel Washington, that just might be A Shade of Gray.

About the Author
R.J. Hall resides in Southern Minnesota with his wife, Lea, daughter, Anastasia, and son, Joseph. A Shade of Gray is his first book. He is currently working on the sequel.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, Inc. author services provider, was the first company in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. For more information, visit http://www.trafford.com.

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