Shades of Grey

Rated 3.83/5 based on 23 reviews
John is not a very nice man. He works for the government. So who has tied him to a chair and what do they want? James is a British soldier during WWII. Tom is a young boy with a terrible secret.

Three stories. Three very different people. All of them battling to survive.
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About Michael Cargill

I am a new author currently living in England.

Over the years people have often said that I should write a book so, in mid 2011, I did just that! My first few books are available for free and I hope that anyone who goes to the trouble of downloading and reading one enjoys it.

Feedback of any kind is always welcome.

Learn more about Michael Cargill

Also by This Author

Reviews of Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill

A Voracious Reader reviewed on June 9, 2015

*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

This anthology contains three fictional tales of suspense and nail-biting. Each is very different from the other, but they all kept me on the edge of my seat. Should you pick up this book be prepared for tension build-up.

Shades of Grey ~
John is some kind of British secret agent who gets caught and is tortured.

I was a bit confused at the beginning of this one, but it soon came together. Pretty good read and it left me wondering, but in a good way.

There and Back Again~
James is a British soldier in WWII and this story has nothing to do with Hobbits, Dwarves or a certain adventure.

This was my least favorite story of the three. It’s well-written, but history isn’t really my thing. It is interesting though.

Down the Rabbit Hole ~
This is about a boy named Tom and his stuffed rabbit named Borger, who does not carry a watch or proclaim he’s late.

Poor Tom! I hate his dad and I have to say he got what was coming to him though the school counselor got a bad deal. That stuffed rabbit of his is way creepy. What the hell?
(reviewed 4 years after purchase)
Leigh reviewed on July 25, 2012

"Shades of Grey" is a compilation of three unique short stories with a recurring theme of torture/abuse. My favorite was the second story where we get a glimpse into the life of James, a British solider during WWII. The author was able to draw me into each story through his descriptive detail of each character and how they dealt with their situation. Even though the subject matter is disturbing,I would recommend it to adults who are looking for a thriller.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
Becky Chatelain reviewed on July 2, 2012

I liked this book. The last story was my favorite. A little dark, but for me, the darker, the better. I'm anxious to read his next book. I received this book for no charge after agreeing to review it. I wasn't disappointed !!
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
Alison Gussack reviewed on June 20, 2012

I read Shades of Grey to review for Shut Up and Read. These 3 stories were very well written. I enjoyed the first and the last the best. They both grabbed me from the beginning like a good short story should. The middle one was a little drawn out, but still very good. Thanks to Tt and Read to Review and the author! I am eager to see what else Michael Cargill has to offer. Considering he is a self-described "new author" the writing is especially good!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
JF Lab reviewed on June 18, 2012

I received this copy for review. I am sorry to say that this is one fo the few books I have ever had to put down and not finish. I only made it a few pages into the first story. The character of John was so off-putting, so narcissistic, so uncaring about others, that I did not want to be in his thought, his head. Sorry about that. I usually do my best to find some redeeming quality in a story or book, especially one that an author personally give to me. I will try to read this again some other time and do another review.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
RaeBeth McGee- Buda reviewed on June 11, 2012

I'm not one for short stories.... until now. I read Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill and I must say it was worth it. It's three stories of three different people in very dark worlds. The first story Shades of Grey follows the story line of a captured UK black ops agent. The main character of this one seems to be the one which is allowing the reader into his thoughts. Michael pulled me right in with this one. The second story There and Back Again is brought to the reader completely different than the first. It's focus is on a soldier during World War II which is packed with action. The third Down the Rabbit Hole is about a young boy who's abused becomes friends with his toy rabbit. This rabbit turns out to be his help in his time of need.

I give this story four **** stars. I very much enjoyed it and I'm glad I had the chance to read it.
(reviewed 76 days after purchase)
Angie Lenkevich reviewed on June 4, 2012

In Shades of Grey, we find the tale of John, a soldier who has been captured. John doesn't remember how he got here or even where he's at. John sifts thru his memories of the past to be distant in the present. John's captor tries to get him to talk but hasn't had any luck so far. John knows that he can't give out any information to his captor. Will John break? Or will John be rescued? In There and Back Again, our tale picks up the story of James, a soldier in World War II fighting in France. James tries to see the best of things yet the harsh reality of war is all around him. James and his fellow soldier David seem to be where the action is. James seems to know when trouble occurs near his unit. Can James stay out of trouble? Will he see some action? Down the Rabbit Hole, a young boy named Tom leads an unhappy life with his family. Tom's father Jack is an abusive man that wants little to do with him. Tom loves his mother and his stuffed rabbit Borger very much. One day Tom discovers that Borger can talk to him and nothing is the same afterwards. What do Tom and Borger do? Can Tom get away from his father? Answers to all these questions are in Shades of Grey.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
frellathon reviewed on June 2, 2012
(no rating)
I got a copy for review and have to say I was very pleased. Michael Cargill is an author I will make a point to read from now on because of Shades of Grey, it's a great sampler of his work.

I love short stories and the three in this book are no exception. The first about a man who wakes up to find himself tied to a chair. Out the window a lovely park children running, band playing inside the room with him are people who will do whatever it takes to find out what he knows.
The second about a soldier in WW II an interesting tale with such a detailed account of the start of the war from one mans perspective.

The third about a little boy who is abused by his father. When his stuffed toy rabbit starts talking to him is it a good or bad thing?

All so different from each other and yet so great an enjoyable. The author does a great job on character and story building and in such a short span. Wonderful job and again Michael Cargill is an author who's work I will be on the look out for.
(reviewed 41 days after purchase)
Lucinda Fountain reviewed on May 29, 2012

Having not read any works by this author before I was hence unsure of what to expect when offered ‘shades of grey’ to read, but I was certainly not expecting to be as overwhelmed by it as I was. Upon sitting down to read this book that is a work comprising of three individual short stories (part one being ‘shades of grey’, part two being ‘there and back again’ and part three ‘down the Rabbit hole’), I sat transfixed for several hours lost within the authors work reluctant to move and somewhat disappointed when I had finished. Each story was unique and completely singular showing how diverse a writer Michael Cargill is, and how universal these stories are that will appeal to so many different kinds of reader.
Part one ‘shades of grey’ instantly captured my attention and I was immediately drawn into the story from the very first few lines. After only a short amount of time the reader suddenly encounters an unexpected twist within the tale, which turns a somewhat predictable beginning of a story into something exciting and that made me want to read on as I sat in tense anticipation and excitement. This was certainly cleaver and I loved how I learnt so much about the main character strait away, without enduring any lengthy history or long descriptions; the fast-pace was set and the momentum was continued throughout. I loved the descriptions and the use of metaphors to create vivid imagery, for an example I loved the line; “…felt as if they had been cleanly sawn off and someone had stuffed angry bees into the wounds.” Just great writing! Another intriguing twist was when you actually found out the main characters supposed connection to the UK government, but which contrapuntally leans towards crime and the darker side of life. How he described his character was completely engaging and how he thought of his actions like a ‘show’ was a fascinatingly brilliant way of shedding light on the criminal mind. I loved the use of flashbacks and how it flicked from the present to the past, helping to develop the reader’s understanding of the main character and storyline. It was utterly readable, full of fast-paced action and completely engrossing, with one particular description reminding me of a film called ‘Taken’. The conversational style made it feel as if you were conversing with the main character. The use of short sentences also helped to add pace and highlight the intense drama.
Part two ‘there and back again’ completely juxtaposed part one entirely, and which instantly transported me to the battleground with its atmospheric & realistic portrayal, that touched upon all the senses. The reader is thrown headlong into all the action and taken on a personal journey through the eyes of the main character. The soldier’s innocence and the futility of war is emphasized throughout, with all the realism & horror. Part three ‘down the rabbit hole’ was ever so sinister and mentally impacting hence It has stayed on my mind since. The relationships and emphasis surrounding the violent father is so clearly depicted, that you can almost feel what the characters are feeling. There was a lingering feeling of foreboding, an eerie presence out of the corner of your eye that kept me in utter suspense and tense throughout. It felt always as if there was something more apparent than met the eye, and the tension and drama built to an exciting climax. The only element that left me despondent was the cliffhanger ending which especially on this story I would have preferred not to have, and since reading ‘shades of grey’ I am now longing to read more.Completely brilliant, 100% engrossing and something that as someone who does not read short stories very often it is surprising that I cannot enthuse enough about this book.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Julie Rainey reviewed on May 27, 2012

I usually read novels and was skeptical that a short story could offer the same satisfaction of being transported to another world, but these stories do just that. Each story was raw and real, making you feel as if you were right smack dab in the middle of it. Truth be told, I didn't want the stories to end.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
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