Shades of Green by Ian Woodhead

Shades of Green - Ian Woodhead

GR Cleanup Read April 2011


I love B Horror flicks and this book does have the feel of one. I also have a fondness for dreamlike storytelling that keeps me guessing what’s real and what’s not along the lines of Caitlin Kiernan’s “The Red Tree”. I’m also a big fan of the flat out weirdness that is David Lynch and Takashi Miike. Shades of Green has wisps of all of my favorite things going for it which is what drew me to the story but unfortunately it never quite meshes together in a way that worked for me. There were some fabulously twisted ideas but there were also far too many grammatical errors, head hopping and passages that simply left me confused, even after rereading paragraphs and chapters numerous times.

These are some early examples of awkward, easily fixed errors that continue throughout the story making it a difficult read.

“Andrew pointed at the Chinchilla sat on its hind legs at the back of the cage munching on some fresh leaves. The lad was shaking.”

“Damien turned around; Alan was stood by the door, playing with the hem of his cream jumper.”

I'll be the first to admit that I am easily confused and distracted but I can typically jump back in and piece things together quickly but I found it difficult to do so during this book.

Basically the story revolves around Damien Tyler, his damaged and quirky (or is he?) older brother Alan, and a small circle of friends/uncles/old coots as the world gets turned upside down, covered in green ooze and people beginning acting erratically, violently and past events come back to wreak havoc on the present (or do they?). There’s lots of gore, vomit, buckets o’ blood, death, mutilated corpses, demons and a breakneck pace that left me breathless. All good things, yes? As I said, there are some good ideas here but they needed to be painted a bit more clearly and the characters more fleshed out to fully engage me. As written, I didn’t truly care about any of these people in a “Damn, I hate you!” sort of way, or a “Wow, I’m really rooting for this guy” way because I didn’t know enough about them and that is very important to me. As I neared the last few chapters I felt like I was turning the pages only to see how it would all end, not particularly caring who lived or who died.