Tim Greaton’s second book in The Samaritan Conspiracy departs from the streets of Albany and Vermont, where Book 1 takes place, and takes place in Portland, Maine. The main characters are also different from the first book; Lead Detective Priscilla Harris and her partner Jimmy, as well as the City of Portland’s Police Department, struggle to find out who is behind the wave of lethal drugs and teenage murders sweeping through the city. Is it the person with the red gloves who always seems to be at the scene of the crime? At the same time, Priscilla’s marriage, finances, and son’s well-being are all under strain, and she could lose them all at any moment. I can’t give this one away. You would have to read the story to see how it turns out!
For anyone who has read The Santa Shop, you know that Tim Greaton has the ability to get his readers to feel the emotions that his characters are feeling. In The Santa Shop, readers experienced despair, grief, and hopelessness like no other novel can. However, I cannot feel the same way about Red Gloves. In the beginning of the book, I was shocked, and almost discombobulated, as Priscilla was when she found out her inheritance was moved out of her bank account by her husband into a new and private account. I also felt heartache and desperation, as a mother would, to get help for her son. He was in a car accident that ended is promising basketball career at Duke and has been struggling with drugs ever since the pain killers. That’s kind of where the emotion ended for me. Pris became obsessed with her husband to a point of tunnel vision and was completely closed-minded to the person with the red gloves. If she and her husband just had a real conversation and trusted each other, the back story would not exist. Of course, at the end of the book, they reconcile in one meeting where everything is explained and no one seems mad anymore. To me, their story was too thin.
There were also too many unanswered questions at the end of the first book, which I thought the second book would provide answers to. What Skip and Karen do after Vermont? Red Gloves did not provide any of that information. In fact, it made me question it more. Why did they go to Portland? How many Samaritans are out there? Once a Samaritan, are you always a Samaritan or is it just two years, like the first book implies? What is the significance of red gloves? Even with the drug and murders in Portland, the storyline just felt too thin and tied together quickly at the end.
Lastly, the punctuation and grammatical errors in sections of this book were almost distracting. Mostly, Red Gloves is edited well, but there are sectional in the second half of this book that make me think it was either edited by two different people given sections of the book to read over, or one editor who just perused parts. I know my grammar is not perfect, but open-ended quotation marks, quotes around sentences that were most likely not meant to be quoted, comas and periods left out in spots, and poor language choices seem beneath Tim Greaton. These kind of things make it difficult for a reader to keep a good pace or rhythm with the book. In parts, it was really distracting.
I really wanted to like this book because I enjoy Greaton’s writing. On a whole, I found this book worthy of the read, but disappointed in the end. I’m hoping that the next Greaton book I read is as rewarding and emotional as The Santa Shop.