Searching for Sam – Entered in 2018 Contest
Searching for Sam by M. G. Atkinson follows Graham and Sophie, two Interpol agents whose job it is to track down serial killers. They have been hunting a mysterious killer named Finn for years when they finally get a break in the case. Little do they know things are not as they seem, and this case is about to bigger than either of them ever imagined.
The biggest issue with Searching for Sam is the pacing. Atkinson spends so much time expertly crafting the action sequences, filling each scene with vivid details, that the rest of the novel drags in comparison. The slower, dialogue-based scenes contain far less descriptive detail which has the tendency to slow them to a crawl. This could be remedied by including further description of the physical actions that take place in these scenes, rather than relying solely on the dialogue to convey what is happening. Additionally, the dialogue is, at times, unrealistic. Few people talk the way these characters speak, and the characters are, in general, way too accepting of every piece of information they receive. This disconnect can pull the reader out of the story as they try to uncover why the dialogue doesn’t quite sound right. Showing the characters grappling with each new discovery or interaction would do wonders to alleviate this issue.
Where Searching for Sam excels is in its action sequences. These scenes are clearly the part of the novel that Atkinson enjoyed writing the most. Each action sequence is described in such colorful detail that it is easy to get swept up in the moment, reading page after page, heart pounding in your chest. This novel confronts a very serious subject, and for that Atkinson should be applauded. While occasionally lacking in descriptive language, Atkinson always approaches the sensitive subjects of slavery and sex trafficking with the respect that the victims of these crimes deserve. Searching for Sam by M. G. Atkinson offers readers a look at the darker side of our world, while conveying a sense of hope for the future and telling a fairly solid crime story.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.