Audiobook review of ‘The Friend’ by Charlie Gallagher

A Stranger. A promise. A deadly game.

Danny and Sharon Evans are desperate for answers. Why did their seemingly happy daughter try to take her own life?

When a stranger approaches Danny, saying he knows who’s to blame, Danny is tempted, despite Sharon’s reservations. And when his new friend offers them revenge, how can he walk away?

But little does Danny know he is being invited to play a terrible game. A game that won’t just change lives – it will end them.

DI Joel Norris knows this is no ordinary case when two seemingly unconnected murders hit his desk within a matter of days. But how far is he willing to go to solve the puzzle?

Dark, gripping and unforgettable, The Friend will keep fans of Harlan Coben and Matt Brolly on the edge of their seats.

The Friend’ is a rather complex detective novel, with lots of different layers. I admire Charlie Gallagher for subverting the usual narrative arc, although this does always lead to confusion when you’re listening to an audiobook and can’t easily check details that you’ve already read. For this reason, I feel that I would have enjoyed the novel more as hard copy.

The characters were all interesting, and I particularly enjoyed the character of Joel, the detective, and would enjoy reading more about him in subsequent novels. I found the huge amount of male characters a little confusing, although the author had made an effort to give each one a different personality, occupation, back story etc.

I was wondering when book covers would start to feature trigger warnings, and I felt that this novel is a good example of where some may be required. Although the cover is atmospheric, it does not really hint towards some of the scenes that it contains. I’ve read a lot of crime thrillers, but this one is not for the faint-hearted and does contain some rather graphic descriptions of injuries, and this was not the only aspect of the novel which readers may find disturbing. If you are reading horror, then it is to be expected, but in a crime thriller this was a bit unexpected.

I didn’t really like the narrator of this audiobook – I felt that he paused in some really odd places, and that his intonation didn’t always match what he was saying. This did improve in the second half of the novel but was quite off putting in the first half. I’m giving the audiobook version of ‘The Friend’ three stars, but will be giving it four stars on Goodreads as I was disappointed with the reading.

‘The Friend’ was published by Avon on 1st April 2021

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