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Monday, 14 June 2021

‘The Friend’ by Charlie Gallagher

Published by Avon,
1 April 2021.
ISBN: 978-000844551-5 (PB)

For readers familiar with Charlie Gallagher’s police procedural novels featuring DS Maddie Ives and DI Harry Blaker or his earlier Langhorne Police Series, The Friend is a rather different, darker type of novel. The police investigation only swings into play in the latter half of the book and even then, it only takes centre stage in the last few chapters. This is essentially a psychological thriller with a touch of noir.

The bottom falls out of Danny’s world when his fifteen-year-old daughter Callie tries to commit suicide and now lies in a coma in a hospital bed – a victim of cyber grooming by a pedophile. Danny’s life was already on a downward spiral. The days of fame and celebrity as a professional footballer now over, his marriage on the rocks, he spends his time trying to drink himself into oblivion.

One evening, a man approaches him in a bar. He knows the identity of the man responsible for what has happened to Callie and offers Danny a chance to get revenge. It was all so easy. But once Danny is persuaded things are about to get worse. Much worse.

Like all of Charlie Gallagher’s novels, there are great many seemingly unconnected threads to the plot. It touches on several important themes, and you only have to look at the string of acknowledgements to appreciate just how much research has gone into this complex story.

I’ve been a great fan of Gallagher’s Maddie Ives and Harry Blaker novels for some time, and I must confess, when I started reading The Friend, I was not sure about the change of style for his new publisher. It’s not easy to keep readers turning the pages at the start of a book when faced with few characters with whom one can empathise. I’m glad I did because for me, DI Joel Norris is by far the most engaging character Gallagher has created so far. Returning to work to head up a brand new ‘flying’ squad after a month’s stress leave as the leader of a Tactical Support Group, Joel finds that he and his reluctant partner DS Rose are expected to solve two seemingly unconnected murders with no team to support them.

I am looking forward to more books about DI Joel Norris and DS Rose in the future. If you like a well-written crime novel with a multifaceted plot that will keep you on tenterhooks until the last page, then this is one you too will enjoy.
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Reviewer: Judith Cranswick
www.judithcranswick.co.uk   

Charlie Gallagher has been a serving UK police officer for ten years. During that time he has had many roles, starting as a front-line response officer, then a member of a specialist tactical team and is currently a detective investigating serious offences. Charlie is the author of four Lanthorne police procedurals. His series features DS Maddie Ives. His most recent novel features DI Joel Norris.

 www.writercharliegallagher.com

Judith Cranswick  was born and brought up in Norwich. Apart from writing, Judith’s great passions are travel and history. Both have influenced her two series of mystery novels. Tour Manager, Fiona Mason takes coach parties throughout Europe, and historian Aunt Jessica is the guest lecturer accompanying tour groups visiting more exotic destinations aided by her nephew Harry. Her published novels also include several award-winning standalone psychological thrillers. She wrote her first novel (now languishing in the back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were toddlers, but there was little time for writing when she returned to her teaching career. Now retired, she is able to indulge her love of writing and has begun a life of crime! ‘Writers are told to write what they know about, but I can assure you, I've never committed a murder. I'm an ex-convent school headmistress for goodness sake!’

http://judithcranswick.co.uk/ 

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