reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
The Friend by Charlie Gallagher begs the question: If you could seek revenge on the person who wronged your family with seemingly no consequences, would you? Could you move on, knowing you killed another human being?
Danny Evans is a successful professional football player. He seems to have the perfect life with wife Sharon, children Jamie and Callie, and dog Zinedine. Then his fifteen-year-old daughter is groomed by a sexual predator, culminating in her attempted suicide. Unable to handle his feelings, he moves into a local hotel and drinks day and night to escape his grief. So when a stranger approaches him and gives him the way to exact revenge, Danny sees a way to seek vigilante justice and get his family back.
Richard Maddox, an elderly war hero, is grieving his wife Angela, killed in a hit-and-run accident a year ago. Every morning he sits at her grave with a coffee mug she gave him as a gift and talks to her. One day a stranger approaches, claiming he knows exactly who committed the crime, a crime the police could not solve.
DI Joel Norris was the leader of the local Tactical Support Group, but has taken a hiatus, having been overwhelmed by responsibilities and on the verge of a breakdown. Joel is feeling stronger now and ready to go back to work in a new department the following Monday when he receives a call that a body has washed up on the beach. Being the lead of this new department is supposed to be a slow transition, but when the bodies pile up, it throws him right into the fire.
The Friend is the first novel in a new series by Charlie Gallagher, quick to start, keeping the reader hooked from the very first page. Danny Evans is a relatable character, mourning the loss of his perfect life. Joel has a unique sense of humor and a quick wit that draws you in. DS Rose shines as his new partner, though quiet and less relatable.
The premise of this book brings a vision of a puppet handler manipulating his puppets in an evil way. I, for one, never saw the conclusion. Charlie Gallagher has done a brilliant job with the beginning of this new series.