Sometimes, the friend you need is the one you never saw coming: Frank & Red by Matt Coyne read by James Killeen #FrankandRed #NetGalley

Frank and Red are a mess.
Frank is a grumpy old curmudgeon. A recluse whose only company is the ‘ghost’ of his dead wife, Marcie. He is estranged from his friends, his son, and the ever-changing world beyond his front gate. And then Red moves in next door.
Red is six. A boy struggling to adjust to the separation of his mum and dad, a new school, and the demonic school bully. Red is curious, smart, he never stops talking, and he’s got a trampoline. From the moment Red’s blonde mop appears over the top of the fence that divides their two gardens, the unlikeliest of friendships is born. . . . And it is a friendship that will change both of their lives forever.

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Hi and welcome to my review of Frank & Red!

It may be true that sometimes, the friend you need is the one you never saw coming, but in my case, it’s more like the book I needed was the one I never saw coming. So many readers were raving about this book before they even read it, they loved the blurb, they loved the cover. Honestly? Neither really spoke to me. I dismissed Frank & Red as not for me. But then so many of my bookish friends read it and were super enthusiastic about it and, yes, I’ll admit it, FOMO got the best of me.

Dear reader, I’ve never been happier that it did! I loved loved LOVED this book! Yes, Frank is grumpy and moody, and in real life, I’d probably avoid him and never get to know him enough to know that he’s not himself because he is still very much grieving the loss of the love of his life, and the fact that he lost all contact with his son in the process. Or that he’s funny in a delightfully sarcastic way and has a much bigger heart than his stern exterior might show. And truth be told, in real life, I might avoid Red and his billion questions a minute and his squeaky trampoline as well, but I’d be missing out cos I swear that boy had stolen my heart only a few chapters in.

Frank & Red is not my genre at all, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing I didn’t love about it if I tried. It had me laughing out loud quite a few times, it had me swallow a lump in my throat on multiple occasions, it had me tackling all kinds of chores just so I could keep listening. With a 4.68 average on Goodreads (at the time of my writing this), I’m sure Frank & Red is one that will pop up on many a “books of the year” list come December, and it most definitely will do on mine.

The narration is done by James Killeen in a fantastic Irish accent. I found his voice and accent soothing and relaxing but not in a soporific fashion, which, honestly, can be a problem for me, especially with male narrators. It was always clear what was happening and who was talking, even if he doesn’t do a lot of voices, which was actually a bit of a relief, because narrators trying to voice children or people of the opposite sex can fail spectacularly. If anything, this narration only made the story better.

I had the very best time with Frank & Red and nothing I say can do it justice. Believe all the good things everyone’s been saying and find out for yourself. And if audiobooks are your bag, then treat yourself to the audio version. Need I say it? Probably not but I’ll say it anyway: highly recommended.

Frank & Red is out now in hardcover, digital and audio formats, with the paperback to follow in August.

Massive thanks to Headline Audio and NetGalley for the audiobook. All opinions are my own.

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