Kindle Edition, 460 pages
Published December 21st, 2014 by Metacircular Limited
“A boy nobody knew existed is found in an old man’s house
… and he’s terrified what happened before will happen again. This time, though, there’ll be no saving him.
Open the door to this intense, multi-layered mystery and let the darkest of secrets pull you inside.
Frank Friendship’s best friend has no idea what’s headed his way
Police discover a nine-year-old hidden away in an Edinburgh house. Social services place the mystery boy in the care of emergency foster parents Claire and Steven Northward, Frank’s best friend.
But all is not well in the Northward household. The couple is at war and this latest addition to the fostered family is about to turn the conflict thermonuclear: the boy is convinced that Steven is a molester.
Meanwhile, Frank has his own crazy ideas about how to rescue Steven’s marriage and he’s caught in the middle when everything explodes. And now there’s more at stake. Because the Northwards’ new foster son really is in danger, and staying with the couple might be the only thing keeping him—and Steven—alive.”
This book is, so far (omg, please write another one, RG), the best in the Frank Friendship Series, and by far, the most intense one as well. It’s about real love, friendship, and what it takes to achieve these two, and even more importantly, hold onto them.
Before you start thinking that this is some kind of sappy romance novel, you should probably read my reviews on the previous two books in the series first: Screw Friendship and Pursue Friendship. If you’re a lazy arse like me or simply don’t have the time and motivation to read these reviews right now, I can also just tell you in a few words: it really isn’t (a sappy romance novel).
In this book, Frank’s own storyline unfolds itself more in the background than usual. Instead, this story mainly focusses on Steven and Claire Northward, and Peter, the nine-year-old boy who is discovered in an old, now dead guy’s house in Edinburgh.
Peter believes he keeps dying before he’s able to grow up and then reincarnates again in what’s basically a clone of his previous body. This sounds very Science Fiction-ish, and maybe it is? Solving the mystery of Peter will make you flip the pages faster and faster, craving to find out what happened exactly. It does what basically every mystery book should do: hold your attention and keep you guessing.
When Peter ends up with the Northward couple as a foster child, we get a very realistic look into a shitty ass marriage. False accusations born out of paranoia, a deep-seated need to hurt the other as a means of getting ‘even’, but probably most of all, despair. Just carrying on endlessly due to the fear of being alone again. This whole running in circles thing is depicted extremely well and also makes you flip the pages in the hope something will change.
If you’re thinking “Pffff, this sounds like a depressing read!” now, I have to correct you again: it isn’t. Just like the previous books, Deny Friendship is full of fantastically dysfunctional hilarity.
“It’s a sink, Claire, not the Large Hadron Collider. I think I could cope.”
“And in Frank’s head, a voice said, “Who wouldn’t be happier without you?” He told the voice to shut the fuck up“.
Yes, there is a lot of swearing in this book again, but always in a functional way if you ask me. While book 2 was full of sexy times as well, this one is very mild when it comes to that, so I’m going to be so bold as to say that this can be read from ages 16 and up.
Like with the previous two reviews, I can’t really say all too much more about the story without spoilering the shit out of it, but I will say this:
The writing style is vivid, colourful and manages to grab you by the balls instantly. The story is told in, often, short spurts, jumping from one character to the next. I personally find this a very pleasant way to read and, if you can finally manage to tear your eyes off of the book, it gives you many opportunities for reading breaks.
The characters are so well-written and so unique. Every time a new character is added, I get a bit anxious to see if it will live up to the other ones, but they’re being nailed to perfection every damn time. In this book, we met a disturbed young boy, a horrible wife (my god, Claire Northward is such a c*nt!), and a younger version of Mrs.Marple and her husband: the Hardy’s.
There’s action, fun, sadness, and embarrassment. The revelations are (using Peter’s favourite word here) majestic. And it’s all written in such an intelligent way. You can see where I’m going with this…it’s getting 5 brownies, extra dark cocoa style!
A big thank you to R.G. Manse for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!
~About the Author~
RG Manse’s first work of fiction was called The Runing Kaik and featured a cake (the aforementioned kaik) that ran. The work was perhaps forty
words and was lovingly hand illustrated.
In the intervening years, RG’s spelling and writing style
have improved, despite a long career in IT.
The Frank Friendship series picks up where The Runing Kaik
RG Manse writes books about no-hopers with hope. The author is lucky to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the Frank Friendship series is set. To find out more about RG Manse and the series visit rgmanse.com. Reviewers (whether the review is positive or negative) will receive the next book free.
You can also find him on Twitter at @rgmanse