Code Red follows the story of Maddox Kershaw, frontman for the mega superstar band Atrous. It is narrated by Roscoe Hall, one of the band’s managers (Maddox’s “personal” manager), who happens to be in love with Maddox and vice versa.
The book mainly focuses on the behind-the-scenes of one of the most famous acts in the world, the pressure of always being on top, of always being perfect, and delivering the goods to their fans. It also touched heavily on the mental health of Maddox, who happens to be the Beyoncé of the group.
The book was written in a single POV, which was very surprising, rather refreshing because it’s been ages since I’ve read something with a single POV character, much more from the author. I don’t hate that it was just narrated by Roscoe, but I would’ve liked to know what Maddox was thinking or really get a feel of his voice.
I loved that the author focuses heavily on mental health. What’s happening to Maddox was quite harrowing, so that’s a bit difficult to read. (This book came out when the #FreeBritney movement was finally vindicated after Britney Spears herself revealed to the world how awful her conservatorship has been for the last 13 years and is a big fan, I was horrified to no end, and I could only imagine the fame and this whole brouhaha taking a toll on her mental health) It’s the reality. No one is exempted from suffering from mental health issues.
Another thing that I liked about the story is that there are no villains here and no unnecessary drama concerning our main characters. The development of their relationship was relatively quick since it happens in the first part of the book, so it feels secondary to Maddox’s issues.
If there is something I didn’t like much about this, it’s probably Maddox’s interaction with his bandmates because it was pretty repetitive. Their group dynamics were very positive but not exciting. Outside of Maddox, I didn’t get a feel for the rest of the band. They’re secondary characters if you know what I mean.
I loved the epilogue, and I thought it’s sweet. I loved the less-to-no conflict structure of the story, and I appreciate the subject matter very much because it’s very relevant. It’s not one of my top five favorites from the author, but I thought it’s a good read overall.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Published June 24th 2021
About The Author
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way. She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She’s been writing ever since.