Review: Code: Red (Atrous #1) by N.R. Walker

Rating: 3.25🌈

I missed this book when it first came out and am now playing catch-up prior to the release of Code: Blue, the second in the Atrous series about a rock band.

The story is told only from the perspective of Roscoe Hall, the personal manager of rockstar Maddox Kershaw. Maddox is one of five boy band members of the super group Atrous who have played together since they were teenagers.

We miss all the history of both men and drop into the band and the men’s relationship at a point when the band has reached superstardom and it’s taken a substantial toll on themselves, and those around them.

But mostly it’s impacting Maddox who’s hiding something important from everyone.

Walker does a realistic job in portraying (as much as you can without living it) what that intense, controlling, isolating lifestyle might do to a person, especially if they’ve been living it for closer to a decade. It’s sounds not only exhausting but frankly unlivable no matter how much they pay.

The story concentrates, naturally on Maddox, who’s breaking down, and his relationship with Roscoe, who’s loved him for years but kept it professional. There’s a age gap (not that it makes a difference) but I have to admit something about the manager/client aspect and Maddox’s fragility bothered me. He kept saying Roscoe was the only one he trusted as he was coming apart, there were clear lines, contractual ones, between them, that got ignored by both. That bothers me too. Too many things just didn’t ring right here.

So that relationship just didn’t gel for me.

Great characters, just not the romance.

With Maddox finally admitting to his anxiety / panic disorders , and acknowledging he needed professional help, having someone who was both your boyfriend and manager seems like additional stress as well.

The depiction of Maddox undergoing a panic attack, displaying characteristics of someone with an anxiety disorder is very believable. You feel for him and the strain he’s under.

This is where it would have been wonderful to have had Maddox’s pov, actually we needed it throughout the story. It felt lacking without his voice filling in his viewpoint on their history, relationships (personal and professional), and his illnesses.

And that wasn’t the only area I felt we needed more. There’s five band members. Supposedly all so close they are like brothers. But as I read the book the only other band member I felt I had even a smidge of knowledge of his personality was Jeremy. The others? Nothing.

They are a blank, totally odd for a band, even a close one, that lives 24/7 together. Where’s the every day ups and downs of enforced togetherness? Missing.

I got no sense of there even being a band. And this is a series about a band.

Could have been about any famous group of people..

I missed that about this story. A sense of foundation. Of being centered in something. Atrous itself isn’t there.

Perhaps it will come along in books to come.

I’m going onto Code: Blue because N.R. Walker is a auto buy for me and I want to see what happens with Jeremy who’s up next. And Steve, because other than Jeremy, he’s the other name I can remember here.

If you’re a Walker fan, you’ve read this and have your hands on the second story. If you’re new to the series and author, I tell you ( lots others will to ) go find Red Dirt series which remains one of my all time fav series and reads!

Atrous series:

✓ Code: Red #1

◦ Code: Blue #2 › showCode Red (Atrous, #1) by N.R. Walker | Goodreads


Maddox Kershaw is the main vocalist of the world’s biggest boy band. He’s at the top of every music chart, every award show, every social media platform, and every sexiest-man-alive list. He’s the bad boy, the enigma, the man everyone on the planet wants a piece of.

He’s also burned out and exhausted, isolated and lonely. Not in a good headspace at the start of a tour.

Roscoe Hall is Maddox’s personal manager. His job is high-flying, high-demand, high-profile, and he loves it. Maddox has consumed his entire life for the past four years. Roscoe knows him. He sees the real Maddox no one else gets to see.
He’s also in love with him.

When the tour and stress become too much, when the world begins to close in, Roscoe becomes Maddox’s lifeline. But as Maddox knows already, and as Roscoe is about to learn, the brighter the spotlight, the darker the shadow.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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