Finding Flipper Frank



Description of Finding Flipper Frank

Walt Honerman has just about given up on life. He is thirty-eight years old and lives alone in a small apartment above a hardware store in Billings, Montana. But because of a promise made to a dying uncle, Walt embarks on a cross-country driving trip with two passengers: Moira Kelly, a young woman who had befriended Walt’s uncle during his recent hospitalization; and 76-year-old Izzy Dunleavy, a loquacious nursing home resident who wishes to return to his hometown of Crawfish Bay, Maryland.

During their trip, Izzy entertains Walt and Moira with elaborate tales of the grand resort he once owned in Crawfish Bay—a resort with a mythical reputation for being a place of good luck. But when they arrive in Crawfish Bay, a suddenly confused Izzy is arrested on a decades-old embezzlement charge.

After Moira insists on staying to help Izzy, she and Walt discover that most of Izzy’s stories are pure fiction. More discoveries occur when they meet Felix, Izzy’s former business partner, and Emily, a single mother who worked at the nursing home in Billings and who came to Crawfish Bay because of Izzy’s promise of a job at his fictional resort.

This mismatched group, thrown together as much by anger as by nostalgic affection, begins investigating the money Izzy supposedly embezzled when he disappeared from Crawfish Bay years ago. And despite his retreat from life, brought on by a past tragedy, Walt finds himself being pulled into the wake of wild dreamers.

Reviews of Finding Flipper Frank

I loved everything about this book!  It’s a story of life, death, love, friendship, faith and fate.  There is humor and sadness and characters so real you will swear you know them.  In other words a story of life told by a master story teller and one helluva talented writer.  You will remember this novel long after you reluctantly finish reading the last page.
-John Austin, Host of The Book Club  on WTAN, Tampa, Florida

Finding Flipper Frank. It is the title that pulls you in but it’s the captivating characters and their journey that keep the pages turning. … This motley crew’s adventure makes for an intriguing read filled with friendship, fate, and discovery. Patrick Garry creates amazing characters filled with love, regrets, sadness, humor, and happiness that is so realistic it’s like they could be standing right there next to you.  Their personalities are charismatic and pull you in, making a reader want to learn more about them and their lives.  The story itself is good enough to keep the pages flying and with great characters and writing that makes it that much better. This is a great story and I was sad to see it end.  I would highly recommend this book.
-AllBooks Review

I read this book, and completely re-read it again, for the pure joy of the story and the storytelling. This book is the fascinating study of a bunch of misfits, drawn to each other through the illusions of Izzy Dunleavy, an elderly resident of Oakdale Nursing Home in Billings, Montana. This book is full of introspective reflection and dream weaving. It offers us glimpses into the lives of those who live with a disregard of reality, and the consequences of such disregard. Those who pursue life with the absolute faith and belief that things will simply happen as they need to occur to achieve seemingly impossible dreams, goals and desires—these people whom we dismiss as dreamers, crazy, insane—they also capture our rapt attention, they amaze us, and we find ourselves wanting to be like them, to believe…

-Rebeccas Reads Book Reviews


Finding Flipper Frank is a novel of love, heartbreak, trauma, death, fantasy, and redemption. For within the main story is the story of each and every character, each having hidden and not-so-hidden agendas; each having his or her own process of living and connecting with others. The book begins slowly, but not so slowly that the reader wants to put it down. In fact, it is an easy tale that is always interesting due to the wonderful character development. This is a peaceful journey, filled with the ever-changing scenery of life and life processes. It won’t be a jolting, mysterious story, but one that provides life lessons through the characters who love life and explore death in a way that allows for healing. Overall, it is a beautiful story of the value of friendships.
-US Review of Books

This latest novel from law professor Patrick M. Garry, follows the template of the hero’s journey (or monomyth); a hero ventures forth from the every day into the world where the hero must face tasks and trials, either alone or with assistance.  Like many prototypical heroes, Walt initially refuses the call to adventure (traveling east) but is soon overwhelmed with pressure by his uncle’s friends and ventures forth into the unknown joined by Izzy and Moira. By refusing the call, Walt moves from hero to a victim in need of rescue and cedes the journey’s direction to Izzy. The arrest of Izzy, and the resulting mess which must be untangled, is Walt’s road of trials and Izzy becomes the father-figure with whom Walt must reconcile.

While the first half of the novel where Garry sets the stage for Walt’s journey is slow and occasionally begins to drag, the second half quickly kicks into high gear driven by Moira’s determination and Jake’s personality (a young man Walt and Moira meet at Crawfish Bay) which carry readers along in their wake.

In many ways, all of the main characters in Patrick Garry’s novel are on journeys, each trying to find their way to a home.
-Janelle Martin, book reviewer for Eclectic Closet

Finding Flipper Frank by Patrick M. Gary tells of Walt Honerman who has just about given up on life in Billings, Montana at age 38, but who embarks on a trip to fulfill a promise made to a dying uncle. Along for the trip is 76-year-old Izzy Dunleavy, a loquacious nursing home resident and Moira Kelly, a young woman who befriended Izzy during his hospitalization. Izzy entertains them with stories about a grand resort he once owned in Crawfish Bay, but when they arrive there, he is arrested on a decades-old embezzlement charge, I don’t want to give away too much about the unraveling of truth and fiction Walter and Moira encounter because it is the heart of this entertaining novel that has a lot to say about the human condition with its flaws and hopes. It is a very good read.

Patrick Garry has such a wonderful story telling voice. He takes subjects that are important issues in many of our own lives, then he imagines the things that might have happened to those lives which would affect what type of individual they will become… And somehow, when you hear the story you can even picture, as I did, what those people would be like to see, hear and embrace as another human with whom we might possibly be friends. Of course, Walter and Moira would have been the main characters, but Izzy?

Thank you Patrick, for this funny, heartwarming yet heartbreaking story. Not only is it a memorable drama of the human condition, but one that will strike different ways to the many readers you will undoubtedly have for this wonderful book! Highly recommended!
-Book Reader’s Heaven (full review)

Patrick M. Garry has penned an intriguing story. He has intricately developed three utterly mismatched personalities and mastered the harmony of their characters when developed across the pages. Situations during their road trip from the mighty Montanan west to the salty Baltimore shoreline left this reader laughing in one moment and holding my heart in the next. I found myself connecting most with Walt Honerman. In many respects, Mr. Garry has chosen him to be a man likened to damaged goods. Honerman goes to prison a young, college graduate and exits a grown man. The secondary roles assigned to Moira and Izzy are the temperance to Honerman’s unshakable guilt. Mr. Garry easily manages to tug at the reader’s heartstrings as much as he is able to exasperate the reader through strategically placed prose. The delicate balance between both premises throughout this book is yummy! I praise Patrick Garry for his accomplishment of writing an easy-to-read, fast-paced and without question, delightful story. It is abundantly clear Mr. Garry is fully equipped with the necessary tools of what it takes to spin a good read. Bravo! I look forward to your next novel.
Feathered Quill

Have you ever been around old people? They remember before like it was yesterday but might not know your own name. They can be crabby, stubborn and insistent. They’re often unhappy. So why would someone take them on a road trip 2,000 miles across country?

This was a surprising book. I expected it to be sort of a farcical tale. Instead Mr. Garry turned this into a look at humanity. He puts odd characters together, they travel and enjoy themselves for the most part, and they grow as they go.

As they travel, Izzy entertains them. Walt gets a bit irritated here and there, but he lets it go. Nobody is exactly what they appear to be. Izzy has some secrets (he may have forgotten them but they haven’t forgotten him), so does Moira, and Walt is still trying to find a spark to keep going.

I really enjoyed reading the escapades of Izzy and the budding romance between Moira and Walt. What bothered me was that death was waiting in the shadows. It goes with the story line and has a good message even if it’s a bit sad. The author handled it well. He has a clean writing style that is easy to read. He also made you really care about his characters. That’s what really matters in the long run.

You can take this trip across the country, too, just grab a copy of this book now. When you set it down, you won’t forget it quickly.
– Long and Short Reviews

Walt Honerman is a lonely man living in Montana who feels guilty because his fiancee was killed during a practical joke he initiated. He’s happiest when he’s visiting his uncle and other residents of a nursing home. When Walt promises his uncle he’ll attend a baseball game in Maryland, the old folks make him keep that promise after his uncle dies. Then old Izzy Dunleavy talks his way into the road trip, which also includes Moira Kelly, a young woman who befriended his uncle. This unlikely trio drives cross-country as talkative Izzy tells his companions of the grand resort he once owned in Crawfish Bay. But when they get there Izzy is arrested and it turns out his tales are not what they’d seemed. Walt and Moira meet a mother whose young son is obsessed with opening a little crab shack Izzy did own, and Walt finds he cares more about these people than he had supposed. Izzy is a colorful guy and Moira is a sweetheart. She also hides a secret that leads to a surprise conclusion.
-Mary Ann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press

This novel is an engrossing read about how relationships make life worth living. The characters in this story are well portrayed and unusual in that they have very casual ties at the start of the story and these ties strengthen as the story progresses. Overall, fans of Patrick M. Garry from his earlier books, In the Shadow of WarSaving Faith, and A Bridge Back will find this book appealing and a quick and easy read, as will many others.
Sherri Harper, poet and writer

This novel has strong character development, is well written, and conveys really great imagery.
Benjamin Franklin Book Awards

The writing is as smooth and engaging as in the author’s previous novel, In the Shadow of War. His compassion for the many facets of the human experience is again evident, but with the irrepressible Izzy and his tall tales fueling this “road” novel, the movement and shifting locales provide a rowdier ambiance with this mismatched cast of characters trying to unravel a mystery. This is a most enjoyable read, and would make a great movie. What is particularly impressive is Garry’s portrayal of his female characters. Moira and Emily each emerge as wholly believable “real” people.
-Writer’s Digest International Book Awards

Garry’s novel is touching and  gentle and unabashedly romantic in the best sense of that misused word. I also loved the understated ending, its elegant lack of melodrama.
-Allison McGhee, novelist

Finding Flipper Frank is a calm story with complex characters. Garry did a great job in creating such unique characters. All the characters are hiding things in their past. Walt was a good nephew and obviously had a huge heart, but his past kept haunting him. I loved the flashbacks of his life which explained why he acted the way he did. Izzy was a lovable character and a great storyteller. I could not help but read his lines in actor Jerry Stiller’s voice. I was unsure of Moira at first. I knew she had a secret but my guess was slightly off as to what it was. The first half of the book focuses on the road trip and the characters getting to know each other. The story really picks up after this and becomes more of a mystery. The ending of Finding Flipper Frank was a huge surprise and caught me off guard.

This is not Patrick M. Garry’s first book, in fact he has several more out there. If they are anything like Finding Flipper Frank then I, as well as everyone else, should read them. I really enjoyed Finding Flipper Frank. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story about accepting others.
-Readers Favorite 5-Star Review

Listed in USA Books News “What is Hot, New and Noteworthy in the World of Books.”
-USA Book News

I can now say that Walt Honerman is one of my favorite characters in fiction. It is not because he is brilliant, or the greatest Lothario to live in the pages of a novel, or the slickest card sharp in the game of life, quick with just the right quip, moneyed and sophisticated and free of faults. No. It is because he was once troubled, and has becomes decent. At his core. That is how he came across to me, and by the end of “Finding Flipper Frank,” I was damn glad to have met him. The great touch Patrick Garry adds to this is the development of Izzy Dunleavy, a Seventy-six year old nursing home resident with the imagination of a con artist and the possible past of a delinquent. Izzy is, as my mother used to say about certain rogues in the neighborhood, a real piece of work. That he is at such a divergent from the main character is a testament to good, smart storytelling. It adds an element to things I will liken to harmony, a song sung at different levels, colliding together, ultimately adding up to more than the single voice could provide. Moira Kelly adds a welcome spice to the mix as well, a not always satisfied, not always complacent companion.

Real life and the prayer that it always ends in, is at the heart of “Finding Flipper Frank.” There is great sadness imprinted within this exploration of death and redemption. The examination of self is brought forth in the long car ride from Montana to Maryland. The hidden ideas of others, their wants and peccadilloes is deftly mined. It is the character study which I opened talking of. It is richly brought to the surface by Garry, writing using the fine precision of simple prose that, when done well, as it is here, allows you to believe you really know the people being conjured by the author. This, in turn, makes it easier to live the story. And the story is wonderfully rendered, with an originality that sparks great curiosity; what is true, and what is truth? Who is right in their actions? And when they are wrong, is it the worst thing imaginable? I was left after reading this book, wanting to examine my life, to look at the layers, not just the surface. I was saddened by the honesty of what becomes of us as we age. But I was glad to have been treated to the dignity of the overall morality sewn herein. Like Walt Honeman, it was a ride I was glad to have taken.
D.T. Donereau, Amazon 5-Star Review

Readers will find in Finding Flipper Frank a very nice cozy mystery.
-Clarion Review

Patrick Garry’s many readers know that once they open the cover of one of his novels, they will be taken gently and firmly by the hand and led off on a journey whose itinerary and destination will be revealed in due time.   Call it a journey, a plot, a story line—call it what you want—all I know is that when you read his books, you are in the hands of a master story teller. Finding Flipper Frank, the latest of his novels, is no exception.

Without revealing the ending, I can only quote what a friend of mine said about a passage from another book; If it “doesn’t make you cry and doesn’t give you goose bumps – you may not have a soul.”  My sentiments exactly. It’s time for readers to become Patrick Garry fans like me, and Finding Flipper Frank would be a good place to start.  It’s a winner.
– Ron Standerfer, Blogger News Network

Finding Flipper Frank centers around 38-year-old, troubled, lonely loser Walt Honerman, who decides to drive on an adventure with two passengers: an elderly man named Izzy with a big personality and a young woman, Moira, who wants to break Walt out of his shell. Of course, their simple trip ultimately has more twists and turns once they reach their final destination. In the end, Walt must decide whether to cling to his past or embrace a future free of his former demons.

Finding Flipper Frank is heartwarming above all else. The characters are fully fleshed out, each with unique backgrounds that inform the decisions they make and their behaviors. Because Izzy and Moira are such great side characters, the main character of Walt is able to blossom under their influence. Garry also has a knack for writing realistic dialogue that fits each character. The text can read like a young adult novel at times (it’s a tad simplistic in some areas), especially the dialogue, where entire exchanges come in short sentences. However, the story is strong, making it a quick and easy read.

One of the best parts of Finding Flipper Frank is that the action takes several unexpected turns. The characters are often hiding secrets that help push the novel along. One might suspect that the journey of the road trip would have the most action, but the story really comes alive when the characters come to their destination. These unpredicted plot twists last all the way through Finding Flipper Frank, including a surprising ending. But even though there are twists, the novel finishes up with a fully satisfying ending, with resolution for each character.

Finding Flipper Frank is a gratifying and touching road trip story about second chances, written with finesse and heart.
-IndieReader 5-Star Review

Patrick M. Garry’s Finding Flipper Frank (a very zippy, alliterative title!) is a character study of three people – Walt, Moira, and Izzy – who go on a road trip in order to return the 76-year old Izzy to his hometown in Maryland. The prose is simple and effective, and the plot moves with a very nice momentum.  Walt and Moira and Izzy emerge as fully-developed people, and a rather unlikely trio.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the company of these three people. Drawing fine characters is often a skill that takes years to acquire. Garry is quite adept at characterization, so much so that I would in fact look for another work by him in the future.
– Writer’s Digest Book Awards

One of the first things I wondered, before I started reading ‘Finding Flipper Frank,’ was just who (or what) “Flipper Frank” was. Fair warning – if you’re wondering about that, you will find out about it, but it won’t be until about two-thirds of the way in. And by the time you get there, you’ll likely be so involved in the unfolding story that you’ll forget you were looking for it in the first place.

What I enjoyed most about ‘Finding Flipper Frank‘ is how easy it was to read. The pages slip by as easily as the miles of asphalt under a humming car, carrying me as a willing passenger along for the ride. Garry’s tale is not a complicated one, and his prose follows suit – he writes in an uncomplicated, accessible style that works perfectly for the story he’s spinning. The words bring the story to life easily, getting out of the way and just letting us take it in at our own speed. Though I do often enjoy the craft of writing and wordsmithing, it was refreshing to read a story so simply told, and one that was also so satisfying.

My wife noticed, as I was reading the last pages of ‘Finding Flipper Frank,’ that I was sitting forward in my seat, turning the pages eagerly, completely absorbed in it. It may be an uncomplicated tale, but it’s also an immensely engaging one. The characters are interesting and vibrant, the pacing steady and confident, the ending thoughtful and thought-provoking. This is the kind of book I can recommend to friends easily – and not just to people who like just a particular sort of book, but to almost any reader of good stories.
-Rich Stoehr,

Named as a Best Indie Book of 2015

Literary Awards

Winner, – Best Books of the Year Award

Silver Medalist, Colorado Independent Publishers Assn. EVVY Awards

2015 Eric Hoffer Book Award

First Place, 2015 IR Discovery Award

Winner, NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award

Finalist, 2015 Midwest Book Awards

Winner, ReaderViews Literary Awards

Winner, Beverly Hills International Book Awards

Gold Prize Winner, 2015 Feathered Quill Book Award

2014 Somerset Maugham Literary Fiction Award

Winner, 2014 Forward Magazine Book of the Year Awards

Finalist, 2014 Montaigne Medal

2014 Great Midwest Book Festival Award

2014 USA Best Book Award

Finalist, 2015 Next Generation Independent Book Award

2015 International Book Award

2015 NIEA Literary Award