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review 2020-02-28 14:11
A Man With One of those Faces by Caimh McDonnell
A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell

Another excellent read that was very different to anything else I’ve read recently and was all the better for it. I got a kindle unlimited trial (I refuse to give those guys any money) and when I saw this I remembered someone recommended it a few years ago, so finally got around to reading it. It was crime/comedy drama that’s part of a series that’s set in Dublin, a couple of hours away from me.


The book started with Paul, whose POV it’s written from, and he’s talking to someone who we think is a relation, in a nursing home. We quickly find out that the person isn’t a relative at all, but instead a resident with Alzheimer’s who thinks Paul is their grandson. It turns out that Paul has to do this in order to satisfy the terms of a will that his aunt made many years ago. It’s a little too convoluted to go into, so give it a read and find out the particulars of why exactly he does this. Anyway, while he’s there Nurse Bridgit Conroy speaks to him and asks him to chat with another resident who she feels sorry for. Again, she wants him to pretend to be a relative. Paul agrees and goes to speak with this resident who believes him to be a threatening force from his past. The resident then proceeds to stab Paul (this happens in the first chapter, so I‘m not spoiling anything) and when he gets home he discovers someone is now trying to kill him. Nurse Conroy (Bridgit) then turns up and they form an unlikely duo as they try to solve the case (which turns out to be infamous) and find out why someone is trying to kill Paul.


This book was hysterical and I mean really really funny. I’m sure you haven’t missed that point considering the amount of quotes I posted! Sorry for all that traffic, by the way. The main reason I kept doing it was because I was reading it on my mobile phone (as opposed to my Kobo) and it was so easy to just copy, paste, then post. Aside from that I was hoping people would love those quotes as much as me and possibly read the book on the back of them.


A Man With One of Those Faces had a little bit of everything, humour, drama, crime, complex relationships, diverse characters. The plot didn’t suffer because of the character development, but instead strengthened it. Those two elements played off each other very well.


When it comes to the characters Paul and Bridgit were fantastic. They worked really well together and Bunny McGarry, the maverick cop who has a long history with Paul, was excellent. Bunny was as funny as he was crass and I loved him. Think Begbie from Trainspotting. Bunny even has his own spin-off series of books! There’s 2 of them!


Yet again this worked in alternate chapters with some being from the perspective of the police officers endeavouring to solve the crime. While these chapters were good enough, I was always counting down the pages until I got back to Paul and Bridgit’s bits.


It was such a fun, light-hearted read that I went straight into the next in the series as soon as I’d finished and I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel the same way if you’d read it.

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review 2018-03-04 14:26
Last Orders (The Dublin Trilogy Book 4) - Caimh McDonnell

And so it ends. If I could I’d insert a picture of me having a tantrum that would leave any self respecting 2 year old in awe. On second thought that might be too scary. But I digress…


This is the one fans of the Dublin Trilogy have been waiting for & it doesn’t disappoint. We’ve followed Paul, Brigit & Bunny through murders & mayhem that made us cringe & laugh in equal measure. As this one begins, their private investigation firm MCM is barely solvent. Brigit seems to be the only one showing up for work these days & is royally done with stalking cheating spouses.


Paul is engaged in prank warfare with a rival firm run by the Kelleher brothers who are responsible for his breakup with Brigit. And Bunny…well, Bunny is mostly AWOL. He’s spending a lot of time with 2 men who were with him at a particular incident about 20 years ago. Which would be fine if they were alive. Unfortunately they’re figments & Bunny is getting more than a few looks as he’s seen arguing with himself around town.  Could it be the feared & infamous ex-copper is finally losing the plot?


It seems to have started about the time DSI Susan Burns & sidekick Det. Donnacha Wilson were called to a remote area outside of Dublin. New construction unearthed human remains. The bodies are old with nothing to identify them. When the coroner deems them at least 20 years old, all Susan can do is turn to forensic testing. And boy, does she get results. Before she knows it FBI Agent Alana Dove is on her doorstep, demanding to be part of the investigation.


Meanwhile Brigit gets news the firm is being sued & there’s a better than average chance they’ll lose it all to the Kellehers. No more about that. The ensuing game of spy vs spy between the 2 groups adds tension mixed with insanity that may have led to some unladylike snorts on my part.


But the heart of the story belongs to Bunny. Dear, hurley-weilding (& arguably sociopathic) Bunny. After the first 2 books of the trilogy the author released “Angels in the Moonlight”, a companion book that gave us the details of Bunny’s past. It’s a fantastic read that made me look at the big guy in a completely different way as I began to understand how he became this solitary man with an oddly honourable code of ethics. That past has come back to haunt him. He’s done some dodgy things & you get the feeling he’s finally going to pay.


As usual, the characters are colourful & so well described you feel like you would recognize them on the street. One standout is Susan Burns. She’s a whip smart cop with a sharp mind & sharper tongue & I enjoyed her scenes immensely. Dialogue is sharp, witty & full of vernacular that gives you plenty of laughs to break the building tension as all the story lines begin to converge. There’s a big finale ahead & no doubt that things at MCM will never be the same.


This series has been such a pleasure to read. The books are smart, well paced & endlessly entertaining & I highly recommend reading them in order of publication. There are hints some of the characters may pop up in future projects so….tick tick, Mr. McDonnell. No time like the present. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a tantrum to finish.



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review 2017-08-29 00:58
Angels in the Moonlight - Caimh McDonnell

If you’ve read “The Man with One of Those Faces” or “The Day that Never Comes”, no doubt you remember Dublin Detective Bunny McGarry. His wayward glare & ever present hurling stick make him hard to forget. And at some point you probably wondered if he’d always been crazy. In this prequel to the Dublin trilogy, we get to find out.


The story begins with a hilarious routine between Bunny & his partner Tim “Gringo” Spain as they try to talk a jumper off a ledge. They are truly chalk & cheese. Bunny is younger version of himself, blunt & permanently disheveled. Gringo is a handsome guy with nary a hair out of place. But maybe it’s their differences that make them such a good team.


Along with the usual headaches, Dublin police are dealing with a spate of robberies involving a well organized gang & armored trucks. So Detectives Harry Delaney & Bob Mulholland are assigned to follow the latest shipment. Sadly their partnership is hardly a bromance & before the day is over, it will be tested further when they meet up with a grenade.


The powers that be have had it & DI Fintan O’Rourke puts together a task force to deal with the gang once & for all. Because everyone knows who’s behind the robberies…..Tommy Carter & his crew. Tommy runs Clanavale Estate, an area of Dublin even the cops avoid. He’s young, smart & knows how to cover his tracks. Bunny has history with Tommy so he’s not surprised when he & Gringo are invited to join the team.


There is a large cast from all walks that provide colour & sub plots to the main story line. Two deserve special mention. Simone is a mysterious bartender who catches Bunny’s eye & through her we see another side of the blustery cop. Then there’s Sister Bernadette....half nun/half ninja & my new role model. ‘Nuff said.


Like the other books, it’s a cracking good police procedural with plenty of humour & red herrings to tempt you down the wrong path. But this has a little something extra that gives it a darker edge. There’s an added depth to the story & characterization that shows the author’s growth as a writer. You get a sense that he’s really hit his stride & as much as I enjoyed the previous books, I think it’s his best so far. I’ve grown quite attached to this band of loons & will be waiting on the next one.


For the uninitiated, the combination of wit & grit is reminiscent of Stuart MacBride & Jay Stringer, to name a couple.



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review 2017-02-15 08:00
A Man With One Of Those Faces
A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell

It is not often that I immediately decide to buy a book based on a single review, but after (I believe it was) Magdalena's review for the second book of the series, I couldn't resist. It just sounded like the thing I would most definitely like, and I did.

Paul is a man with one of those faces, they blend in very easily and are often mistaken for those of others. As such, he's doing a volunteer job at a hospice as the 'granny whisperer', talking to dying patients and pretending to be their relative so they feel less lonely. That is, until one of them tries to kill him.

What follows is a very funny pursuit in which Paul, together with Nurse Brigit try to stay out of the hands of the Dublin underworld. I liked it a lot. I expected to like it, but still, there needs to be some kind of connection and luckily it was there. The characters are very witty and the there's enough making fun of the clichés that it actually doesn't matter not everything is super original. I truly felt sorry for both Paul and Brigit as their lives haven't always been easy and they made some difficult decisions.

To be honest, for me was it not the laugh-out-loud experience that other people said it was, but I did smirk from time to time, and I truly enjoyed reading it.

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review 2017-01-21 15:56
The Day That Never comes (The Dublin Trilogy Book 2) - Caimh McDonnell

If you read “The Man With One of Those Faces” (and if not, what’s your problem?!) you’ll have some idea what to expect from book #2 of the author’s Dublin trilogy. Murder, peril, hurling…and lots of inappropriate laughter. Add some street riots & a sociopathic German Shepherd & you’ll get a taste of what our intrepid “heroes” face in this outing.


Against all odds, Paul Mulchrone, Brigit Conroy & Bunny McGarry are back (Darwin must be rolling in his grave). Life changed after they inadvertently solved the infamous “Rapunzel” case & starting a private investigation firm seemed the logical next step. But there have been a few hitches.


Paul found some space for the MCM Agency & just in time as he’s suddenly homeless. He is now living at the office & with another woman. Her name is Maggie. She is of German extraction, has 4 legs, sharp teeth & major attitude. But the biggest problem is he can’t get the necessary operating license without his partners. The “M Agency” just won’t cut it.


Brigit has issues of her own. She & Paul are no longer an item following a late night text she received. And after that unfortunate incident at work involving a naked doctor & handcuffs, she was encouraged to take some time off so it looks like her nursing gig is over. What to do…


Det. Bunny McGarry finally got shoved into retirement & he’s not taking it well. Then he gets the really bad news. Some local developers have convinced city council to re-zone his beloved hurling field. He’s been coaching disadvantaged kids for years in attempts to keep them on the straight & narrow & it might be the only good thing he’s ever done. Bunny knows the politicians have been bought & sets out to change their minds with his own kind of currency…….police files that detail every secret & scandal that got swept under the rug. Then he disappears.


As the story opens, the three of them are tearing around the city in separate investigations. Dublin is not a happy place these days. The Celtic Tiger has died & it looks like a group of property developers responsible for hundreds losing their homes are going to walk on charges of fraud. A heat wave adds to the general crankiness of the population so when a disillusioned priest steps forward to demand change for the common man, fed up Dubliners answer the call.


Going to stop blabbing about the plot now. There are multiple side stories & you want to pay attention to the dates that precede each chapter as there’s a bit of to-ing & fro-ing with the time lines. You really need to just pick this up, sit back & enjoy how the author keeps all the plates spinning in this circus of crime. Along with the 3 MC’s we also get to follow corrupt businessmen, bent politicians & members of the Garda. It’s a full on sprint full of laugh out loud moments as story lines gradually converge. There is also a startling similarity to real life current events at Dublin’s Apollo House which the author addresses at the end.


Now don’t go into this thinking it’s all light hearted shenanigans, sunshine & one grumpy puppy. There are some gruesome & violent scenes as befits “really bad guy” behaviour. But there’s a laugh right around every corner & Bunny’s dialogue alone provides ample entertainment. Of the new characters, special mention goes to DSI Susan Burns. She’s a smart, gutsy detective with a dry sense of humour & a penchant for Louboutins…my kind of girl.


I’m a big fan of police procedurals & crime fiction. When I find one laced with original characters & black humour, I’m a happy camper. For my book $$$, you can’t beat smart & funny. So a big thank you to Mr. McDonnell for sending an ARC my way & hopefully, he’s slaving away on book #3.

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