I’m delighted to welcome Caimh McDonnell back to my blog to celebrate the publication of his second book in the Dublin Trilogy; The Day That Never Comes which was published on 23 January 2017.
For those of you who haven’t yet read the first, A Man With One of Those Faces, it is currently on offer on Amazon for just 99p or 99c, an absolute bargain for this very funny crime novel!
Without further ado I will hand over to Caimh and his author post.
Life Imitating Art
In the middle of December I went home to Dublin for a ‘working holiday’ when something very peculiar happened. It was a ‘working holiday’ because I was going over the final, final, final proofs of my latest book The Day That Never Comes that my editor had sent over. This meant sitting in my mother’s backroom while she nipped in every fifteen or so minutes to make sure I wasn’t being disturbed. She’d occasionally mix this with standing outside the door loudly telling my dad to eat his toast more quietly.
To give you some background, my book is a crime thriller set in Dublin. One of the things that happens in it is that a group of homeless people take over an office building in central Dublin that the Irish government have left unoccupied. I awoke one morning to an excited email from my friend Brendan in Ghana, who was one of the few people bar my editor who had read the book up until this point. The reason for his excitement was he had been reading the Irish Times online and a group of homeless people had just taken over an office building in central Dublin that the Irish government had left unoccupied.
The name of the real building in question is Apollo House and it has been big news in Ireland and has even gained some coverage internationally. Of all the many, many coincidences between Apollo House and the Ark, the real building stands about a four-minute walk across the River Liffey from where I imagined the fake one would be.
I currently live in Manchester, which is actually a lot alike Dublin in many ways; sadly one of those is that in the last decade there has been a shocking explosion in homelessness in both cities. It is normally hard in hindsight to recall exactly what inspired the ideas that end up in your book, but I’d be pretty certain that the shanty town that existed on Oxford Road in Manchester that I walked by most days, at least until the authorities ripped it down, was a large part of the inspiration for the fictional ‘Ark’ building that appears in my book.
Now, I should point out, the Ark is merely a small part of my novel and it is not a book about homelessness. Really, where its core inspiration comes from is the anger I think most people feel, in Ireland and elsewhere, where they suffered and continue to suffer the effects of an economic collapse that was caused by the reckless actions of a few people. Certainly in Ireland, with the enormous bank bailout that occurred, it feels like there is a well of anger that has never really been dealt with. The driving engine behind my novel is the idea of what would happen if someone decided to extract their revenge by killing the people they hold responsible for the collapse.
Still though, the similarities between my fictional Ark and the real Apollo House are frankly a bit freaky. It is very odd as an author to see something you had hypothesized played out in reality. I think I got both the Irish public’s reaction (almost total support) and the Irish government’s response (almost total embarrassment) pretty much bang on. The thing which most caught me by surprise was that I never in a million years thought someone in authority would make the case that these poor people should be evicted from the building and put back on the freezing mid-winter streets ‘for their own safety’. Even in fiction, that seemed like to bizarre and cruel an argument.
In reality, the occupants of Apollo House have now been evicted by order of the High Court, once temporary accommodation had been found for them elsewhere. Their actions have also done an awful lot to raise awareness of an issue that for too long went ignored.
Let’s just say, in the fictional version of events in my book, things don’t end quite so peacefully. The Irish government should take note!
The Day That Never Comes
Published 23 January 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9955075-2-4 Paperback
978-0-9955075-3-1 eBook (Kindle)
Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.
Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.
Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?
When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?
The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.
If you haven’t read the A Man with One of Those Faces what are you waiting for? Don’t hang about, it is very funny and currently available for 99p/99c from 23 – 30 January 2017!
If you should need any persuasion to click the buy button, you can read my review here
This is one of my favourite posts of the year so there was no question of me repeating this following my relative success in filling in the squares in both 2014 and 2015
I purposely don’t treat this like a challenge by finding books to fit the squares throughout the year, oh no! I prefer to see which of my (mostly) favourite books will fit from the set I’ve read. As you can imagine this becomes a bit like one of those moving puzzles where one book is suitable for a number of squares… and then I’m left with empty squares which I have to trawl through the 136 books I’ve read and reviewed to see if any book at all will fit! This keeps me amused for many, many hours so I do hope you all enjoy the result.
Click on the book covers to read my reviews
A Book With More Than 500 Pages
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult clocks in at 512 pages covering the injustice of a Ruth Jefferson, the only African-American nurse on duty when a baby gets into difficulty. With the parents white supremacists who want to blame someone Ruth is charged with murder. Not a comfortable read and I applaud the author for wanting to address racism and using an absorbing tale to do so.
A Forgotten Classic
I came late to Beryl Bainbridge so I’m going to count this as a modern classic. I’ve read three of this author’s books so far, my favourite being Harriet Said. The story is based upon a murder case involving two teenaged girls in New Zealand, a case that was also the inspiration for the film Heavenly Creatures. The author creates two young teenage girls using them to reveal the push and pull of their relationship which is ultimately their undoing.
A Book That Became a Movie
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain has lots to recommend it although I admit some of the politics towards the end, went over my head, but the tale of a young woman nursing through World War I, having put her hard one academic ambitions on hold, was incredibly poignant. With the inevitable loss of friends and family her grief for herself and her generation is palpable The film was released in 2014 to great acclaim.
A Book Published This Year
As a book reviewer I have read lots of books published this year but decided to feature one from my historical fiction selection. The Ballroom by Anna Hope tells the tale of life in an asylum in West Riding, the year being 1911. With a mixture of men and women housed in the asylum the author not only writes us a great story, but has accurately researched what life was like from the perspective of inmates and attendants.
A Book With A Number In The Title
I give you not one but two numbers in this title: The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood is a book I denoted ‘quirky’ but I’m so glad I read it. The story concerns the relationship between Ona Vitkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who has lived in the US since she was just four, and a boy Scout with a passion for the Guinness World Records. Touching without ever being overly sentimental this is one that will linger in my mind for quite some time.
A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty
Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain was written by Barney Norris who was born in 1987. This book not only touches on the history of Salisbury but weaves stories of five fictional characters in a literary, but oh so readable way. An accomplished novel that doesn’t let an obvious love of language interfere with a great story.
A Book With Non Human Characters
Well I’m giving you double for your money with this book, not only is there a ghost in The Little Stanger by the fabulous Sarah Waters, there is also a Labrador that plays a key role in the subsequent downfall of the Ayres family. This spooky story is narrated by a country doctor in 1940’s Warwickshire and has plenty of other themes to enjoy even if you, like me, are not a fan of ghostly goings-on.
A Funny Book
A Man With One Of Those Faces is a crime fiction novel written by stand-up comedian Caimh McDonnell. I know crime mixed with humour doesn’t sound as if it should work, but it does! A Man With One of Those Faces is full of observational humour with some truly entertaining characters without sacrificing a great plot with a whole heap of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Book By A Female Author
So many great books by so many fab women – in the end I chose My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry which falls into one of my favourite genres, psychological thrillers of the domestic variety. This tale mixes past and present with a whole heap of flawed characters and is told by two separate narrators Lily and Carla and they reveal more and more about themselves, and those around them. An extremely tense read which was utterly satisfying.
A Book With A Mystery
What better mystery can there be than that of a missing policeman on Dalziel’s patch? Pictures of Perfection is the fourteenth in the Dalziel & Pascoe series written by the outstandingly talented Reginald Hill and this book was an absolute delight to read. With a horrific opening scene, the book then switches to the more genteel setting of a country fair in 1980s rural Yorkshire. Fear not though this isn’t window dressing, the plot is superb with a proper mystery to be solved.
A Book With A One Word Title
Like last year I have read six books that have a single word as their title but I have chosen Viral by Helen Fitzgerald because of the very contemporary storyline. Viral examines what happens when a sex act carried out in Magaluf ends up online for all Su Oliphant-Brotheridge’s friends and family to see but despite that taster, this story didn’t go in the direction I expected it to.
A Book of Short Stories
Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel is a collection of five novellas all looking at manipulators and the effect on the lives of those they choose to manipulate. The author picked five different characters and settings to explore this theme and I have to admit, not being a huge fan of short stories, the common thread was far more appealing to me than some other collections.
For my free square this year I have decided to go with the book with the best opening sentence; Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent: ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’
With the rest of this book more than living up to the first line there was so much to love not only does the author keep the tension stretched as taut as could be, despite that opening revelation we have a wonderful Irish setting as background.
A Book Set On A Different Continent
The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford is a novel that ends up in Baghdad recreating a trip to an archaeology dig that Agatha Christie made following the divorce from her first husband. This wasn’t so much of a mystery rather a historical novel using Agatha Christie herself as the centre of the story of three woman all making this trip for very different reasons. An unusual and rewarding read with an exotic setting along with a fantastic mode of transport.
A Book of Non-Fiction
I have read some brilliant non-fiction books, mostly about murders, and a fair proportion about poisoners, my interest (or obsession) of the year, so I am going with Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun. Florence Maybrick is the subject of this book, a middle-class woman living in Liverpool in 1889 when she stood trial for the murder, by arsenic, of her husband. While the majority of the book is relatively sympathetic to Florence, the author cleverly takes apart the arguments in the last section leaving the reader to make up their own mind if she was guilty or not.
The First Book By A Favourite Author
I enjoyed In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward so much earlier in the year that I had to buy the second in the series, A Deadly Thaw. The setting in Bampton Derbyshire was stunning which made the awful tale of the disappearance of two girls back in 1978 all the more shocking, especially as only one of those girls returned home. Rachel Jones went home but now an adult a suicide prompts her to find out what really happened all those years ago.
A Book I Heard About Online
Since blogging I find most of my new author finds on-line and to be honest, it is fairly easy to persuade me I must read crime fiction or psychological thrillers, I’m more resistant to other genres. But all the rave reviews about The Versions of Us by Laura Bennett, a sliding-doors novel had me intrigued – and what a great find this was. The incident that kicks off the three different lives in The Versions of Us is a student falling off her bike whilst studying at Cambridge University in October 1958 and the three tales that follow are all equally brilliant. This was an absorbing read especially taking into consideration the complicated structure.
A Best Selling Book
Peter James’ Roy Grace series consistently makes the best seller list, and also happens to be my favourite police procedural series so it is only right and fitting that Love You Dead is featured for this square. For those of you who also enjoy not only the mystery but also reading about Roy Grace (and his beautiful wife, Cleo), some key story arcs are cleared up in this, the twelfth book in the series. Mystery fans don’t need to worry either, the key plot is a good one featuring a pretty woman at its heart.
A Book Based Upon A True Story
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year! With the Icelandic landscape as a backdrop to Agnes Magnúsdóttir’s final months awaiting trial for the murder of two men, we see the family she had been sent to stay with learning to adjust to the stranger in their midst. Be warned if you haven’t read this book, it is devastating, I had grown to love Agnes and yet her fate was sealed and no amount of wishing can change the course of history.
A Book At the Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile
The Mistake by Wendy James is a book inspired by a true event rather than based upon it and one that had been on my TBR for a couple of years. In The Mistake we meet Jodi Garrow whose comfortable life as the wife of a lawyer unravels when a nurse in a small town hospital remembers her from years before when she gave birth to a little girl, there is no sign of that baby and Jodi does her best to cover up the truth but the media are determined to find the truth.
A Book Your Friend Loves
I introduced a friend to the wonders of DI Kim Stone this year and she loved the series, in fact, despite not being a book blogger, she told me about the upcoming release of Blood Lines by Angela Marsons before I knew it was happening! This series goes from strength to strength and her characterisation underpins a fantastic multi-stranded mystery as our protagonist tries to find the link between the stabbing of a compassionate, well-loved woman and a prostitute.
A Book That Scares You
I rarely get scared by a book but from the opening excerpt of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe this book had me well and truly spooked by A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson. With opening scenes of a woman hearing a tapping sound, I was glad I wasn’t reading this on a dark night on my own. But this isn’t just a spooky police procedural, it is incredibly clever – I can’t tell you exactly how as that would spoil it but this was a book with a superb plot, probably one of the best I’ve read this year. That with a lively and interesting character in DS Nathan Cody, a Liverpool setting and more than a dash of humour, means it was an all-round great read.
A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old
I decided to pick the oldest book that I’ve read this year and this one was first published in 1926 so in fact 90 years old; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered by many to be one of the best written by Agatha Christie and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book narrated by a doctor and one of my very favourite detectives, Monsieur Poirot leading the search for the murderer of Roger Ackroyd, killed in his very own study if you please – oh and of course the door was locked!
The Second Book In A Series
I have a love of 1920s London and Fiona Veitch Smith’s creation Poppy Denby, journalist at The Daily Globe had her second outing in The Kill Fee, this year. The mystery had its roots in Russia and the revolution and Poppy romps her way around extricating herself from ever more tricky circumstances made for a delightful and informative read.
A Book With A Blue Cover
I can’t let this square go without asking has anyone else noticed the increase in blue covers? The one I’ve chosen was my surprise hit of the year; The Museum of You by Carys Bray – a story about a twelve-year-old girl putting together an exhibition about her mother wouldn’t normally make it onto the TBR, let alone be loved so much… but the lack of overt sentimentality in this book along with an exceptional array of characters made it a firm favourite for 2016.
Well look at that, for the first time ever I have completed every square!
How about you? How much of the card could you fill in? Please share!
Paul Muchrone is a ‘granny whisperer’ – a what? I hear you say? What he does is visit the elderly in hospital and sits with them as if he is a relative. This all came about when he was visiting an old lady on the ward and he discovered his talent.
“While I was there, another lady on the ward – late stages of Alzheimer’s amongst other things – mistook me for her brother. They knew he wasn’t coming back from America and she had some things she needed to say, so – ”
“You did your trick,” she finished.
Paul goes onto explain that he helps out where needed, aided by just having one of those faces:
He had nothing that came close to qualifying as a distinguishing anything. His every facial attribute was a masterpiece of bloody-minded unoriginality, an aesthetic tribute to the forgettably average. Collectively they formed an orchestra designed to produce the facial muzak of the gods.
which is what brings him to St Kilda’s hospice where nurse Brigit Conroy asking him to visit one last patient – this time for some grandpa whispering for a change, but things don’t turn out quite as expected and Paul ends up in hospital. From here on in, things just get worse as the pair realise that they have somehow blundered into something neither had bargained for, and it soon looks like Paul’s life might be at stake.
I get that this all sounds rather farcical but the crime element of the story soon develops complete with a true-crime writer, the police and some terrifying gangsters making up the fantastic assortment of characters.
Much of the humour originates from Paul with his observational humour adding a cutting edge rather than detracting from the crime spree spreading across the pages of this surprisingly action packed thriller. Not only that we are treated to Paul’s backstory from a life in care to his stint on the hurling squad under the watchful eye of Detective Sergeant Bunny McGarry to his Great-Aunt Fidelma who was now controlling his life from beyond the grave. All of that sounds quite sedate compared to the situation he finds himself in where the only person he can trust is Brigit, and she’s a bit of a character too!
Her mam had often said that Brigit’s problem was she thought she was too good for an ordinary life, but she didn’t think that was fair. Brigit just felt that an ordinary life wasn’t good enough for anybody. It felt like she had been born in the safest and most boring time in human history. Everywhere the world had been discovered. Even outer space, it seemed, was full of, well just boring old space. There had to be more. There had to be some adventure, some magic, left in the world.
And then we have Detective Inspector Jimmy Stewart is just about to retire and he’s showing the ropes to and simultaneously trying to increase Detective Wilson’s film knowledge, to no avail. While on duty charged with Paul’s protection they come across something dodgy…
It surely wasn’t some kind of coincidence What were the odds that he and Wilson had stumbled upon an unrelated ambush? This was Dublin: assassination wasn’t that common a pastime.
With such a bunch of enterprising and entertaining characters this book was an exceptionally good read. The plot was well-thought out with the links to a past crime woven seamlessly into the present while the novel moves at a real pace, flipping easily between humour and terror so that I spent most of the book sat on the edge of my seat while chuckling. All the while there was an authentic (in my head anyway) Irish accent narrating the book to me. I really appreciated this lighter style of crime fiction which made a refreshing change. For those of you who read Caimh’s entertaining post on my blog yesterday, only you can decide if this is too Irish and too funny – I say when is the next book going to be published?
I’d like to thank McFori Ink who gave me the opportunity to read this book. This unbiased review is my thanks to them for a riotous read.
Published UK: 30 August 2016
Publisher: McFori Ink
No of Pages 328
Genre: Humorous Crime Fiction Amazon UK Amazon US
Well greetings from the Mother-in-Law, my latest moniker! Since I last updated you we had a bride with a black-eye, a chief bridesmaid with a broken toe, a guest who got stung by a wasp at the pre-wedding bbq and yet, the moment my gorgeous daughter strode purposefully down towards her groom, I knew all was going to go well – and it did!
There were so many highlights to the day, I won’t bore you all with them, apart from this one… Before my daughter turned eighteen, my brother asked her what she would like as a present, she didn’t want an expensive keepsake, instead she asked him to make something for her. The two of them decided that he would write her a poem, which he did and had framed for her. For her wedding she wanted another and this one was so superb I just have to share it with you – there was nary a dry eye in the castle when this was being read and it too is framed ready to hang on their wall to remind them of a truly special day.
This Castle Queen
Rock solid in foundation, gazing out across the seas;
Majestically serene, she has seen the centuries
Roll by; and yet, stands fast against the beachhead, looking ever on,
A myriad of mystery forever standing strong.
Her walls are fixed, resilient, whilst endless waves cascade;
This Castle Queen looks over those both Jersey born or made.
Her face remains untroubled by all of time’s debris,
Her flags alone are flustered, battered but still free.
Today a beauteous princess is welcomed to her heart;
Standing proud before us amid these stone ramparts.
Tempestuous in temperament, tenacious through and through,
Caring and compassionate; loving, loyal and true.
Her beauty shines most brightly now, both outward and within;
A vision of maturity to all her kith and kin.
Elegance-personified bestows maternal love
On her picture-perfect daughter and on those who live above.
Her liltingly infectious laugh spreads out beyond the room
As she welcomes to her family the handsome, charming groom.
Part-hidden by the shadows, a moustachioed figure stands;
Beams towards the bridal group, whilst his ephemeral hands
Move like lightening, across the unseen page,
Creating everlasting likenesses of those on centre stage.
A wry smile breaks his lips; and still – they part to softly sing –
And send lights to shine eternally within each wedding ring.
The bride accepts the binding band from her adoring man,
Their lives entwined forever now in Fate’s forgiving hands.
As he takes hers on his for life, placed with assuring grace,
Two bodies, hearts and minds combine, fused in love’s pure embrace.
Rock solid in foundation, gazing out as kindred forms;
Majestic in each other’s arms they’ll face the strongest storms.
Together more resilient, with hearts aflame with love,
Surrounded and adored by those on Earth and from above.
This Castle Queen has never seen a marriage such as this –
And all those here today rejoice to witness wedded bliss.
We soon recovered and the bride and groom finished their vows and here are a few of the pictures taken throughout the day.
Last Week on the Blog
Well a consequence of all that excitement is not a lot happened here on the blog but I did manage three reviews:
A re-post of my review for The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett for the publication of the paperback on Thursday’s post, this was well up on my list of favourite reads of 2015 and I was delighted to help to remind those who prefer ‘real’ books that they can now read it too!
Friday saw number 12 of my 20 Books of Summer challenge with a review of Tea by the Nursery Fire by Noel Streatfeild. Not my favourite of my picks for the challenge but as it came with a healthy dollop of nostalgia for one of my favourite childhood authors, it wasn’t the worst either.
Yesterday had me reviewing The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan which was a truly compulsive read and got the full five stars from me.
This Time Last Year
Appropriately although I couldn’t know it at the time, this time last year had me reviewing a book about a hen weekend, this was one of the few books that spooked me probably not helped by the title borrowed from a children’s rhyme, In a Dark, Dark Wood. Ruth Ware really wowed me with this spooky tale which is full of odd characters not least the obsessive chief bridesmaid Claire and the mixture of exposed secrets in an isolated house kept the tension high throughout the read. I awarded this psychological thriller five stars.
Someone’s getting married. Someone’s getting murdered. In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. There was a dark, dark house Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong. And in the dark, dark room…. NetGalley
Have you read this one?
Stacking the Shelves
Not much in the way of stacking has gone on either since my last post with just one offering: A Man with One of those Faces by Caimh McDonnell.
The First time somebody tried to kill him was an accident.
The second time was deliberate.
Now Paul Muchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history…
…or else they’ll be history.
Since my last post I have read 3 books, gave one to my brother and gained just 1 so the total is now 171 books! I haven’t had a total this low since the beginning of March so a pat on the back for me I think!
82 physical books
21 books on NetGalley