Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review of A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell (2016, McFori Ink)

Paul Muchrone scrapes by living off a small inheritance which stipulates he must volunteer six hours a week to charity.  For this he works as a ‘granny whisperer’, keeping those with dementia company by pretending to be one of their relatives.  When nurse Brigit Conroy asks him to see a new terminally ill patient in return for a lift home he reluctantly agrees. The man, however, mistakes Paul for the son of an old associate and stabs him in the shoulder before dying.  It turns out the patient was a notorious criminal who had been on the run for thirty years after a famous kidnapping case.  Soon after a second attempt is made on Paul’s life and he and Brigit are forced on the run.  Unable to trust the police, except for soon-to-be-retired DI Jimmy Stewart and the unstable and law-unto-himself DS Bunny McGarry, the only solution to Paul and Brigid’s predicament is to try and solve the kidnapping cold case.

I have a fondness for comic crime capers and A Man With One of Those Faces is very firmly within that genre, with an assortment of larger-than-life characters, plenty of one-line zingers, sarcastic exchanges, slapstick action, and lashings of dark humour throughout.  The central hook is the classic ‘wrong person in the wrong place’, with Paul Muchrone meeting an old terminally ill patient who mistakes him for someone else and tries to kill him.  Having survived that he then becomes a loose thread that needs snipping in case he might know something incriminating, regardless of whether he does or not.  With a leak in the police force and no-one to turn to the only way to survive seems to be to solve an old crime.  Aiding Paul is a feisty nurse, an unstable, rogue cop, a gun-toting elderly widower, a hormonally challenged pregnant solicitor, and Jimmy Stewart, a cop who is remarkably like a Jimmy Stewart character.  The result is an enjoyable caper tale that keeps the reader smiling and has several laugh-out loud moments.  I thought it was great up until the denouement, where the story seemed to run a little out of steam and lost its way a little.  Nonetheless, it was a fun read and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.  If you like stories by Colin Bateman, Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey and Janet Evanovich then you’ll enjoy A Man With One of Those Faces.


1 comment:

Paul D. Brazill said...

Sounds like my kid of thing. Good title, too.