Friday, March 24, 2017

Review of The Day That Never Comes by Caimh McDonnell (McFori Ink, 2017)

Summer in Dublin. Activists led by a wayward priest have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank to house homeless people.  A vengeful, new organisation, Puca, wants rough justice for those that led Ireland to bankruptcy.  Three developers of Skylark properties, a property complex riddled with build quality issues that went bust as the bottom fell out of Irish economy, leave court after their trial collapses on a technicality.  A stunning blonde asks MCM Investigations to determine if one of the Skylark developers is cheating on her with his wife.  Paul Mulchrone needs the money, but he’s got problems of his own.  His business partners are not talking to him: Nurse Conroy, his ex-girlfriend is still steaming mad at him for cheating on her; former Detective Sergeant Bunny McGarry has disappeared.  And Maggie, the ex-police dog foisted on him has an attitude problem and a thirst for beer. Mulchrone is an amateur investigator at best and the friend he recruits to help him tail Jerome Hartigan is just as hopeless.  As the hapless pair trail round Dublin, Puca start to murder members of the Skylark Three and those associated with them, and the people of Dublin are being whipped up into a bitter frenzy.  Can Mulchrone, his pal, Phil, and Maggie discover who is driving the violent undercurrent and halt the madness?

The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy.  In this outing, the hapless Paul Mulchrone has started a new private investigation company with Nurse Conroy and former Detective Sergeant Bunny McGarry.  However, it already appears to be hitting the rocks, with Nurse Conroy refusing to speak to Paul, and McGarry missing in action.  Mulchrone is left to keep the show on the road, but even he’ll admit to being Dublin’s worst private investigator.  His task is trying to trail a property developer involved in large-scale corruption, embezzlement and building control violations.  It should be straightforward but someone is murdering the developer’s colleagues and he may well be on the hit list as well.  Like the first book, the tale is great fun; witty throughout and with a number of laugh out loud moments.  At the same time it’s got all the elements of a decent crime tale.  The characterisation is excellent, especially the no-nonsense Nurse Conroy and the slightly psychotic Bunny McGarry, a man who administers his own brand of justice with a hurley. The plot is well constructed, with McDonnell interweaving a number of strands – including a police investigation line, phone-ins to a radio chat show, and flashbacks to McGarry dealing with an earlier incident of planning corruption – that builds to a nice denouement. And there is a strong sense of place and context; the story set in Dublin, a city still simmering with resentment at the state of the economy and fallen personal fortunes after the financial crash.  Overall, a very nice comic crime caper that delivers both the laughs and decent crime story.

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