Paul Mulchrone spends a few hours a week sitting with and talking to elderly patients in hospitals and hospices. He has one of those faces, unremarkable yet familiar, so that the patients believe him to be their husband, brother or son. Now this all sounds very dodgy but he’s not doing it to con the patients. He’s not exactly doing it out the goodness of his heart either though but to comply with the terms of a great-aunt’s legacy. To keep his house and the small monthly allowance which comes with it, he must carry out at least six hours charitable work a week. It is during one such visit that the terminally ill man he is sitting with rather unexpectedly tries to kill him then promptly dies, leaving Paul injured and the focus of a murder enquiry! It’s a case of mistaken identity of course but soon Paul finds himself the target of criminals who are worried about exactly what the patient may have told him before he died. Together with crime novel loving Nurse Brigit Conroy, he quickly decides that perhaps the only way to survive is to try for them to solve a decades old crime.
This all sounds like it’s going to make for a very fast paced, thrilling read and it really is. But it’s also really funny. The author, Caimh McDonnell (just how do you say that first name – Kev? Keev?) is a stand up comedian who has also written for some of the biggest names in comedy such as Sarah Millican and for comedy shows including Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You. His humour comes through brilliantly throughout the book and works really well. Perhaps it helps that it is set in mostly in Dublin so not only is there humour but it’s Irish humour. And the Irish seem to do humour so well, don’t they?
What made A Man with One of Those Faces a particularly strong read for me was the large cast of colourful supporting characters. Often in a novel, the focus can be on one or two main characters and the reader doesn’t really get to know the peripheral characters very well. In this book, many of the characters take a prominent role. From Bunny McGarry, a detective sergeant who does things his own way, to DI Jimmy Stewart, very near retiral and determined to get this last case solved to lawyer Nora Stokes, heavily pregnant but my goodness she can look after herself, I felt that all the characters were brilliantly drawn and really added to the story.
So A Man With One of Those Faces is not only a cracking crime novel, it really is very funny along with it. The author has captured the balance between crime and humour perfectly and written a hugely entertaining book. I know he has another book out in the new year and I’ll definitely be looking out for that.
My thanks to the author for offering me a copy of his book. It was published by McFori Ink in August 2016 and is available in paperback or as an e-book. You can order a copy online here: A Man With One of Those Faces
From the back of the book
Thrilling shouldn’t be this funny, funny shouldn’t be this thrilling.
The first time somebody tried to kill him was an accident.
The second time was deliberate.
Now Paul Mulchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade cop with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history . . .
. . . or else they’ll be history.