I was recently sent a free copy of ‘A Man With One of Those Faces’ from the publisher. There is nothing better than a free book, unless of course it is a free book that turns out to be excellent. A Man With One of Those Faces certainly fits the bill.
The debut novel by Caimh McDonnell is set in Dublin and introduces us to Paul Muchrone. Paul is a loner who lives off a monthly income left by a great Aunt to help tide him over until he gets a job. However he decides to ‘get one over’ on the dead Aunt by refusing to find work. Instead he lives out of bargain bins doing his stipulated six hours of charity work visiting old people in hospital pretending to be which ever relative they mistake him for. During one of these visits, one of the old men try to kill him, because he apparently looks like his son. This then starts Paul off in a race to save his own life, ably helped by Nurse Brigit who was the one who got him in the trouble in the first place technically. There is also wayward Policeman Bunny who is known for his unorthodox methods, a heavily pregnant solicitor and a multitude of bad guys.
Caimh McDonnell was originally a stand up comedian, and the comedy is definitely not something he has left behind. A Man With One of Those Faces combines an interesting crime story, with some truly hilarious writing. The phrase madcap is used alot in reviews but it certainly seems fitting when describing this book.
The characters are all a bit frustrating, and there is a lot of wishing you could shout stop at them but that just adds to the humour of the situation. Paul was not particularly likeable, he has that hard done by attitude that can be really off putting. Yet once he links up with Nurse Brigit you start to see a different side to him and have some sympathy.
The story in this was good, and had some real thriller elements to it. Yet the real bonus is the humour. It reminded me a little of Christopher Brookmyer and the way he manages to weave humour alongside a good storyline. I would thoroughly recommend this novel and am pleased that there will be some more outings for Paul, Nurse Brigit and Bunny.