The Stranger Times, my first review of the year, is my last book read in 2020. It got me to my Goodreads target at about 10 p.m. This was an advance copy from the publishers via Netgalley, for which I am very grateful. It’s not out till February, but they are looking for early reviews. I really got drawn in my the title and blurb: it sounded much more fun than the other one I was attempting to finish! As I wrote this review in the early hours of 1st January it’s a little short. But I don’t know what else to say about it without giving too much away.
The Stranger Times
by C K McDonnell
There are Dark Forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular) and so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them. A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but more often the weird) of modern life, it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable . . .
At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and -mouthed husk of a man who thinks little (and believes less) of the publication he edits, while his staff are a ragtag group of wastrels and misfits, each with their own secrets to hide and axes to grind. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got her own set of problems.
It’s when tragedy strikes in Hannah’s first week on the job that The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious, proper, actual investigative journalism. What they discover leads them to a shocking realisation: that some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly, gruesomely real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker foes than they could ever have imagined. It’s one thing reporting on the unexplained and paranormal but it’s quite another being dragged into the battle between the forces of Good and Evil . . . [goodreads]
First reactions: Weird. Intriguing. Funny, as in tongue-in-cheek, laugh-out-loud, not peculiar!
A brilliant piece of writing, a wonderful combination of the bizarre, weird, fantastic and horrific. Does C K McDonnell give too much away in the blurb, I wonder?
The author brought all the characters completely to life, and gave them distinct accents without any need for spurious spelling. The feeling of well-rounded ness was enhanced because some of them, well, weren’t! The plot twisted enough to make it a satisfying crime mystery, and it was so funny I laughed as well – sometimes at inappropriate moments, I expect.
A great book. I’m looking forward to more in what promises a sequel, if not a series.
And great fun! 5 Stars