This Charming Man is the second in the series which starts with The Stranger Times. I absolutely adored the first book, as you can tell from the review. So I welcomed the offer of a pre-release copy of the follow-up from the publishers delivered via netgalley. Thank you.

This Charming Man (Stranger Times #2)

by C.K.McDonnell

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch. [goodreads]

My Review

I was so excited to be reading this second book in the series. The first was so fresh, so bizarre, and so funny! This is still bizarre. Whether it’s the heatwave going on in the Manchester of the book’s setting, or Hannah’s run to work only to find the office shower is u/s, which leads to suggestions of hygiene problems throughout the book, I don’t know. It wasn’t as fresh, though. And although there were sparks of brilliance and some funny peculiar situations, it wasn’t funny ha-ha, or at least not for me.

There are flashes of literary genius. Most chapters end with a story or excerpt from the Stranger Times (the newspaper where these characters work, reporting on paranormal activity). This one had me chuckling with admiration for a good few minutes.

On this occasion, Mr Jonathan Fairburn, selfprofessed medium and gateway to the great beyond, has been in contact with us and demanded that I with draw the editorial in which I refer to him as a ‘charlatan’. On mature reflection, I am happy to do so. Mr Fairburn is not a charlatan, and referring to him as such was grossly unfair to charlatans everywhere. He can be more accurately described as a moneygrabbing, parasitic, penniesoffadeadman’seyes lowlife with the moral rectitude of bacillary dysentery, who shamelessly milks money from the grieving with cheap parlour tricks and a level of dishonesty not to be found outside of the political realm. I hope this clarifies matters. Yours sincerely , Vincent Banecroft

‘Corrections and Clarifications’ This Charming Man ch26/27

Fresh and funny aside, the plot is first class. The twists and turns are suitably tortuous. The imagination and invention are second to none. I just got many of the characters mixed up, which suggests that the characterisation is not so good at times.

This Charming Man is a good follow-up to a great first book in the series. I liked it. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the first.

Book Review | This Charming Man by C.K. McDonnell: Anyone who can write 'He can be more accurately described as a moneygrabbing, parasitic, penniesoffadeadman’seyes lowlife with the moral rectitude of bacillary dysentery' is a genius… Share on X

Book Review | This Charming Man by C.K. McDonnell
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4 thoughts on “Book Review | This Charming Man by C.K. McDonnell

  • 27 November, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    A nice review and honest. Too bad I am just not into vampires!

    • 29 November, 2021 at 11:19 am

      It’s more about the reporters than the vampires. 🙂

  • 29 November, 2021 at 10:22 am

    I don’t remember your review of the first, but I certainly should take a closer look. I’m not a much on vampires, but this sounds more like farce 🙂

    • 29 November, 2021 at 11:20 am

      Yes – farce is a great description!
      You must have got back to Kathmandu…

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