Book Notification

C.K. McDonnell Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Stranger Times Books

The Stranger Times (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Charming Man (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love Will Tear Us Apart (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Relight My Fire (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

C K McDonnell is the penname used by Irish author of crime, thriller, humor and comedy novels Caimh McDonnell. He was born in Limerick and spent his childhood in Dublin, Ireland. McDonnell is a retired television writer and standup comedy but now focuses all his energy on books. His television writing career saw him work with some of the biggest British TV comedy shows and earn a BAFTA nomination. Now with all his tv career behind his back, McDonnell can be found happily writing his next novel in his office in the backyard with his pet dog and imagination for company.

The Stranger Times is the first book in Stranger Times series by C.K. McDonnell. It’s a mash-up of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and mythology set in Manchester. We are introduced to MC Hannah Willis; she is having a bad day and a bad life. She recently divorced her wealthy husband and is in desperate need of something she’s never had in her life- a job. By chance of good luck, she goes to the Stranger Times, a newspaper company where she meets Stella, Simon, Grace, Ox, and Reggie. These characters fulfill the equation’s colorful, odd, and entertaining part of the story. The bad bit comes in the form of the managing editor of the Stranger Times, Vincent Banecroft, an alcoholic intending to drink himself to death. From the start, the reader can already guess that the characters have pasts that need to be explored, and the author provides hints as the book progresses.

In alternate chapters, the story follows a mysterious man named Moretti. He is on a mission; if anyone tries to get in his way, bodies will keep piling up. Here we have the basic battle between good and evil. At first, as readers, we are clueless as the main character, Hannah, as to what is happening in the world around us. Mythology, magic, scary creatures, and plenty of nightmares, Manchester has it all, and it’s up to the newspaper company, Stranger Times to keep us informed.

The biggest selling point of the Stranger Times book is the characters. There are quite a few of them, including the employees of the Stranger Times, the cops investigating the case, and the extraterrestrial villain. Each character is masterfully fleshed out and given a page or two for the reader to understand their motivations/plans thoroughly. Hannah is the protagonist. She has abandoned the grandeur of her London living to begin living in a friend’s spare room. Hannah is eager to see the good part of life, has a job (as odd as it is), and gets along with most of her coworkers. She is certain that she wants a fresh start and is prepared to forge her own way without her spouse. She is a little overwhelmed as she begins working at ‘The Stranger Times,’ given that someone attempted to jump from the roof during her interview. Still, she gets oddly proud of their small newspaper, and the team nearly becomes a family.

The managing editor, Banecroft, is a bit of a jerk, to be honest. Intending to drink himself to death while also publishing the finest newspaper. Without him, The Stranger Times would not be the same. He is impolite and obnoxious, and he could use a wash every so often. We also have Reggie and Ox, the editorial staff; Grace, the receptionist, and Stella, who was found trespassing and soon hired by the newspaper. The crew is like a family, yet they all have histories, some of which become more significant as the plot develops. Also, we receive chapters from our antagonist and magical creature, Moretti. He is committed to the success of his strategy and is more than ready to eliminate a few writers if necessary. Added to the mix are a few newspaper articles from the Stranger Times newspaper ranging from a man in North Yorkshire requesting UFOs to visit his home to the story of a plumber who’s taken over by the spirit of David Bowie.

This novel depicts the typical conflict between good versus evil, with the good unaware of the existence of evil. When you consider their work, it is ironic that the bulk of the novel focuses on a group of individuals unaware that supernatural entities coexist with them. However, when things begin to come together, their occupation makes them almost singularly suited to absorbing the bizarre and probing suspicious deaths. It was rather amusing to see them all realize that part of what they publish is genuine, but they’re a hardy lot and go from terrified to investigative reporters within seconds.

This Charming Man is C.K. McDonnell’s second book in the Stranger Times series. Vampires don’t exist. Everyone is aware of this reality. Hence, it is especially irritating when they start showing up in Manchester. No one is happy about it. Not the Founders, the clandestine organization for whom vampires were created as a metaphor, nor the People, the magical people who wish to live a peaceful existence but are hidden in plain sight. And certainly not the citizens of Manchester, as nothing is more annoying than being slaughtered by a loose metaphor. The crew of The Stranger Times is tasked with resolving this situation immediately before all Hell breaks out.

They certainly have enough problems to cope with. Assistant Editor Hannah has returned after a messy divorce to learn that someone is attempting to kidnap a staff member. While editor Vincent would be pleased to see the back of each of his crew, he doesn’t like anyone touching his belongings – it’s a matter of principle. A serious plumbing problem, gambling debts, a new style of cursing, and a detective inspector with “a lot of baggage” all add up to another frantic week in the lives of a newspaper dedicated to publishing the truth that no one else would. From the first page to the last, This Charming Man will have you hooked on the plot and intrigued, and you can guess that it’s been written by a comedian. If you enjoy reading bizarre stories with the captivating plotline, then The Stranger Times is the series to pick up.

Book Series In Order » Authors » C.K. McDonnell

Leave a Reply