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Stranger Times Books In Order

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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

Stranger Times series by C.K. McDonnell
C. K. McDonnell writes the “Stranger Times” series of paranormal thrillers that are set in his adopted home town of Manchester.

The books feature that same distinctive comedic voice that fans have loved in McDonnell’s other books, however this time around there is an added strange. It combines paranormal, urban fantasy, and humor with crime.

“The Stranger Times” is the first novel in the “Stranger Times” series and was released in 2021. There are dark forces at work in our world so thank goodness “The Stranger Times” is on hand to report on them. A weekly newspaper that is dedicated to the wonderful and the weird (but mainly the weird), and it’s the go-to publication for the inexplicable and unexplained.

That is their pitch, anyway. The reality is much less auspicious. Their editor is a foul-tempered, drunken, and foul-mouthed husk of a man that thinks rather little of the publication that he edits. His staff is this ragtag bunch of misfits. And as for the assistant editor, well, that job is more of a revolving door, and it’s just revolved to reveal a woman named Hannah Willis, who’s got a bunch of problems of her own.

When tragedy strikes during her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they find leads to this shocking realization: some of the stories that they had just dismissed as utter nonsense in the past are in fact horrifyingly real. They soon come face-to-face with much darker forces than they could have ever imagined.

Readers really liked the conversations between the employees of The Stranger Times, because they’re hilarious and made them laugh out loud. You initially feel these characters are a bunch of misfits tossed together yet the more time you spend with them, the more you realize just how well they gel together. Fans of the book were hooked from the very start, because McDonnell is excellent at hooking you in, and his humor, whether you’re laughing out loud at it or rolling your eyes. This is the funniest book that some readers have gone cover to cover with in such a long time, with an eccentric cast of characters.

“This Charming Man” is the second novel in the “Stranger Times” series and was released in 2022. Vampires don’t exist. Everybody knows it. So it’s especially annoying when they begin popping up around Manchester.

No one’s pleased about it. Not the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight that just want a quiet life, nor the Founders, the secret organization for whom vampires were invented as this allegory. And certainly not the people of Manchester, since there’s nothing more irksome than getting murdered by some allegory run amok. Someone needs to sort all of this out quick before all Hell truly does break loose, step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It is not like they do not have plenty to be dealing with already. Assistant Editor Hannah has returned from getting messily divorced to learn that somebody’s attempting to kidnap a member of their staff. And as editor Vincent Banecroft would really be delighted to see the back of any member of his team, he does not like people touching his stuff. It’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in gambling debts, this precarious plumbing situation, a whole new way of swearing, and this one detective inspector with what could only be referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and all of it adds up to another hectic week in the life of this newspaper that’s committed to reporting the truth that no one else will touch.

This is a gag filled romp that is extremely funny and dark, in the spirit of Terry Pratchett. It’s great to be back with the original cast, and readers are sure to love the new additions introduced in this sequel. Fans found this genuinely funny and fresh, with a jet propelled plot, fantastic characters, and a winning premise. Readers found they were invested in plot, while being intrigued and amused from beginning to end. McDonnell does a great job of differentiating characters from each other with just a line or two of description, making sure you never forget them.

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” is the third novel in the “Stranger Times” series and was released in 2023. Love can be a truly horrible thing. Marriages are tricky at the best of times, particularly when one of you is dead.

Vincent Banecroft, The Stranger Times’ irascible editor, never has believed his wife died for a minute, despite emphatic evidence to the contrary. Now, against all odds, it would seem that he might actually get proved right, however what lengths is he going to go in an effort to rescue her?

With Banecroft being distracted, the shock resignation of Hannah Willis, assistant editor, could not have come at a worse time. It speaks volumes that her decision to reconcile with her philandering ex-husband is just marginally less surprising than Banecroft and his wife are also getting back together. During this time of crisis, is her choice to swan off to a fancy new age retreat ran by a celebrity cult truly the best thing for anybody?

As if that was not enough, one of the paper’s former columnists has vanished, an especially impressive trick since he never actually existed in the first place.

Homicidal cherubs, Reliant Robins, irate starlings, hijacked ghosts, floating statues, and quite possibly several deeply sinister conspiracies. All in all, just a typical week for The Stranger Times’ staff.

Besides the trademark humor, there are some of the most heartwarming moments in this series that’ll leave their marks on you, with some leaving readers in tears, crying tears of bittersweet happiness. This book has numerous suspenseful chapters and brings the character development to a whole new level. McDonnell delivers another hilarious satirical, urban fantasy novel that is sure to keep you highly amused and entertained throughout. This is another brilliant addition to this already fantastic series. The mysteries that tie this story together are perfectly formed and well executed.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Stranger Times

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