Love Will Tear Us Apart by C.K. McDonnell | Book Reviews | General Fiction | Speculative Fiction
Love Will Tear Us Apart by C.K. McDonnell

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Love Will Tear Us Apart by C.K. McDonnell is published with Bantam Press (Transworld) It is the third novel in this critically acclaimed Manchester-based series, following on from The Stranger Times and This Charming Man, one described as ‘a contemporary comic fantasy series. Original, fast-paced and funny…revolving around the investigations of The Stranger Times newspaper into the weird, the spooky and the supernatural’.

I know you already have heard me repeat this many times over the last few years but I’m going to say it here again – I am a fan, a huge fan of C. K. McDonnell’s (aka Caimh’s) writing. I originally read The Dublin Trilogy, an Irish based, extremely funny, crime series featuring Bunny McGarry, one of my all time favourite lead protagonists, and have been hooked since. Caimh has his roots in stand-up comedy and his wit and comedic timing shines through in every single word, every piece of dialogue.

The Stranger Times is a newspaper under the stewardship of it’s editor-and-chief, the petulant and bitter Vincent Banecroft. With a motley crew of staff, the newspaper is considered by many to be nothing more than a rag, a joke to society. But The Stranger Times is a far-cry from being just chip wrapping. Unbeknownst to most mere mortals, it is a source of vital information for certain inexplicable individuals whose job is to maintain the balance of society and to keep the status quo in check.

Banecroft had once been a renowned newspaper hack with a solid reputation but, when his wife died, he lost his path and spiralled down into a dark place. The owner of The Stranger Times gave him an opportunity to redeem himself and, although his behaviour was most times bullish and downright anti-social, he has provided an acceptable service to date. Part of Banecroft’s depression is that he has always believed his wife to be still alive. His acceptance of her passing and his moving forward was just not part of his DNA and now he sees an opportunity to prove himself right, but at what cost?

When Hannah Willis, his assistant editor suddenly hands in her notice and decides to go to a celebrity health spa with the possibility of her getting back together with her wayward husband, Vincent does a doubletake. His mindset is not in the right place and he plummets further into a state of anxiety and rage. Not himself, his behaviour causes a major upset in the office and, when a new assistant editor arrives on the scene, it’s clear to all that something is very amiss.

Love Will Tear Us Apart is as completely and wonderfully bonkers as the previous two books in this series. Caimh’s imagination seems to be limitless as the reader is literally taken on a journey of smoke and mirrors. Featuring lots of starlings, yes the feathered kind, a talking dog and a woman with a penchant for sweets, as well as a middle aged hacker, an almost humane hack and a Rastafarian with a rather mysterious personality, prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of a ride.

Do you need to start at the beginning? No not necessarily, but you should, in order to get the full picture, and to appreciate how everything connects. I was delighted to see that there is a multi-part Stranger Times series in development so get in early folks and catch up on your reading first.

I don’t normally read from the urban fantasy genre but I will always make the exception for Caimh. In fairness no matter what genre Caimh writes in I will always read it. His ingenuity and pure sense of fun is evident throughout all his writing and his pure brilliance in depicting a character or a scene is 100% and uniquely his own.

Love Will Tear Us Apart is another top-notch read and the perfect addition to this mighty series. There is serious creativity here and if you are looking to escape the chaos of today’s society, then these books might just tick the right boxes for you. It offers so much distraction and oozes with a dose of much-needed humour. But it is also quality writing with well developed plotting and planning. I have to mention the titles of book 2 & 3 and the connection to music and Manchester, another quirky little feature from the man himself.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by C.K. McDonnellOutlandish, entertaining and very energetic Love Will Tear Us Apart is kooky and fantastical, a riotous experience, one not to be missed. As The Times put it “a tennis match of witty banter.”

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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