The Final Game by Caimh McDonnell complements The Dublin Trilogy wonderfully. Published with McFori Ink, it is described as ‘a standalone crime novel perfect for readers new to Caimh McDonnell’s blackly comic take on his hometown’.
With no Bunny McGarry in sight I was a bit hesitant in picking up The Final Game. I mean he is my all time favourite hurley-swinging Corkonian! But Bunny could not be there, for reasons I will not disclose as that would be a very unnecessary spoiler if you haven’t read any of Caimh McDonnell’s books.
Paul Mulchrone and Brigit Conroy are the backbone of MCM Investigations, a Dublin based agency with a rather unusual history. When Paul receives news that his friend Dorothy has passed away he is distraught. While working in a dangerous undercover role he had missed numerous calls and now with Dorothy dead, he is filled with guilt that he had been unaware of her passing. Upset and anger soon turns to disbelief when he discovers that Dorothy has invited both himself and Brigit to enter a competition, one that will determine who becomes the benefactor of Dorothy’s very large inheritance. Dorothy had many relatives, all leeches and all despised by Dorothy, but even in death Dorothy will not be taken of advantage of. Through pre-recorded video she explains what they must do and what the game involves. They all balk at it but choice is not an option. A live stream is set up as the games commence with all competitors in it to win but some will stoop very low as greed has no boundaries.
But, and there is always a but, Dorothy also left a private message for Paul claiming that her death was no accident…..she was murdered! With Paul and Brigit caught up in the madcap antics of this farcical (for the reader hilarious!) reality show, they are dependent on Phil Nellis, their man on the outside, to find evidence supporting Dorothy’s far-fetched claim. But Phil can not do this job alone. He has the wonderfully flatulent Maggie by his side but he needs more manpower.
Retired DI Jimmy Stewart is restless. Being at home doesn’t suit him following the passing of his wife. MCM Investigations have previously shown interest in him assisting them but he has refused…until now. With a small bit of persuasion he reluctantly joins Phil Nellis as they set about uncovering the truth behind Dorothy’s death. Was it an accident? Was she murdered?
The banter between Nellis and Stewart is priceless. Throw in a dog with digestive issues in a cramped space and you can almost feel the sting in your eyes. Caimh McDonnell is a funny man and all his characters have very sharp, funny and witty personalities. While Paul and Brigit try to survive food poisoning, exhaustion and physical injuries during the challenges, they try to figure out who in the family had most to win following Dorothy’s death. Attempts of blocking their progress are met with their unique sense of dark comic timing and Irish expressions.
The Final Game really is the perfect distraction. It is pure entertainment yet, also, it is a satirical look at our society. Although at times exaggerated ( well it is comic fiction) it exposes our obsession with reality TV shows and the extreme measures that folk will go to to get money. Greed makes people do stupid things and Caimh McDonnell highlights this in his own uniquely comic fashion. Another lively and fun addition to this growing collection, The Final Game is a murder mystery told with McDonnell’s now trademark pure timing and Irish wit. Enjoy!
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.