A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell

Oh ye Gods, where to start…….genre? Um, suspense/police procedural/hilarious barely controlled Irish mayhem. Box ticked.


Meet Paul Mulchrone. He’s a 28 year old Dubliner dedicated to being a permanent thorn in the side of his dead great aunt’s lawyer (the aunt is dead, the lawyer is just irritated). After ignoring him all her life, she left a provision in her will for him to receive 500 GBP a month until he found a job. Oh, and he has to do 6 hours/week charity work & stay out of trouble. It was all going so well.


Paul has one of those faces. Everyone thinks they know him from somewhere. So he spends 6 hours each week visiting an old folks home where residents mistake him for their long lost brother, neighbour or grandchild. RN Brigit Conroy signs off his hours which he gleefully presents to Auntie Fidelma’s lawyer in exchange for another month’s keep.


He has his regulars but one night Brigit asks him to visit Martin Brown, a cantankerous old man who is dying. Hopefully he’ll mistake Paul for a family member & anyhoo, what could go wrong?


Well….a lot actually. By the time the dust settles Paul is in the local A&E, a hitman has been hired to kill him and the Gardai have a few questions about the body he left behind.


What follows is a mad tale of mistaken identity, gangsters, bent cops, murder & a decades old kidnapping. There’s even a kitchen sink.  It’s an entertaining combination of hair raising encounters & hilarious observations sure to appeal to fans of the Coen brothers. Think “Fargo” but with Irish accents.


Chapters alternate between several characters’ POV so we’re kept up on side stories that tie in to the overall plot. The dialogue is sharp & full of vernacular that is frequently laugh out loud funny if not downright inappropriate in some scenes. Only a people who spent years enduring the Troubles could face impending death with a shrug. The peripheral cast is large & there’s not a dud in the bunch (including Colin Farrell!!) . Standouts include the deadpan DI Jimmy Stewart, uber pregnant lawyer Nora Stokes & the unintentionally funny Dr. Sinha.


It’s a fast paced story that keeps you giggling on the edge of your seat while you cheer on Paul & Brigit in their quest to keep breathing. Recommended for fans of Carl Hiaasen, Stuart MacBride, Jay Stringer & Tim Dorsey.