Look who’s back??
Bunny McGarry….that crazy and lovable Cork rogue takes centre stage in Angels in The Moonlight, the third novel from Irish writer Caimh McDonnell. This is a stand-alone prequel to The Dublin Trilogy (which might I add I have thoroughly enjoyed so far), so it’s a great introduction to the man himself as he was in 1999.
I am delighted to be part of the blogtour and have a fantastic guest post from Caimh, with a very cool Spotify playlist included.
I also was very lucky to receive an advance copy so I have my review of this truly fabulous book to share with you all today…unbiased and voluntary of course!!
Do please read on….
For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.
It’s 1999 and his hard-won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He is set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbers in Irish history. So, the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.
Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?
Angels in the Moonlight is the standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.
A Novel’s Soundtrack
Nothing hacks into our emotional core as human beings quite like music. There’s something hardwired into our brains that just responds to it. Of course, what response it elicits will vary wildly person to person. Some people can be reduced to a blubbering wreck by Celine Dion belting out her Titanic theme, while other will find themselves rooting for the iceberg by the second chorus. A comedian friend of mine is a massive fan of death metal and Enya. My own tastes in music may not be quite that diverse (I defy you to find someone whose are!) but I like to think they are varied.
Novels of course, can’t have a soundtrack, in fact any editor will tell you, even quoting a lyric in your book will cause you no end of grief. Still, that doesn’t mean music can’t play a big role in the book’s creation. I’ve increasingly found that I’ve started to associate different aspects of my plot and different characters with certain songs. It’s just a way of getting myself into the right headspace to write.
Here are a selection of the songs that made my playlist in the creation of my latest book.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Yes, the Whitney Houston song – only not the Whitney version. There is an acoustic cover version of the song by a band called Bootstraps that just randomly appeared on my playlist on Spotify one day. Slowed down, it becomes a beautifully melancholic piece of music that is full of heart-felt yearning. At the center of my latest novel, Angels in the Moonlight, is a love story featuring two people who have already been kicked around a lot by life, the bitter-sweet feel of the song just invoked that perfect sense of bruised yearning that I wanted.
Ain’t No Easy Way – The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
My central character is Detective Bunny McGarry, a fast-talking mess of a man with his own moral code and a willingness to break rules and bones to make sure the world adheres to it. For me, this song perfectly elicits the image of him walking down one of Dublin’s meaner streets, swinging a hurling stick by his side, on his way to right wrongs and kick some serious arse.
God’s Gonna Cut you Down – Johnny Cash
If you’ve got a character who is haunted by the demons of their own misdeed, then Johnny Cash’s is your go-to guy every time. Nobody does guilt and shame quite like him. His growling world-weary vocals are just perfect to evoke a fallen hero with mud on his shoes and blood on his hands. Every song tells a story and invariably it does not have a happy ending.
Cassandra Wilson – The entire back catalogue
Bit of a cheat but my book features a female jazz singer from the American south. The character has nothing to do with Ms Wilson’s actual life of course but I will own up to stealing her voice. It is really hard to induce through words alone the experience of live music, but when trying to do so, it was Wilson’s distinctive vocal style that I was describing. It manages to be both deep, smooth and somehow gravelly at the same time.
Writing is essentially the process of trying to repeatedly trick your lazy brain into actually doing something. Next time you find yourself staring at a blank page, assemble a soundtrack in your mind for the movie, and it’ll write itself.
Failing that, it’ll at least give you a great excuse to spend an afternoon rambling around Spotify looking for some killer tunes.
Thanks so much Caimh.
Please do continue reading for my review of Angels in The Moonlight
My Review ~ Angels in The Moonlight
The opening pages of Angels in the Moonlight set the tone perfectly for the reader. Having previously read A Man with One of Those Faces and The Day That Never Comes, I knew what to expect and Caimh McDonnell does not disappoint.
Let me introduce you to Detective Bunny McGarry
‘McGarry was a big lummocks of a man, with a thick Cork accent and a scruffy, second-hand look about him.. He was early thirties, six foot two and fat, but in a usable way; he carried the kind of bulk that could slam through a door or be thrown behind a punch as required. His left eye was lazy which gave people the impression he was slightly unhinged. That impression was frequently backed up by his behaviour’
The year is 1999. Dublin is under siege from a very intelligent and very ruthless criminal gang. Raids on security vans carrying cash are becoming common place, with the money being redirected towards a possible new drug lord. This guy is young. He is mean and he has a vendetta that he wishes to see through. The Garda Commissioner right up to the Minister for Justice are involved as the situation is spiraling right out of control.
DI Fintan O’ Rourke is up against it. He knows who is behind these raids but he is unable to bring the suspect in until he has sufficient evidence. With permission from on high to increase his team, O’ Rourke knows who he wants. The one person who is in a position to face down these boyos is Bunny McGarry. But trying to persuade Bunny to get involved is another problem for O’ Rourke.
Bunny McGarry is a very complicated character. His passion is hurling, with a young bunch of lads under his coaching, in the form of a local club, St. Judes (sidenote ~ St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes). Bunny is passionate about the game and even though he’s a tough task master (actually bloody hilarious), he is determined to keep these young lads off the streets of the capital city.
What’s slightly different in this book, the prequel, is that we get a little back story on Bunny. In the Trilogy, Bunny is never really involved in matters of the heart, but in Angels in The Moonlight we are introduced to Simone, the enigmatic bartender. But Simone has a secret. Initially when she meets Bunny, she is extremely cautious and wary of him. He is very persistent in his wooing and after awhile she does open up a little to him. But Simone has a very dodgy past and Bunny soon finds himself caught up in a very complex situation.
In the meantime, his long time partner and best buddy, Gringo, is having difficulties in his own personal life. With his marriage falling apart, it soon becomes clear to Bunny that Gringo is hiding something. Bunny puts loyalty foremost in his daily life and this shines through in his partnership with Gringo. It’s not too long before another complication is soon presented to Bunny.
So with O’ Rourke using Bunny to assist in bringing down the local crime lord, with the secretive and curious Simone claiming a piece of his heart and with his partner, Gringo, in difficulty, Bunny’s life get’s very very complicated indeed.
Angels In The Moonlight is uproariously funny yet also tinged with sadness and heartbreak. Caimh McDonnell seems to strike the balance perfectly. Bunny McGarry is a most unlikely hero. Although extremely unorthodox in some of his actions. Bunny has a pure heart of gold underneath that tough veneer.
Caimh McDonnell has a flow and style to his writing that just makes the reader wanting more. The Irish black humour is evident throughout the novel, with pages just littered with witty one-liners and side-splitting laugh-out-loud moments. Oh and this time around we also have a tenacious, fearless nun in the mix, adding to the overall comic aspect of the novel.
I would like to mention though that this is a police procedural…..it’s just that Caimh approaches it in a slightly unique manner!!
Angels in The Moonlight has everything you want in a good read…packed with punchlines, a fantastic storyline with some quirky personalities thrown in.
Go on……seriously…you will not regret it…
Purchase Link ~ Angels In The Moonlight
About the Author
Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.
He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Comes was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.
Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.
During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).
Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh