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The Final Game by Caimh McDonnell. Book review

March 25, 2020

Book cover of the Final Game

The woman who has been like a mother to Paul Mulchrone over the last few years is not only dead, but suspicious that her death was no accident. Yes, you heard that right. Even in death Dorothy Graham’s larger than life personality is making itself felt and wisely steering Paul’s life as, from beyond the grave, she launches Paul and Brigit into an investigation of her death.

It will be a rollercoaster of a ride, because the detecting duo will have to take part in a bizarre contest with Dorothy’s loathed step-children for Dorothy’s fortune.

As usual Paul and Brigit are not alone in their investigation, with the incompetent, but lovable Phil, Maggie the flatulent retired police dog with attitude (it seems Caimh McDonnell likes his females with buckets of it), a retired police officer with Meniere’s disease and a baby.

Comedians are acute observers of life. It is that juxtaposition of knowing observations coupled with an extrapolation of reality that makes comedy work. This time Caimh takes on YouTube, social media and the culture of celebrity, really gouging in the knife and giving it a vicious twist. So prepare for you ribs to hurt because this is an non-stop, express train of mirth.

The whole set up of a game show with a series of humiliating contests is mined for all it’s worth. The fact that Paul and Brigit have to wear wrestling masks to hide their identities adds to the fun, as does Brigit’s forthrightness, balanced with Paul’s quieter demeanour.

Although there are a great many hilarious moments both with the game show and the other investigation conducted by Phil, the now retired and vertically challenged Jimmy Stewart and Maggie, with the baby in tow, there are some very serious elements as well. The interlinking of the two makes for a comedy crime book with some depth.

The relationships between all the main characters are wonderful and touching. Even Maggie can bring a tear to the eye. I am still torn between the flatulent Maggie, or the now single parent, outspoken solicitor Nora Stokes, as my favourite character.

I have not reviewed all of Caimh McDonnell’s books, but the ones I have not I am busy reading my way through and have even bought an audiobook. They are my ultimate comfort food (certainly my go to in these very difficult times). The Final Game, as are all Caimh McDonnell’s books, is ripe for a TV adaptation and I will be glued to the set when they are. Long may he be encouraged to keep writing.

The Final Game was courtesy of McFori Ink.

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