The Chancer

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Pub Date 05 May 2023 | Archive Date 17 Jun 2023

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'You'll smile, you'll gasp and you'll laugh out loud. The Chancer is a rollercoaster ride of pure Irish gold. Graham's debut is pacy, punchy and a pure joy' - Chris Harvey, STV

He was born to be a star. Pity no one else thought so.

In 1989, in the west of Ireland, Donnie McNamara, tired of being a family disappointment, buys a one-way ticket to Tinseltown to pursue his much-ridiculed dreams of acting.

Abe Nelson, a fallen Hollywood legend, now wallows in LA’s dive bars.

When their worlds collide, Abe becomes an unlikely mentor to Donnie and is catapulted into his fantastical plans to become a Hollywood actor. But will the journey to stardom end in red carpets or red faces?’

'You'll smile, you'll gasp and you'll laugh out loud. The Chancer is a rollercoaster ride of pure Irish gold. Graham's debut is pacy, punchy and a pure joy' - Chris Harvey, STV

He was born to be a...

Advance Praise

“Sharp, funny and extremely enjoyable.” - Sean MacGuire 

“Hilarious and heart-warming.” - Emma Heatherington 

“Pure Irish gold.” - Chris Harvey 

“Sharp, funny and extremely enjoyable.” - Sean MacGuire 

“Hilarious and heart-warming.” - Emma Heatherington 

“Pure Irish gold.” - Chris Harvey 

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781739288402

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

So excited for this book, I absolutely love stories about Hollywood both fiction and non fiction and I know this will be a delight to our readers as well! I can’t wait to share all my thoughts in a full review soon, but I can’t wait to see what happens and think this will mak3 a great book club pick for our location!

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This was a fun book for sure. Donnie is unrelentingly optimistic and fun to follow around. If you'd enjoy reading about a character blundering their way through Hollywood in the 80s this is the one for you. The story flowed quickly and I found myself really rooting for Donnie throughout the story.

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This book was always going to be a little bit more special for me; my husband grew up in the Irish village where Fiona now lives and the start of the book really captures the spirit of rural Ireland.
I was really looking forward to reading it and was delighted to get an early copy.
I loved everything about this book and raced through it. It’s beautifully written, has unique and interesting characters and a delicious dark humour.
It’s a fabulous read and one that I’d recommend to anyone. This book is easy, engaging and will definitely stick with me for a long time. It’s definitely worthy of a big fat 5 stars!

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This book was an absolute delight. A quick and comforting read.

It's very clear that Fiona Graham has a background in writing films: for one thing, she paints a funny insider's picture of the movie business both from the perspective of washed-up star turned reluctant mentor Abe, and star-struck but bumbling Donnie. For another, she does an incredible job of setting each scene, going from Hollywood dive bar to small Irish village authentically. And the characters are so well fleshed out strictly through their dialogue and action, no narrative hints required.

A few of the clever bits from the book, which are to me representative of the tone as a whole:

“He was far from ugly, but he had a clumsy face, as if God had been in a bit of a hurry when he put it together”

“For the town’s locals, it was simply home, but for Donnie McNamara, Bellvara felt like a hand-me-down coat he would rather not be wearing”

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I adored this novel. It had so much awkward, hilarious charm. I screamed at the screen (mostly at poor Donnie’s awkward fumblings and innate charism, kindness, wit), I smacked my forehead, I laughed so hard I cried, and then I cried genuinely happy tears.

I loved the character of Donnie, who no one can quite tell whether he is a bit touched or just different but who most like. I loved that even when no one else believed in Donnie, he believed in himself with just enough absence of self-awareness to be brave enough to put himself out there.

I loved the redemption story for Abe and I love Melanie’s character. Everyone had unique and developed backstories that helped advance the plot in an engaging way.

I want this novel turned into a movie! It would be perfect! Barry Keogh as Donnie, and John and Joan Cusack as Abe and Melanie.

I had two minor points of constructive criticism. The first is that Francis felt much more one dimensional as the villian compared to many of the other characters but I did love to hate him, so this is a minor point. The second bothered me enough to take me out of the book a few times. Some of the dialogue and thoughts attributed to the American and Canadian characters used slang not commonly used here. Having someone from the U.S. or Canada edit for North American english-language slang would be helpful.

Thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous debut novel!

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The Chancer is a charming story about Donnie McNamara, whose passion and dream are acting. Unfortunately, his family, mainly his dad, aren’t supportive. His dad wants him to grow up and stay in the small Irish village where his family owns a farm.
Donnie leaves for Hollywood, under a colossal lie, after an inheritance from an Uncle.

It’s a heartwarming story about following your passions, forgiveness, and authenticity.

Thank you, @netgalley, for the ebook.

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