Cover Image: The Stranger Times

The Stranger Times

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Publishers for their ARC

Caimh's  The Stranger Times writing was on of my favourite reads of 2020. It wears fast paced and very humorous to the point that I laughed out loud numerous times.  The writing style was extremely descriptive but not to the fact were it was irritating.

Worth the read
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An intriguing, unique and somewhat twisted newspaper offers the arcane as the real with fun, interesting consequences.
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I started this book and thought...what is this? It was different in style to anything I'd read before, but I did persevere and finish it...I'd not want to leave unfavourable reviews because it is a genre I'd not usually choose, so I've awarded a 3 star in all fairness...many thanks to Netgalley.co.uk and the publishers for a chance to read this ARC and leave an honest comment.
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It opens really well and the supernatural plot was just what I needed. At first I was less keen on the pressroom scene and it took me a while to get in to them, but slowly I grew to love the characters and their banter and relationships. I like that the characters are easily distinguishable plus there was more banter then a high school
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Of late, I have been having some luck with wacky stories. This format includes a contemporary setup, with fantastical creatures leaking into the story when you least expect it. This was no exception. The conversations' randomness was dialled down a little compared to others of this ilk, and people tried to keep their cool even when everything around them seemed to be going up into flames.
It begins innocuously enough, that is, after the first chapter that involves someone trying to perform a dangerous act. One of our main characters is a straightforward woman, having to earn by herself for the first time in years. She chances upon a very odd advertisement that turns even odder every minute she is at the location. Unfortunately for her and fortunately for us, she takes the job by default. We are aware of the 'stranger' ongoings in the city, something that our newspaper team will only find out in bits and pieces. This is sometimes fun, but at other times I wished I also found out only when the others did!
It was a fun book with magical creatures and magical histories, and I really liked the ending. If there is another book, I look forward to a few laughs. I may not have laughed aloud during the book but felt its humourous effects during the bantering that multiple characters take up at various stages. I recommend this to anyone who found the above details interesting and on the lookout for a quick read.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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Hannah needs a job but hasn't held one down in years and has no experience. Having lost her marriage and her home (which she burned down) she has very little left, so is desperate for employment. Circumstances mean that she ends up working at 'The Stranger Times' for an obnoxious drunk alongside a bunch of random misfits.

Just, as it seems the divide between the world as we see it bumps up against the other world that exists alongside it. Manchester is the busiest place for the dark deeds that The Stranger Times reports on and the staff are just starting to realise that the stories they thought were a load of imaginations gone wild, are in fact true.

Some of the characters might be considered a bit unrealistic, but I did find that the editor reminded me of someone I have worked with in the past (just a little), so it did give the story more chance of being believable character-wise.

I haven't read any works by this author before and I would read his books again, but only the fantasy ones, I'm not interested in comedy. There were places where the author lost me a little, so I carried on reading and filled in the gaps as best I could.
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Set in Manchester between the world as we know it and a the secret world of fae and supernaturals, this book follows the adventures of the staff of the Stranger Times newspaper, a paper that publishes the weird and wonderful stories that no self respecting paper would. 
The authors writing style is refreshing and genuinely funny – blending a supernatural mystery with mundane reality in such a way that it’s impossible not to giggle. At the same time, the story has substance to it and the plot is rock solid, laying a strong foundation for what I’m hoping is set to become a series. 
The characters are the crowning glory of this story – a mix of diverse personalities, the staff of Stranger Times are strongly written and have distinctive personalities. The found-family dynamic is heartwarming – they spend most of their time screaming at each other but when there are outside threats, they’re loyal to the end. 
Another thing that struck me is that though the villain is creepy and villainous, the neutral characters were even more sinister and interesting in their motivations. 

I’d love to read more of this series to see how the characters grow and their family develops, so here’s hoping the author has more lined up for us!
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The Stranger Times is a fun, off kilter romp around shining light on supernatural hi jinx occurring in the Manchester metropolitan area. And who better to unveil the truth of magical anomalies and broadcast it to the wider world than The Stranger Times newspaper? Having just read the brilliant Slough House by Mick Herron I see a number of parallels, though not even remotely similar in content or subject matter. An unruly team of misfits (Slough House's slow horses) is captained by a rude, overbearing, bitingly sarcastic, potentially washed up man (Slough House's Jackson Lamb) as they strive against all odds, and general reason, to unearth the truth and deal with it. An age-old, proven formula that works so well here in a bonkers kind of way. Hilarious stuff, to be sure, but with a dark underbelly that is both frightful and disturbing.

The Stranger Times does contain everything you could possibly want in an underdog story - fighting against convention the disparate parts of the team work together pooling their talents to get to the bottom of recent occurrences. The characters are each in their own way unique and likeable. Hannah, the most conventional character of the lot, is finding her way in the world after a messy marital break-up is exposed to a world she never dreamed of. It is a funny, cheeky story that isn't constrained by reality and that is best part of it. If you want a delightfully distracting story to take your mind off the current troubles, it is here my friend.
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I really enjoyed this. It sets up some intriguing characters that I can really see growing over time. I look forward to more from the author.
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Well, what a fun book this was! 
Hannah is looking for a job after a messy divorce found her moving across the country to start afresh. She ends up with a job at The Stranger Times which is a newspaper that reports all the weird and wonderful goings on in the world such as alien abductions, the sightings of elusive mythical monsters etc. This is far out of her comfort zone and then add to that her colleagues who were just a crazy bunch and almost caricatures with certain aspects of their personalities exaggerated, and hilarity ensues. The newspaper staff find themselves in the middle of a real investigation when 2 local men are killed in bizarre unexplainable way and they end up in a battle of good versus magical evil!
Parts of the book are crude, parts are ridiculous, and parts are just WTF! But it was really enjoyable. I loved the characters, the story line was good, and it had a great pace once it got going after a bit of a slow start. There are a few homophobic and racist comments thrown in by a purposefully antagonistic character but I think they are used just right to portray the character and are not accepted by other characters (if that makes sense?). There's also quite a bit of profanity. This is meant to be a slapstick urban fantasy and should be taken at face value for entertainment purposes. I'd definitely recommend this book for people with a dark, sarcastic sense of humour who aren't easily offended.
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Hannah is feeling rather desperate for work when she lands a job as the assistant editor with the Stranger Times newspaper. As a result, she hasn’t actually researched the publication much – and is more than a little shocked to discover she’s now proofreading articles on vampires and bigfoot. Oops! Still, a job is a job. Which is all fine and good until tragedy strikes in her first week. But the investigation into a death a little too close to home is met with more resistance than usual, and both darker forces and deadlier foes than any of the team might have wholly believed real…

I’ve been swithering (good Scottish word there ;)) about this book since I read it. It was a good concept and certainly entertaining, and I did enjoy a lot of it. However, I was almost surprised to find that it wasn’t a debut effort. The writing style just felt a little like it needed… something… to lift it, and to make this a great book rather than an okay one.

I think my main issue was the way the plot just grows and grows, and by the end it felt like an extra several layers had been added over and above what felt organic. Some is teased at the beginning, but then there’s this other element. And oh, here’s another, and, and, and – and a couple were a little too deus ex machina. Hmm.

There was almost a slight feel that the author was trying too hard with some of the characters, too. I could sense an almost Douglas Adams attempt at times, or perhaps Pratchett, but without quite enough panache to carry it off. The drunken, foul mouthed editor (with a backstory, natch) was particularly pantomime, which was a shame.

Still, it is very readable. I’d pick up another book in the series, and I suspect it’d work a lot better purely by already having half the elements introduced. Volume one has about half a series’ worth of ideas crammed in as it is!
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I really wanted to like this book, as we are all certainly living in ‘Stranger Times’, however, after trying for a month, I’m still stuck in the first half of the novel.  The characters are very cartoonish and although there have been some very intriguing magical parts, I really don’t care about the fate of the protagonists.  Not for me, sorry.
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Awesome fun! The concept as a whole isn’t the most original, but the frame of the paper helps give it a coat of polish and make it sparkle. The protagonist is a delight.
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This book was unexpected and delightful. I love the off-beat premise and the distinctive characters. I'll always be grateful for authors who add a touch of the fantastical to our normal world. Excellent work, and thank you for the ARC!
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The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell (Bantam, 2021) reads a bit like a Terry Pratchett book transposed into a present-day setting. I loved the concept, but the execution did not work for me. The humour was too crude and there were a lot of discriminatory jokes. I feel like the setting of a newspaper focusing on the weird and supernatural could have offered itself to far better stories, but the characters frustrated me to no end and I couldn’t get over some of the comments that were made. Added to that was that the plot just tried to do everything, rather than focus on one direction and do it properly. I don’t recommend this one.
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The Stranger Times is a weekly newspaper dedicated to reporting on the the weird and supernatural occurrences of modern life. Hannah’s first week on the job as assistant editor reveals the staff of the paper to be a group of misfits serving under a foul-tempered, foul-mouthed drunkard – not what she had in mind for her first proper job. When tragedy strikes rather close to home, the team at The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigative journalism which leads to the shocking discovery that some of the supposed nonsense that they report on is actually real.

This was a highly entertaining read with a group of fantastic characters. Hannah is a surprisingly relatable protagonist who goes through some subtle and very well-done character development over the course of the book, while the rest of the team at The Stranger Times are completely lovable and barking mad – even Banecroft, the offensive and abusive editor. They’re a colourful bunch, each with a past that is eluded to but never fully explored, which goes a long way to give them depth without changing the focus of the story.

Speaking of which, the story is the perfect mix of kooky and amusing, and dark and gritty. In amongst the general silliness of Banecroft literally shooting himself in the foot and ‘Loon Day’, when the paper opens it’s door to the public to try to sell their largely unbelievable stories to be published, there is a much darker story unfolding.

The plot is fast-paced and entertaining throughout, but I felt that things happened in a bit of a rush at the end, with the climax and conclusion coming on a bit abruptly. There were also quite a few unresolved threads but, as the first book in a series, this can be forgiven as they will probably come up in more detail in later installments.
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Good-vs-evil, alternate chapters, a world kind of similar to our own...but not...

I adore a well mixed cocktail of fantasy, sci-fi and myth, with a splash of good humour (hold the sugar). And it's all set in good old Manchester! This was a fun read, with some nice creepy elements and a great story arc for the relatable MC Hannah Willis and her varied cast of fun (and mean) side characters. I understand this is book 1 and book 2 will be fresh of the press (pun intended) sometime later this year (maybe?). I'll definitely be reading it!
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This is by far the weirdest, funniest and entertaining book I have ever read. British humour for which I have a weakness, but set in America which is about as off-Britain as it can get for a former colony of the crown; the probably most uncaring boss ever - I still wonder how he has managed remaining editor, but I guess no one wants the job? - I was not expecting this book to make laugh so hard, especially since it's having some serious thriller elements as well. But it did and I really wish I could give this book five stars, but the newspaper articles were completely disrupted by the Kindle app, making it impossible to read them. That's why I am cutting a star, while hoping the next book will be as humerous and entertaining as this one.

I received a free ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely loved this book and it was exactly the tonic I needed to get me through these crappy Corona times! I've been a fan of the authors other books (writing as Caimh McDonnell) and was intrigued as to how he'd turn his hand to an urban fantasy...well he turned it right well! Such a laugh out loud book with a host of BONKERS characters who I know I'll grow to love as much as those from the Dublin Trilogy/Bunny Stateside. Personal favourites are Manny and Simon; the moments they are featured were jaw-dropping and so endearing.

I'm so pleased that there are going to be more in this series and can't wait to find out what's next for the staff of The Stranger Times!
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I enjoyed this story as I have enjoyed this author's other books.  There's a silliness to them, but heart too.
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