Cover Image: The Stranger Times

The Stranger Times

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Member Reviews

Hannah has left her rich, cheating husband and is trying to make it on her own. In desperation she takes a job at a newspaper publishing paranormal events. What is much stranger are the people who work there, They were a little bit too quirky for me and I started to find them more irritating that interesting although, once the story got going, this was lessened. People are dying and a strange American using magic  seems to be behind it. The first half wasn’t my cup of tea but the second moved at a good pace and had a nice take on the idea of different creatures. This seems to be the first book of a series so perhaps it will even out a bit.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book with its blend of horror and tongue-in-cheek humour. A very different type of book and one which is imaginative and well worth reading on a rainy day when you just want to escape from everyday life. More please featuring these characters.
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Hanna Willis is trying to move on from her marriage breakdown and is thrilled when she gains a job at The Stranger Times, a weekly newspaper that reports on the weird and wonderful. 
Her first week at work could not be more eventful and I highly recommend you read this book for yourself. Great characters and events. I loved it, enjoy.
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After leaving her cheating husband, Hannah moves to Manchester to start afresh, and bags herself a job as Assistant Editor of The Stranger Times. She joins a team of eccentric misfits who publish stories of the weird and supernatural. But fact can often be weirder than fiction.
I wasn't sure what I was getting when I started reading this, but I absolutely loved it. It has magic, mayhem and lots of humour. It's a fast-paced urban fantasy with some great characters. I hope there will be more.
Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the ARC.
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This was so much fun!

"The Stranger Times" is a publication somewhat akin to "The Fortean Times" and as you would expect (in my head anyway), it is staffed by people as strange and peculiar as the events they write about. There's the surly editor in chief who has no issue with threatening to shoot a seemingly suicidal member of staff (it must be Monday. He's up on the roof). There's the woman who accidentally burnt down the family home after her ex cheated on her. There's the very grumpy teenager on the run who's been taken in by the publication. And then there are the much stranger characters...

It's exciting, unexpected, funny, and all around romping goodness. I can't wait for the next instalment!

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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The Stranger Times of the title is a newspaper (it could loosely be termed that!) which deals with the weird and less mundane aspects of life, it's a kind of cross between The Fortean Times and Take a break. With a motley crew of staffers - A moody Irish Editor, a surly teen, a Jamaican (I think..) press operator who has a tendency towards nudity, you know that things aren't going to be straight forward! 

The novel reads a little like Terry Pratchett, a little like Robert Rankin, with a dash of the Rivers Of London series, but it still ends up conjuring something of it's own and developing it's own mythologies too. 

The plot is fairly simple - there's a suicide being investigated which turns out to be a little more supernatural than it first appeared, the paper and the supernatural cross over and the novel goes from there, alternating between the lives of the newspaper team and the action of the various supernatural elements.

This is a fun novel - it's humorous and well written. The characterisation of the main characters is good, particularly Hannah the main protagonist and there's some nice touches on the relationships between the other characters which gives more insight into how The Stranger Times is run, but it would have been nice to scratch the surface a little deeper. It would have been nice to get a little deeper with the characters though, for example Vincent the editor has a backstory involving his wife which we never quite get too - though I get the feeling this has been set up for a series and we might get the answers at a later date.

The more magical elements of the book are interesting and we get some nice lore with the ideas of folk and founders but these things are not quite explained to the depths I would have liked and I felt I had to do some reading between the lines and a little guesswork to try and figure out how some of the more ',magical' elements and characters interlinked.

Overall I did really enjoy this book, it's fast paced and easy to read, the characterisation is good and there are a couple of surprises along the way which I really enjoyed. If there's criticism it is, as I have mentioned, a lack of full realisation, whether that be fully flesh out characters or fully realised world building, but I think that's part of the territory with this kind of novel and the trade off is that it remains fast paced. Perhaps we will get more detail of how the supernatural bits in other novels if this continues as  series, which I hope it does.
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Hannah Wallis’ life is in the toilet and in desperation she goes for an interview at the Stranger Times. You don’t have to be mad to work there, but it helps. With staff who would rather jump off the roof than attend the weekly staff meeting, a formerly fantastic currently ferociously drunk editor in chief who is only reigned in by his office manager because the wheels would fall off if she left and a grumpy slightly criminal teenage intern too clever for her own good. Hannah starts as “the new Tina” aka assistant editor and gets more than she bargained for.
I loved The Stranger Times, it was so much fun. The characters are all engaging even Victor (who is heartbroken and therefore redeemable),  Hannah is thankfully not a total pushover and Grace is a force. I liked how the weirdness was fully embraced and not just a half baked cop out. The story rips along at a smart pace. And of course the American is evil. Of course he is. It was also set in Manchester and not That London which makes a nice change. If your looking for Strange Manchester is the place to find it.
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Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell centres around Hannah who has left her old life behind after setting a house on fire due to discovering her husband was cheating. Her new life in Manchester begins with an interview at the newspaper The Stranger Times which, as the title suggests, reports on all the strange occurrences happening in the world all looked over by the drunken editor Banecroft. Not long after starting, they set about investigating on a mysterious death that has occurred leading to even stranger events.

Whilst reading I was definitely getting a Douglas Adams (think Dirk Gently) and Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) vibe. Which was a good thing for me as these were stories I really enjoyed. This then made sense reading that the author was a comedian. It’s not a laugh out loud funny but more of a bizarre funny.

I don’t think there was one character I didn’t like. They all had a depth to them so had all obviously been thought out really well. Banecraft, even though he seemed like the boss from hell, was still likeable which some authors find hard to do. His relationship with the receptionist Grace I really liked as he respected her boundaries and rules. Hannah could have been moping for her previous life but there was little of that as she got stuck in to the mysteries that were happening around her. In fact that was one thing that really stuck out for me. There was no forced romantic relationship! Which proves that you don’t need a love interest in a book. Even the minor characters had a back story. 

It did take me a while to read. Because of the style I felt it was one I needed to concentrate on otherwise I was reading sentences and not taking them in (which happened a lot after an exhausting week at work) so I’ve taken a star of for that. Also I’m not sure it’s one I would want to reread as I now know what happens. It was a good read but not enough excitement for me. But if you want well thought out characters and a book with magical mystical elements then I’d definitely recommend this one! I will be looking out for more books by the author.
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I really enjoyed this book - a brilliant, funny take on urban fantasy that was a real page-turner.
Hannah has a rough time and desperately needs a job when she stumbles across The Stranger Times  a newspaper that reports all the strange goings-on that people experience. As she gets pulled in to the investigation of some mysterious deaths, it seems some of the strange things they report might actually be real.
I loved the mix of characters in this -Hannah is a relatable everywoman and the array of colleagues is brilliant. I also liked the mix of fantasy and humour here - there was a good sense of magic and peril, but there were also some laugh out loud moments. There were also enough well-written plot twists to make this a fast-paced, engrossing read and I can't wait to read more in the series.
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I think the idea of this was great and some of the humour worked really well, but I found it hard to get into, due to the constant introduction of new characters in each chapter at the beginning, so that, by the time the story began to  hang together, I'd forgotten who was who.  Also, it grew less funny towards the end.  I can see this working much better as a film.
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Many thanks to the author, publishers and Netgalley for a free ARC of this ebook.
Stranger Times.. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.. I absolutely adored it. 
This book is set in Manchester, (a city I know well) and implicates a number of n'ere do wells, some proper baddies and a few criminals. Oh and a magical printing press along with a ragbag selection investigative journalist types, a copper or 2 and couple of bossy ladies. I'm hoping that this is the first installment of a trilogy comprising at least 5 volumes. 
If you like Terry Pratchett, Ben Arranovich etc then this book I'm sure will appeal.
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It took me a moment to get into this book, but once I did, I quite enjoyed it. It starts off with a woman who is seeking employment. After she bombs out of one interview, she goes to a second, back-up interview with some off-beat newspaper called _The Stranger Times_. Without really knowing what the newspaper publishes at first, the cast of characters there definitely qualify as 'strange'. In particular, the chief editor is just this side of insane...or brilliant; it can sometimes be hard to discern which.

This is urban fantasy meets Douglas Adams. Without trying so hard to be constantly funny--which can easily tire me as a reader--the novel still injects quite a bit of humour throughout the pages. Little bits of fun are sprinkled here and there, even when some of the circumstances are a bit dire. And they do get a bit dire for some of our characters. They also get...well...strange.

There's quite a bit of world building going on behind the scenes. The book certainly gives the impression that the author knows a lot more than there is room to describe in the pages of this book. It leaves open some interesting possibilities for sequels, and there's already a web site available with extras, the address of which is mentioned at the end of the book.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, and I look forward to any sequels the author cares to create.
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This is a comic urban fantasy set around a Fortean Timesalike newspaper in Manchester. It’s very likeable, a fun and entertaining read, with some opening sketches for an interesting mythology should this become a series. It’s not hard to spot the antecedents. The “small organisation gets involved in defeating occult plots” set up will be familiar to Ben Aaronovitch’s fans, while there are also definite elements of Pratchett. McDonnell has a way to go before he can be talked of alongside him, but the camaraderie between the loveable - well, losers would be harsh, but winners is in no way accurate either - of the Stranger Times staff is reminiscent of the Watch. Either way, I wolfed it down in a day, and I’ll be looking out for the next one.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book: I absolutely loved it and am eagerly looking forward to the sequel.  Along with a serious plot there were some laugh out loud moments, not to mention some useful tips on the appropriatness of digestives, reach tea and, top of the list, chocolate Hobnobs.
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I have previously thoroughly enjoyed Caimh McDonnell's hilarious Bunny McGarry books about an Irish cop and his exploits in Dublin and then in the USA, so I was very keen to read this new urban fantasy series set in a Mancunian paranormal newspaper.  Manchester is a city I know well, so it seemed a perfect fit for me.

Happily, the new book was really really good.  There are a wide range of well drawn, diverse characters, some thrilling moments and plenty of laughs.  I really liked the new heroine, Hannah too.

Five resounding stars and thoroughly recommended to urban fantasy readers of Ben Aaronovitch.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
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This story is amazing, fast-paced, with plenty of surprises and with the most eclectic cast of characters I have read and loved in quite a while. 

I wasn't sure where the otherworldly influence was going to make an appearance, but the idea of a newspaper devoted to the weird and unusual kept me reading. 

The Stranger Times is a worthy addition to that Urban Fantasy genre that includes Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and Charles Stross' Laundry Files.
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Well, this was an unexpected treat. This is urban fantasy with great characters and gentle humour. The Stranger Times is a small and irrelevant newspaper dealing with stories of unusual or supernatural elements. Run by an editor reminiscent of the Jackson Lamb character in the Mick Herron Dead Horses series about spies that have been put out to pasture. Lot of similarities between the two series, and that’s a good thing.
Hannah is a new recruit to the small team at the paper, like the rest she is a bit of a loser and a bit of a misfit and that means she fits right in.
The paper reports on supernatural nonsense such as a demonic toilet, but then they have a real story and discover their assumptions might need to change.
This was great fun, the characters are all a delight and the plot gently lets you into things that are more than they first appear. Eventually we see the more standard urban fantasy urban secret world type trope, but you kind of know it will and you just enjoy the pleasure of the journey getting there.
There will be another book and I honestly can’t wait.
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A must read for fans of urban fantasy. A humorous, moving story, in the vein of the great Ben Aaronovitch.
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Funiest book i have read this year 2020 and i was glad of the laugh. Witty and laugh out loud funny from the outset. The charcters are incredibly well created and you'll soon fall in love with them all ( and yes, i mean them all! ). Fans of Pratchett, Gaimen, Aaronovich will be blown away with what is sure to be a sure fire hit. I can already see various companies battling over the options for TV ? Film rights. 

Solid Five Star Read!
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“Biscuits are never just biscuits. They send a message. Offering someone a rich tea is a slap in the face; a chocolate Hobnob is downright solicitous. You’ve got to strike the right balance.”
Hannah has left her marriage and her business class life split between London and Dubai. Rather than take a penny from her adulterous husband she moves to Manchester and sets about trying to find a job. The fancy furniture showroom falls through, but she notices a small website ad
“Publication seeks desparate human being with capability to form sentences using the English language. No imbeciles, optimists or Simons need apply.”

And so Hannah finds herself working for The Stranger Times, a niche publication that operates out of an old church and deals in the paranormal. Office manager Grace keeps the place running on threats and tea. Reporter Reggie threatens to throw himself out of the window before every editorial meeting. Ex-Fleet Street Editor Vincent manages to shoot himself in the foot with a blunderbuss and strangest of all is nearly-naked Manny who operates the printing press in the basement. A spate of deaths locally has a strong whiff of the weird, but as The Stranger Times comes closer to revealing the truth, the whole team comes under threat from a forces that they never even knew existed

This was an absolute ray of joyous bonkers sunshine. The plot zipped along, the dialogue was funny, the characters sharply drawn and there was a lot of biscuit talk which had me at Hobnob. If you enjoy the Rivers of London series from Ben Aaronovitch then this will be very much up your Strasse and there’s another book on its way!
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