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The Stranger Times

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  908 ratings  ·  266 reviews
There are Dark Forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular) and so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them. A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but more often the weird) of modern life, it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable . . .

At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspic
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 14th 2021 by Bantam Press
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Miguelular Yes it most definitely can! It is hopefully the first in broader world but there isn't a B.S cliffhanger at the end.…moreYes it most definitely can! It is hopefully the first in broader world but there isn't a B.S cliffhanger at the end.(less)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  908 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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So…..clearly I need more supervision. Once again, I blew right past a stack of long suffering TBR’s & went for a bright & shiny new ARC. In my defence, it is the latest from Caimh McDonnell (don’t be fooled by that “C. K.” business). Just a heads-up for fans: we’re not in Dublin anymore.

Welcome to Manchester. And a whole new cast of colourful, odd, rude & entertaining characters. The prologue also signals a new genre. This is a mash-up of sci-fi, mystery, fantasy & mythology, served with a side
Sam Quixote
The Fortean Times and the National Enquirer are real newspapers in the same way that Dr Pepper is a real doctor. But while The Stranger Times may appear to be another such questionably-sourced publication, the news it reports - on subjects like vampires, werewolves, etc. - are all true. Hannah Willis becomes the latest in a string of Assistant Editors of The Stranger Times who figures this out shortly after starting - just in time to cover a dark magician’s infernal goings-on in the Manchester u ...more
May 13, 2020 added it
I got a sneak peak at a sampler for the first in a new series for this author, centred around a newspaper called The Stranger Times. From an article about a toilet in a pub that was possessed by the devil (hey, it could happen...):

"The commode, having previously spent nineteen years at the property providing the expected normal services has recently branched out into issuing ominous predictions, lifestyle advice and shortbread recipes".

Oh yeah. I'm in.

Whispering Stories
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed on

Hannah Willis has walked away from her London home and her marriage after hitting the point of no return with her husband’s numerous affairs, and the fact she burned down their house, by mistake.

Penniless she finds herself in Manchester and in need of a job, rapidly. Any paying job will do and that is what she gets when she applies for a job reporting for The Stranger Times newspaper which covers the weird and wonderful goings-on in the world. From haunt
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first in a new series, set around a newspaper which focuses on the paranormal , housed in an old church in Manchester. We meet the inhabitants of, “The Stranger Times,” through the eyes of Hannah Willis, who has walked away from an unhappy marriage with a wealthy man and now finds herself in the position of needing a job. This need is mirrored in the job description, “Publication seeks desperate human being with capability to form sentences, using the English language. No imbeciles, ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-reviews-2020
I'd like to start this off with a huge thank you to Netgalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and C.K McConnell.

‘Good meeting. Now, whose leg do I have to hump around here to get a cup of tea?’

This was hands down the funniest book I have read in a long time.
It has an absolute fantastic cast of eccentric characters.

‘Message one,’ came the electronic voice. ‘Hello, yes. This is . . . It doesn’t matter who I am. I want to keep my identity secret.
My next-door neighbour, he’s an alien. His a
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Stranger Times is one of those novels where you don’t know what to expect when you start, but you’re quickly pulled into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. An excellent cast of characters, an engaging and fast-paced plot and some proper humour made it even better. Utterly different to the authors usual writing, this change to urban fantasy is both a huge surprise and an excellent decision. Highly recommended for sure.
Ali Kennedy
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-pigeonhole
This book is the perfect antidote to the current strange times we live in!

The basic plot involves an eclectic collection of characters who work at a newspaper called The Stranger Times. This publication is unconventional in the sense that it focuses on the weird, wonderful, supernatural and magical tales.

The plot is great but the real joy in the book are the characters. There is such a range of people and they all have their own eccentricities, quirks and issues. Together they investigate some
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The premise of Caimh McDonnell’s novel caught my attention because as a teenager I discovered a UK magazine called The Fortean Times, which reported on ‘weird news’ (and still does as far as I know) and went to great trouble and expense to have it imported by my local newsagent for a year or two.

“Publication seeks desperate human being with capability to form sentences, using the English language. No imbeciles, optimists or Simons need apply.”

Similarly, the titular ‘The Stranger Times’ is a wee
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It is early in the year, being only Feb but I am calling it. This will be in my top 3 for the year

It was bananas. Batshit insane. Bonkers and totally hilarious. I loved everything about it, it was all told with such humor even the more horror bits. Interspersed throughout are newspaper clippings and one about a drunken Loch Ness monster had me cackling in the middle of a very quiet lunch room at work. SO awkward. I loved this so much it was a fantastic, fun and very weird read and I wish the se
A very entertaining and witty novel with some excellent characters - I really liked the main character Hannah and I loved the excerpts from this strange Manchester paper! But while I was entertained and amused by this band of misfits with their disgusting, irritating boss whose career has taken a nose dive, I couldn't help feeling that it was all very familiar - characters I'd met before, relationships I'd encountered before. It's all very Mick Herron, in my opinion, and the magic elements feel ...more
Nick Brett
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Mairead Hearne (
The Stranger Times is the first book from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell and will be published with Bantam Press (Transworld/Penguin) January 14th 2021. It is described as a book that ‘combines his (C.K. McDonnell) distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction.’ Many of you will already know that I am a fan of Caimh’s writing having read all of his previously published novels in both ...more
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
“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 despar
ahaana ☽
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, fantasy
Disclaimer: This is not the complete review!! You can read the full review over on my blog:

What I liked
The characters and their relationships. Each of the characters were all so well-defined and had beautiful relationships with one another. Even Banecroft, who we all saw as a moody grouch, had an emotional past, and though he didn’t show it, we know he still cared about Simon, Hannah, and everyone around him. I love the bonds between each of the characte
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please find my review for The Stranger Times by C K McDonnell. ...more
Steph Warren
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Transworld Books – Random House UK and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

This is going to be a really hard review to write. Mainly because my notes for this consist mainly of words like ‘fantastic’ and ‘bloody brilliant’, held together by abundant swathes of exclamation marks. I might as well have just drawn a big smiley face and left it at that!

Briefly attempting coherence: The Stranger Times is a humoro
Veronika Jordan
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit like Terry Pratchett meets The Fortean Times, this book is at times hilarious and at times too crazy for words. To be honest I prefer the parts about the newspaper and its eccentric employees to the forces of evil as I am not really into fantasy (apart from His Dark Materials). The banter in the office though, with newcomer Hannah who left her philandering husband and burnt their house down in the process, receptionist Grace, runaway Stella, and features writers Reggie and Ox is the best p ...more
Don Jimmy Reviews
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing

The Stranger Times is the first book by C.K. McDonnell – but let there be no secrets here, C.K. McDonnell is a pen name for Caimh McDonnell. This is the first “traditionally published” book by the author. It is also very different to the books he has written previously (which, if you have been following my reviews for any length of time you will know I am a massive fan of).

The Stranger Times is an urban fantasy novel set in Manchester. It combines Caimh’s
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having already made a name for himself as one of the funniest crime writers around, the artist formerly known as Caimh McDonnell has set sail in a new direction.
Switching to the fittingly enigmatic C.K. McDonnell, we find ourself in a strange new world that is at once familiar (Manchester) and bizarre (satanic toilets).
And in creating a new range of characters and events, the hairy Irish genius has produced his best work to date.
Set on a niche newspaper (no, not that sort), we find Hannah, Gra
Lora Milton
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, humor
The first chapter of this one info dumped a lot of back story and really should have started from the end of chapter one, but it was interesting when it got going from that point.

Hannah Willis goes to the newspaper office for The Stranger Times, which reports on the weird and wonderful. What she doesn't expect is a ragtag bunch of characters who run the paper. Her interview had me howling with laughter and sure I was really going to like this book. Just calling the phrase 'vegetarian meal' an ox
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After the strange year we've all just experienced this is just the book to lift your spirits. I have to say it is completely bonkers at times but made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. Full of weird and wonderful characters with some fantasy and magic too. What's not to like. I loved it and look forward to the sequel. ...more
Aug 18, 2020 marked it as dnf
Not for me, but I can see other people enjoying this.
Noemi Proietti
This is an unusual read, I will tell you that. Hannah Willis is famous for having burned down her house in a revenge act against her cheating husband. Now, after a public divorce and homeless and moneyless, she needs a job and she applies for the position of assistant editor for The Stranger Times a newspaper dedicated to weird and inexplicable facts. Her boss is quite a character – he shoots himself in the foot during her job interview – and her colleagues can be considered normal either. For m ...more
Catherine Rickard
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book with The Pigeonhole today and a loved every single minute! The story is wonderfully written with a unique plot and a fascinating cast of funny, intriguing, endearing characters. This book had me laughing out loud so often , it was honestly hilarious at times and the perfect antidote to the difficult year this has been. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!
This book was just what I needed - in fact I think it’s what we all need at the moment! It’s hilarious, the laughs come thick and fast, but it’s not a series of puns with no storyline. Far from it. We get to really know these characters: their faults, their goodness and willingness to help one another. Vincent Bancroft, the editor, is a particularly prickly character. He seems to have no redeeming qualities: he’s verbally abusive, a drunk - and he smells. But when the chips are down, he comes up ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hannah is down on her luck, her husband cheated on her and her life is falling apart. She finds herself no longer living in the lap of luxury and for once having to fend for herself. She needs a job quickly.

After an unsuccessful interview she finds an ad looking basically for someone who can string a sentence together coherently, fed up she decides to go for it and when she arrives at the location of the job in Manchester she is met with a man threatening to throw himself of a building and an an
Dec 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 2020
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – as always, thanks so much to Netgalley for sending this to me!

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write, largely because I had such a strange experience with this book. ‘Mixed feelings’ is an understatement.

The Stranger Times follows Hannah, a soon-to-be-divorcee, former spoiled heiress who’s trying to make it on her own for the first time and looking for her first real job. In doing
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Paul Sparks
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is funny, it has been a long time since I really laughed whilst reading and I would like to thank the author for giving me those spontaneous moments (although my wife now thinks I need placing in care as I am obviously senile) it is reminiscent of terry practhett at his best, I’m not going to bore you with a synopsis or a critique of this book just know it is very good and so funny 😂😂 highly enjoyable and highly recommended
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