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Group Reads > September 2018 - A Man With One of Those Faces

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message 1: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Sometimes it pays to be average looking. At least Paul Muchrone has found that to be true. He's doing community service at a local hospice, pretending to be whomever the elderly patient mistakes him for, when he has a rather violent encounter with a cantankerous old man.

Hijinks and high crimes ensue.

If you're looking for a quirky, black comedy, join us for this month's read - A Man With One of Those Faces.


message 2: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Smith (oncewewerefiction) | 67 comments I'm not sure how many people are reading this but I am, and so far, so ugh (I am genuinely sorry that I seem to be hating too much of late). I'm only 10% in but God it's long and waffly and more cosy than noir. It's written smoothly, but in a stlye that's easy when the content is trivial, so my attention often drifts.

I was really excited to be reading a contemporary text but so far I'm disappointed.


message 3: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Geoff wrote: "I'm not sure how many people are reading this but I am, and so far, so ugh (I am genuinely sorry that I seem to be hating too much of late). I'm only 10% in but God it's long and waffly and more co..."

I'm close to the 40% mark, and not terribly impressed. There's some witty dialogue, but on the whole, I thought it would be funnier. To be fair, I'm reading it on my kindle at work, so maybe catching little snippets now and then is not the best way to go with this one.

I know one other member who's reading it, so we'll see what he has to say.


message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara (saraelizabeth11) | 49 comments I’m glad it isn’t just me... I’m about 30% in, and, similarly, the word I’d most use to describe it is “disappointing.” The youth/inexperience of the writer is showing too much, too often. Not sure I’ll make it to the end.


message 5: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
I keep thinking of those endless video games my kids play where they go on quests . . . quests that seem to involve a lot of walking around and talking to people.


message 6: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 204 comments I have to admit, i'm struggling to get into it, i'm not sure if it's because i'm worn out mentally or not inspired by the writing.


message 7: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Smith (oncewewerefiction) | 67 comments Sara wrote: "I’m glad it isn’t just me... I’m about 30% in, and, similarly, the word I’d most use to describe it is “disappointing.” The youth/inexperience of the writer is showing too much, too often. Not sure..."

If you give up on it, it'll make me feel less bad if I do.... can't figure out how this has got such good reviews.


message 8: by Sara (new)

Sara (saraelizabeth11) | 49 comments I never do this: I actually skipped to the end. All I can say is that I didn’t regret the 50% of the book that I didn’t read, and I can only think that all those good reviews came from the author’s friends. He must be a really nice guy.


message 9: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Smith (oncewewerefiction) | 67 comments I've decided to quit... just not enjoying the time I'm spending with it...yeah... I think some people just like this sort of thing. One of the reasons I love this reading group is that it's okay not to like stuff here.


message 10: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Ulp! Maybe we should have gone with the Brookmyre.


message 11: by Will (new)

Will Henson | 2 comments Hi all, my first contribution (and unfortunately not a positive one). But happy to discuss with those made it all the way through!

This book really didn't work for me. It often felt like a cheap imitation of Elmore Leonard, but whereas Leonard allowed his humor to organically develop through character and plot, McDonnell seemed to be obsessed with shoehorning his "brilliant" one-liners in chapter after chapter, often at the expense of pace, plot and character and often in what seemed like wholly inappropriate times.

Which brings me to biggest issue with the book: TONE. Writing cute little quips of dialogue in life-or-death situations sucks the tension and stakes out of a scene. Which can be fine if that's the intent and you are going for a straight comedy. But one, the work needs to be of clear comedic intent, and two, and more importantly, it needs to actually be funny. McDonnell is constantly shooting himself in the foot by writing scenes of murder, assassination, kidnapping and other grizzly crimes by littering the dialogue with painfully unfunny exchanges between characters, like some terrible mash up of Austin Powers and Casino Royale. The jokes themselves aren't half bad. But it's the situation. A joke may be great for a bachelor party but horrible at a wedding toast. McDonnell needs to learn that when it comes to his writing.

The characters were also quite weak in my opinion. The protagonist seemed deliberately uninteresting (bold strategy, Cotton) while everyone else was a *shuffle the deck* type of cliche (the tough but nurturing female love interest; the hot-tempered, plays-by-his-own-rules cop #1; the by the book, about to retire, "getting too old for this sh*t" cop #2, the apparent criminal mastermind antagonist who makes nonsensical decisions when we actually meet him, making us completely disbelieve how he became a criminal mastermind in the first place; the list goes on and on...).

I'll wrap it up by just pointing out the plot was extremely convoluted. To the point where I never really understood the stakes or what was motivating the characters (or if I did know their motivations, they seemed to be utterly unrealistic). Also, four epilogues? Really?

The author certainly has potential as I found his writing to be smooth with a good flow to it, if not particularly original. But there's no other way to put it, this book was tough to power through.


message 12: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Thanks for joining us, and sharing your thoughts, Will.

I'm sorely tempted to jump on the DID-NOT-FINISH train.

At least next month's read promises to be better . . .


message 13: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Well, at 45%, I'm throwing in the towel. I haven't picked it up in over a week, and while I don't actively hate the book, I just don't care enough to want to continue.


message 14: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 204 comments Laughing, i've just reached the 15% mark and still haven't decided which way I want to go....


message 15: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Lawrence wrote: "Laughing, i've just reached the 15% mark and still haven't decided which way I want to go...."

Get out! While you can! Bwa-ha-ha!


message 16: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 204 comments Running the white flag up the pole...

I think i'll go ahead and start reading Kentucky Straight which i'm really looking forward to. If I finish that quickly, I may pick up again A Man with One of those faces. Strangely, I think it still has potential.


message 17: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
In case we haven't convinced you to stay far away from this one, it's free today for Amazon Kindle.

Don't say we didn't warn ya!


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 443 comments Thanks. I got it & will try to get to it. A lot of books in the queue right now, though.


message 19: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 881 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Thanks. I got it & will try to get to it. A lot of books in the queue right now, though."

I wouldn't rush to get to this one.


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