Book Review | The Stranger Times by C K McDonnell

Title: The Stranger Times

Author: CK McDonnell

Publisher: Transworld

Release Date: 14th January 2021

Source: NetGalley

Buy: Amazon UK

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 auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little (and believes less) of the publication he edits, while his staff are a ragtag group of wastrels and misfits, each with their own secrets to hide and axes to grind. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who's got her own set of problems. 

It’s when tragedy strikes in Hannah’s first week on the job that The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious, proper, actual investigative journalism. What they discover leads them to a shocking realisation: that some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly, gruesomely real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker foes than they could ever have imagined. It’s one thing reporting on the unexplained and paranormal but it’s quite another being dragged into the battle between the forces of Good and Evil

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 another man making no effort what’s to talk him down.  Odd?  Definitely, but nowhere near as odd as what is inside.  

The building is the office of The Stranger Times, a newspaper dedicated to the weirder things in life.  Ghosts, Ghouls, Elvis, you name it, they’ll probably report it.  Hannah discovers an odd group of people headed up by the most impossible man known to life, Banecroft the editor.  Picture the most obnoxious person you can think off and then double it, you get the idea.  Her interview, however unorthodox ends up with her getting the job and the editor making a trip to the A & E, her career at The Stranger Times has begun.

Despite zero journalism knowledge she quickly gets stuck in and in the first week she experiences a a whole new world of craziness she never knew existed.  This includes a spate of strange murders, so strange they can’t possibly be true.....can they?  It’s up to the Stranger Times to report the news!

It’s bonkers, picture a blend of Jasper Fforde, Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch and you get the idea.  It’s funny, it’s scary and it’s a cracking read.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. You're the second book blogger that I've seen reading this one. I love the description makes me want to read it all the more. Netflix has an interesting Agatha Christie mystery and I took that in one sitting.

  2. I love the premise of this- sounds fun. :)

  3. Wow, this sounds like a book I'd love, thanks for sharing your review😁

  4. This sounds like such a fun read!

  5. Funny and scary is such a great combination. I love the sound of this one! Can't wait to read it. :D

  6. I like craziness, and if it's fun too... => TBR ^^

  7. It's always great to find a five star read!

  8. Oh, I see this was released recently. Quite the buzz over this book. "a blend of Jasper Fforde, Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch" -- you've convinced me to try it out. Thanks a ton!
    (Followed you over here from Cloak & Dagger 2021 challenge.)
    ~ Lex (

  9. Haha - I just reviewed this earlier this month and loved it too. Such a lot of fun. I loved the humour and there are so many possibilities yet to explore.
    Lynn :D


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