This Charming Man by C.K. McDonnell

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.

I will start this by admitting that I requested this book on Netgalley without realising it was the second in a series (no ones fault but mine, it did say that I just wasn’t paying attention!) That said I had no problems at all jumping in to the story at this point. Anything I needed to know from book one was nicely slotted in, in a perfect way to keep me up to speed without too much detail if you had done the sensible thing and read book 1 first!

I enjoyed the irreverent tone of the writing and the sheer off the wall nature of the story. To enjoy this one I think you have to suspend disbelief a little bit – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The characters were well written and likeable – Hannah  was our gateway into the rather odd world of the Stranger Times Newspaper offices, almost everyone else working there had some sort of supernatural connection or are otherwise not what you expect in the everyday.

I loved how all these oddballs pulled together to work as a team, how they had each others backs when it really mattered.

The vampire element of the story was excellently done, we had both traditional vampire behaviour and a mystery to solve as to how they suddenly out of no where started to exist (when everyone agreed that they shouldn’t actually – even Cogs – a fascinating character who I think was my favourite, and he can’t tell a lie.

A romp of a read that was definitely enjoyable.

With thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK for a copy in exchange for honest review.