Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Review of The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley by Jeremy Massey (2015, Riverhead Books)
In this debut novel, Jeremy Massey tells a farce about an undertaker who has the task of arranging two funerals for people whom he has accidentally killed. Beyond what the law might think, the catch with one is that he is falling in love with the victim’s daughter, the catch with the other is that the victim is the brother of the head of a major Dublin criminal gang. Just as Paddy Buckley is given the hope of a new relationship after mourning the death of this pregnant wife, the ground is pulled from under him and it looks like it might be a struggle to survive the week. The tale is quite nicely told, with Massey carefully arranging the setup, and then spinning out the aftermath as Buckley tries to manage the fallout. However, while it’s entertaining enough, the plotting felt a little over-contrived, the telling felt a little flat, lacking both tension and humour, and I didn’t really connect with the Buckley as a character. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the book, just that I wasn’t bowled over by it. Overall, a story with a really great hook that didn’t quite live up to its promise, but nonetheless was an interesting read.