Disaster Inc., by Caimh McDonnell

Six stars

My choice of Caimh McDonnell’s book was made in a somewhat blind manner. Choosing the book entirely based on its cover, I had no idea what to expect or how I would enjoy the piece. To say that the book was a surprise is an understatement, though it is perhaps this lack of knowledge that made the reading all the more adventurous. When Bunny McGarry walks into a rural diner, he has little idea what to expect. Besides being without tea—a shock that resonates throughout the piece—this small eatery is filled with an interesting cross-section of folks. The peaceful nature is shattered when two masked men enter and begin waving around their guns. While Bunny tries to diffuse the situation, these men are on a mission, which is derailed when Bunny takes things into his own hands. Fleeing before the cops can make their way to the scene, he is approached by one of the diners who is willing to aid in his escape. Amy Daniels admits that she was the one those men sought, having become tangled in their web not too long before. Amy holds a secret about them that could cause many issues and her life is likely in jeopardy in order to protect the men. While Bunny and Amy try to stay off the radar, there is fallout from the botched attack at the diner. The two men are part of an investment firm that has been helping a number of former government bureaucrats pad their retirement nest eggs in some less than savoury ways. Dubbing themselves Disaster Inc. they are being controlled by a woman who seeks to keep her secret from making it to the authorities, willing to expose and exterminate anyone in her way. In order to stay away from her potential captors, Amy agrees to help Bunny trace his whereabouts leading up to arriving at the diner, on one of his benders that saw his traipsing all across New York City. Amy’s eyes are opened to all the antics that Bunny McGarry can undertake in a single night, which serves only to distract her from her larger issues. An interesting story for some, but I could not find myself latching on, no matter what McDonnell had to offer. There are apparently other branch-off books in a parallel series, which may interest fans, but I think this is one surprise that is not sitting well with me.

The trouble with walking into a story blindly is that you never know what you’ll get. I have found some winners and a couple of real hot messes in my reading gambles. This one veers closer to the latter category for me, though I am sure others will lap it up and laud McDonnell’s work. I found that the Bunny McGarry character had some interesting Irish tendencies and his humour was top-notch, but I could not see myself overly drawn to what he did while meandering from A to B within the chapters of this book. His full backstory and development is likely better understood by latching onto the series McDonnell has written, but in this case, a drunk Irishman who has muscles and a decent brain did little for me. Amy Daniels was also one of those characters you either loved or hated. I suppose I can sit on the fence and feel tepid about her, though she’s one that made little impact on me. The others found their way into the story and served a purpose, but did little for me, as I begged for a strong narrative to capture my attention. I was not driven to utter literary frustration with the book, but just could not find anything exciting or stimulating to keep me attracted. I skimmed at times, seeking something, but found little that kept me wanting to thoroughly examine the plot as it developed. McDonnell can surely write and keep the story moving, but I found little of interest. Aptly titled, it was a disaster and one that I’ll remember. Blind reading can be troublesome, especially for someone who has such strong sentiments about the books I place before me. Still, it was an excellent way to push me out of my rigid reading rules. I’d do it again, though I am not sure I want to spend more time with Bunny McGarry and his band of merry drinkers.

Kudos, Mr. McDonnell, for what is surely a wonderful addition to your writing repertoire. I just could not find my niche in it.

This book fulfills Topic #2: Reading Blind in the Equinox #5 Reading Challenge. Thank you, Adrea Pierce, for the topic choice.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons