Title: The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley
Rating: 5 Stars
This one barely got the 5 stars because the ending was a slight cop-out (although totally understandable).
The main character, unsurprisingly enough, is named Paddy Buckley. He’s a career undertaker whose wife / unborn child died a couple of years ago. He’s in a fog of grief. He works to live and lives to work.
A couple of things bring this to a crashing end. He has a fling with a recent widow that dies during the act. He covers up for another funeral home’s mistake and nearly gets caught. These two things endanger his career.
Driving home, he accidentally runs over and kills a man, who turns out to be a mob boss’ brother. Buckley in turn must then arrange the funeral of the brother, while desperately hoping that he’s not discovered by the revenge obsessed mobster. This endangers his life.
And, oh yeah, he falls in love with the widow’s daughter, helping to clear his fog of grief.
All of that is a lot to take in. Unlikely as it sounds, Massey manages to pull it all off. Paddy Buckley is an immensely sympathetic character that you root for, even as you’re dreading the end of the book and all that its title implies. Vincent Cullen is your prototypical charming murderous criminal kingpin.
The book movies at a furious pace. This was one of those books where you quite literally stay up late reading just one more chapter.
For what it is, it’s one of the best examples of this genre that I’ve read in a very long time.
I see from the author bio that he’s a third generation undertaken from Dublin. This is his debut novel. I’m now morbidly curious what he will do for a follow-up. Is this the beginnings of a brand new sub-genre, the Irish undertaker organized crime thriller?