Published by Penguin on May 12th 2015
Genres: Black Humor, Crime, Fiction, General, Thrillers
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley, Riverhead Books
A dark and unexpected novel about a Dublin undertaker who finds himself on the wrong side of the Irish mob.
Paddy Buckley is a grieving widower who has worked for years for Gallagher’s, a long-established—some say the best—funeral home in Dublin. One night driving home after an unexpected encounter with a client, Paddy hits a pedestrian crossing the street. He pulls over and gets out of his car, intending to do the right thing. As he bends over to help the man, he recognizes him. It’s Donal Cullen, brother of one of the most notorious mobsters in Dublin. And he’s dead.
Shocked and scared, Paddy jumps back in his car and drives away before anyone notices what’s happened.
The next morning, the Cullen family calls Gallagher’s to oversee the funeral arrangements. Paddy, to his dismay, is given the task of meeting with the grieving Vincent Cullen, Dublin’s crime boss, and Cullen’s entourage. When events go awry, Paddy is plunged into an unexpected eddy of intrigue, deceit, and treachery.
By turns a thriller, a love story, and a black comedy of ill manners, The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley is a surprising, compulsively readable debut novel.
The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley follows a funeral director in Dublin. He is very popular as funeral directors go. On the way home one night he accidentally hits a pedestrian with his car and kills him. The man he hits end up being a big mobster, so he gets flees the scene. When the family calls on Paddy to handle the funeral, he can only hope no one will find out he is the one who did it. Paddy goes from living a nice quiet life to one of lies and deceit.
I enjoyed most of this story. Right away I knew I was in for a treat. In the beginning when Paddy is arranging a funeral for a grieving widow we really get a good look at the details involved in this macabre profession. It is not an easy career. He crosses the line with this particular widow and has sex with her, and she dies during coitus! As if that isn’t bad enough, the daughter walks in the house before the ambulance arrives, leaving Paddy scrambling. Paddy is in the wrong place at the wrong time throughout most of this story, poor guy!
I enjoyed this somewhat fictional look at what a funeral director does. I actually have a degree in funeral directing and embalming, and I can tell you with certainty that the author knows his stuff and wrote mostly facts about the business. If you can imagine being a widow and dealing with death for a living, then you can understand it needs some comic relief. Paddy was really in a bad place in this story, but his bad luck was almost funny.
The reason that I only give this 4 instead of 5 stars is that it is a comedy, but covers such dark subjects it was hard for me to laugh about it. I think most readers would agree that the way the first woman dies is awful, but the daughter’s reaction sucked all the funny out of this. The mobster family is really stereotypical in their actions. Paddy’s bravery in the end brings a somewhat oddly placed childhood story into the forefront and then it is suppose to all make sense. Too many coincidences for this to be a 5 star read, but highly entertaining in it’s delivery.
About the Author
Jeremy Massey is a third-generation undertaker who worked with his father for many years at the family firm in Dublin. A screenwriter by training, Massey has lived in London and Los Angeles. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Australia.