Author Vee James gifted me this book and a tip of the hat to him. THE MAN WITH ONE OF THOSE FACES is the first book in McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy about the very funny, yet seriously intriguing misadventures of Paul Mulchrone, Brigit Conroy, and Garda detective Bernard “Bunny” McGarry.

The Man With One of those Faces


Don’t worry if you have never been to Dublin, because by the end of all of the books, you will be intimate with the city and its people, plus the law enforcement powers and politics of the Garda, the national police agency. The unique sport of hurling. Shopping on Grafton and Carroll. The restorative powers of Irish whiskey and Guinness beer.

hurley stick

Find out more about the Irish sport of hurley on wikipedia

I was in Dublin awhile back–long before travel became virtual–and McDonnell captures the city’s essence. It’s The Commitments, but with less music and better characters.

Get in the mood for my book review with a few scenes of this scrappy Irish city. I didn’t take them, although I wish I did!

Dublin photo by Andrea Leopardi,

Dublin photo by Andrea Leopardi,courtesy of Unsplash

Dublin photo by Lucas Swinden,

Dublin photo by Lucas Swinden courtesy of Unsplash

Guinness warehouse by Tavis Beck, courtesy Unsplash

Guinness warehouse by Tavis Beck, courtesy Unsplash


Ready? Step up to the bar and drink deeply of this terrific book series.


Paul had a rough start in life. He was orphaned at a young age, and his only stability was the hurling club presided over by Bunny McGarry, the larger-than-life cop with his own way of meting out justice. Now an adult, Paul is trapped by a will awarding him a subsistence stipend as long as he does charity work.

He regularly visits a nursing home to fulfill the requirements. One day a resident mistakes Paul for someone else and tries to kill him before dying of shock. When the dead man is found to be a gangster thought to be long dead, Paul and Brigit, a nurse, are targeted by the gangster’s old enemies. Bunny McGarry, who has a soft spot for Paul from hurling club days, steps in, along with a few local mobsters.

The plots of all the books in the DUBLIN TRILOGY series connect from one book to the next. The mix of white knights and black sheep throws gray shadows on many of the characters while relationships develop in smart and clever ways.


The real charm of this series lies with dialogue and descriptions, both of which evoke some real laugh-out-loud moments. There’s a line about anybody who could “cut two holes in a tea cozy thought he was John Dillinger” that still makes me laugh at odd moments.

THE DAY THAT NEVER COMES and LAST ORDERS are the next two books in the trilogy. ANGELS IN THE MOONLIGHT is a prequel that is nonetheless listed on Amazon as #3 in the 4-volume set. The numbering is just one of the quirks of this charming, funny, and breathlessly paced series.

Highly recommended.


PS: If you have never seen the film The Commitments, about the rise and fall of a club band in Dublin, you can watch it on Amazon’s Prime Video. 


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Dublin Trilogy


Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.


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