How could a reader not love the name, Paddy Buckley? Paddy is all his name implies–he’s dependable, loyal. He’s a caring undertaker with a loyal, lovable group of Irish guy-friends. He lost his pregnant wife two years ago to a brain hemorrhage and is still grieving deeply. He is not sleeping, but sleepwalking through his life, trying to lose his grief in assuaging the grief of others through his work. Until he meets a beautiful widow with whom he makes an immediate and fateful connection. So begins a highly eventful week (the last four days) of his life, which include his entanglement with the most ruthless criminal family in Ireland.
This novel muses plenty about life and grief (big themes for me the last few years). Paddy’s adventures are creative and entertaining. The characters are interesting.
I was a bit wary with the novel’s start, a message from Paddy after his death that opens his retelling of his last four days. I was also, with all of the madcap craziness of those four days, a little (a little mind you) disappointed with the ending. It was a quick read, however, highly entertaining, and the places were well drawn, as were the characters. I’d love to have read more about the owner of the funeral parlor, Frank Gallagher, and sense another novel waiting for him. Massey, from a family of undertakers, includes many details about the processes about which many of us wonder, but are afraid to ask. These details add to the curiously attractive elements of this story. Also, a nod to the designer of the dust jacket. Well done.