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C K McDonnell: Books That Changed My Life

C K McDonnell: Books That Changed My Life

Current novelist and former stand-up comedian and TV writer, C K McDonnell, shares the texts that shaped him

The Truth by Terry Pratchett 

Picking just one Discworld novel has been a frankly tortuous process but after much gnashing of teeth, I’ve gone for this masterpiece.

"The Truth is that rarity of a book that works for people of all ages"

All of Pratchett’s work combines a deft comedic touch with a searing insight into the human condition and The Truth is him at the absolute peak of his powers, weaving his usual wit and wisdom with a beautifully stated case for the importance of a free press from a former journalist. I started reading him as a kid and his books have been a constant companion ever since. That rarity of a book that works for people of all ages. 

The Truth by Terry Pratchett

The Power of The Dog by Don Winslow 

This is a work of fiction that permanently changed my perspective on reality. First off, the Cartel trilogy that it begins is a brilliant sprawling narrative that ranks up there with The Godfather films as a masterpiece of storytelling.

"This is a work of fiction that permanently changed my perspective on reality"

It is also researched in such fine detail that it strips bare the fallacy of "the war on drugs" and makes you question everything you thought about it.

Finally, the writing—my god, the writing. There’s one scene in an earthquake that is the most visceral piece of prose I’ve ever read. Beyond stunning. 

The Power of The Dog by Don Winslow

Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre 

There are many people in publishing that will tell you that comedy and crime don’t mix—those people needed to get smacked upside the head with a copy of this book, preferably the hardback.

"Brookmyre’s irascible cutting wit acts as the perfect seasoning to a seat-of-your-pants thrill ride of a narrative"

Brookmyre’s irascible cutting wit acts as the perfect seasoning to a seat-of-your-pants thrill ride of a narrative that’ll have you staying up all night to finish it. Back when I had a proper job (well, I worked in IT, but still) a coworker noted how I was always off sick the day after a new Chris Brookmyre came out. Guilty, your honour.

Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre

C K McDonnel's new book Love Will Tear Us Apart (part of The Stranger Times series) is released on the February 9 (Bantam Press, £16.99)

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