Books by Colin Bateman

BRING ME THE HEAD OF OLIVER PLUNKETT by Colin Bateman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 11, 2005

Eddie and his no name gang are back again to seek a valuable relic—a saint's head—stolen from an Irish church and hidden somewhere on the property of Scarface Cutler, the most violent criminal in Belfast. This fast-paced improbable adventure features breaking and entering, gang warfare, a scheming bishop, several explosions, capture and threatened death, as well as a mummified head that might just work miracles. New readers may be surprised by the casual violence of Irish schools and streets, but will quickly warm to Eddie who, like many middle-school boys, would love to be a leader—but who will follow? Readers who enjoyed Running with the Reservoir Pups (2005) will be pleased to re-encounter Mo, the girl who leads the Andytown Albinos, and entertained by new characters: Pat, a runaway from an Irish orphanage, and Ivan, Cutler's bullying blind son. A good choice for reluctant readers, but easier if they begin with the first in the series. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
RUNNING WITH THE RESERVOIR PUPS by Colin Bateman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 11, 2005

Eddie's normal life takes a sudden veer into the complete pits when his mother announces they're not only moving, but a divorce means Dad is going elsewhere. Going from the calm small-town life to the gang-infested urban apartment on the hospital grounds where his mother works leaves Eddie with too much time on his hands and too few options. Trying to explore only seems to get him into more trouble with security and the gang that claims the area as part of their territory. The fast-paced plot gradually moves the reader from recognizable reality into a neverland of impossible characters and larger-than-life evildoers as Eddie becomes involved in rescuing a dozen babies stolen in a kidnapping gone wrong. The connections created along the way create an oddball crew of partners enabling the author to hint at further episodes for "Eddie and the Gang with No Name." For the lovers of nonstop action and understated British humor, this will be a satisfying page-turner. Unpretentiously unpredictable. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
OF WEE SWEETIE MICE AND MEN by Colin Bateman
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 1997

Knockabout journalist Dan Starkey leaves the mean streets of Belfast for a season of even more violent insanity in the world of professional boxing. Meet Bobby ``Fat Boy'' McMaster, the heavyweight champ of Ireland. Haven't heard of him? That's just the reason Bobby's mentor, Geordie McClean, needs to hire Starkey to do public relations for Bobby's upcoming world championship bout with Mike Tyson (!) and write a book about it all after the champ's given Bobby, a wee sweetie who reads novels and has a sly sense of humor, a decent burial in New York. It looks like a great chance for Starkey to make some money and get out of the war zone he covered so hilariously in Divorcing Jack (1995) while enjoying a much-needed second honeymoon with his estranged wife Patricia. But Patricia, pregnant by her married lover, isn't about to book passage for the New World, so Starkey packs a few clean shirts and takes off with Bobby's entourage for the Big Apple, where Bobby will run rings around Tyson in a joint press conference and immediately incur the wrath of the Sons of Muhammed, a splinter group as violent as the Provos but a lot more inept. Then Bobby's wife Mary is kidnapped, presumably by the Sons of Muhammed, and Starkey is dragged into the fray by two heavyweight ex-NYPD detectives who dwarf even the Fat Boy. But how can Starkey really be sure that it's the Sons who are behind the snatch, when Bobby, training in Provincetown, has also managed to antagonize the gay community, the IRA, and the ferocious sparring partner who keeps threatening to end his career before he even makes it into the ring with Tyson? More relaxed and less wildly funny than Divorcing Jack or Cycle of Violence (1996)—but then that's what you'd expect when the brutality is only a game. Read full book review >
CYCLE OF VIOLENCE by Colin Bateman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

Exiled to darkest Crossmaheart after a spectacular drunk, Miller, a Belfast reporter who has his own weekly column but keeps his first name secret, falls in with waitress Marie Young, falls in love with her, falls into her bed. But chastely, since Marie's still traumatized from her childhood rape by three young bloods who've long since paid for the crime and been forgotten. Miller, not the most patient or disinterested sexual therapist in the world, finds his job horrendously complicated by the fate of Marie's last lover, Jamie Milburn, his predecessor on the Crossmaheart Chronicle. Jamie hasn't been seen lately, unless you count his head, glimpsed in a fox's mouth. This last discovery is all too much for Marie, who goes off her medication and takes a powder instead. Miller, with nothing better to do, tracks down her three assaulters and has brief, informal exchanges with each of them—exchanges that the police get very interested in when all three turn up dead. Dogged by his reputation as the Angel of Death, Miller keeps digging into the case, as if anything he could do would make a difference to Marie, until he finally digs too deep. Less manic—except for its luckless heroine—than Bateman's blackly comic debut, Divorcing Jack (1995). But Bateman and his hero both pay a high price for the few sweet, funny moments they wring out of this vale of tears. Read full book review >
DIVORCING JACK by Colin Bateman
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

Here's what happens as a result of Belfast columnist Dan Starkey's oh-so-brief dalliance with Margaret McBride, whose ``eyes were close together, but not so close as to suggest Catholicism'': Dan's tax-inspector wife Patricia catches the pair together and throws Dan out. Margaret McBride and her mother both get killed. The police go a-hunting for Dan. Dan goes a-hunting for an audiotape worth ú100,000. Dan's brief acquaintance with Mark Brinn, the Alliance Party candidate for Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, takes an unexpectedly nasty turn. Dan meets a trainee nurse prowling the city dressed as a nun, and then a priest whose life has been ruined by his recent heart transplant. Dan falls in with Cow Pat Coogan, Mad Dog Angus, and several other unsavory types who want the audiotape. Patricia gets kidnapped, and sleeps with her captor. A visiting American journalist whom Dan has been escorting around the city makes an abrupt exit from the scene. Dan drinks a little less than usual and says some very funny things. Several bombs go off. There's nothing special about the story this novel unfolds, but Bateman, himself a Belfast journalist (did you guess?), has struck gold the first time out with his mordant, loquacious hero and his ruined landscape. The promised sequel can't arrive too soon. Read full book review >