Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Summer Savings Up to 25% Off Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Listen in Prime Shop now Learn more

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars35
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 21 December 2011
I don't understand how Bateman is not more famous - his books are fantastic - a mixture of thriller and comedy. This latest one is no exception. I laughed out loud at times but then wondered how I could laugh at such hard-hitting material. I get very frustrated at Starkey his main character and sympathise totally with his (sort of) estranged wife. I'm now waiting for his next book.
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 October 2011
Once again Bateman delivers the goods. Dan Starkey, international man of inaction, returns for another mad-capped adventure that will have you guffawing like a legless teenager. Brilliant.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 January 2013
I was delighted to see a return to Belfast for Bateman and in the best company Dan Starkey . I have been a fan of Bateman ( or as I knew him back then Colin Bateman) since his first outing with Dan Starkey in Divorcing Jack. This book is as witty as any thing I have ever read by Bateman. Dan Starkey is asked by an old colleague , now a radio shock-jock to look into the kidnapping of his son. To tell any more is to risk accusations of spoiling. I can reveal there are is a butcher, a bar maid , some brothers. It is Belfast post troubles there is murder, drugs , former terrorists , humour , swings at Northern Irish institutions overt and sideways. It is all great and I enjoyed it all.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 October 2011
Really enjoyed this. Beautifully crafted witty prose. Great to have another Dan Starkey novel. Sad I finished it so soon.
11 comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 November 2011
Another cracker from Bateman. A joy from start to finish. He's the Roddy Doyle of the North. Can't wait for the next one.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2011
Murder, intimidation, punishment shootings and turf wars between loyalist paramilitary groups in West Belfast - all in a day's work for Dan Starkey, former investigative journalist, now ...well, since he hasn't got a job and is still poking around in other people's business, you'd probably just call him a nosy busybody. And seemingly not the brightest one, come to that, sticking his nose into the affairs of some of the deadliest thugs on the Shankill Road, the kind of people for whom the Peace Process probably means something relating to the manufacturing of bread... (you can use that one in the next book, Colin).

You'd also have to be a bit daft as a writer, or else just not care who you upset, to thinly disguise local Northern Ireland celebrities, including a shock-jock radio presenter and a husband and wife political unit, mix them up with paramilitary activities, dodgy property dealings and show them so detached from reality that there's sure to be some unpleasant skeletons lying around in their closets. And he's not just having a go at local celebrities and politicians or the Malone Road contingent (fair game though they are). Most people wouldn't think kneecapping, punishment beatings, paramilitary intimidation and the Shankill Butchers are subjects to have a laugh about either (or making cracks about "Paramilitary Paralympics"), but Nine Inches just goes to show you how wrong you can be.

A little bit of local knowledge will undoubtedly aid appreciation of some of the in-jokes, but Dan Starkey's attitude and wit should still be evident to everyone, particularly men of a certain age, as should the sheer originality of the unique spin on Private Investigator crime fiction that Bateman is able to derive from the Northern Irish situation. It's a very unusual place to set a crime novel, and the crime is definitely not of the conventional kind - or perhaps, deep down, it really isn't any different from anywhere else. Recognising that fact, Bateman is able to see the funny side of things that one shouldn't really laugh about (black humour certainly, and consequently not to everyone's taste), and somehow manage it make it exceedingly funny without actually making light of the situation. Nine Inches is hilarious and Bateman just keeps getting better.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 May 2015
Dan Starkey has some bad habits:
He drinks.
He philanders.
He's lazy.
He still listens to 1970s~80s 'punk' music.
He's argumentative.
Not to mention reckless and irresponsible.
But worst of all, he's a smart arse who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Which maybe wouldn't be so bad if he didn't write a political satire column for a Northern Irish newspaper... And not only that, but so damned good at it, that it made him a danger to himself and everyone around him in a 10 mile radius!

Fortunately though, after nearly being killed countless times by gangsters, the clergy, the IRA, the UVF, and the Ulster Constabulary for causing several, almost catastrophic, National and International incidents (see the first 7 books in the series!), he's decided to pack it all in and become a, well, a 'bespoke' private detective..

Trish, his long suffering wife has once again kicked him out (not that it stops Dan pestering her).. and penniless, the self proclaimed 'International Man of In-action' is left to drown his sorrows, with his old mate.. the pub.

That is until out of the blue he is approached by Jack Caramac, an ex~journalist colleague, turned radio shock~jock. Who it appears has taken up Dan's mantle of being the man unable to keep his trap shut; that just about every paramilitary in the province wants to give a damn good kicking (see also: kneecapping) too.
Soon it transpires Caramac's 5yr old son has been kidnapped and then returned, with a threat in his coat pocket instructing Caramac to keep his opinions to himself from now on... and fully aware of how good at digging up dirt Dan was when he was a journalist, Caramac employs him to find out who's behind the threats..

Of course Dan takes the case (after all he's practically down to his last pint of Harp!), and is once again plunged into a dangerous pond of corruption, drugs and paramilitary violence.. Only this time with the added bonus of having to babysit a one legged, teenage gobshyte ~ who just happens to be being hunted by every dangerous head case from off of Shankill Road...

I first came across the Dan Starkey novels in the mid 1990s when Bateman's debut novel (and first Dan Starkey novel), Divorcing Jack, came out.
From there I eagerly read them whenever they hit the shelves, that was until a few years ago, when for some reason I just stopped. I dunno why, maybe it's because he became too mainstream, either way, I just did.
Anyway to cut a long story short, recently I decided it was time to get back on the horse and read some more Starkey..

So suddenly there I was this morning, with Nine Inches in my hand.. Oo err.
And I'm happy to say, unlike myself.... Bateman's lost none of his wit!

The story is largely a detective comedy - with dark leanings, pepped up with odd moments of brutal violence. The chapters are short and filled with humorous dialogue, which I have to say made me laugh out loud on several occasions. With the characters both likeable and... err... colourful. Characters who sometimes even border on the outrageous, whilst at the same time displaying an often dangerous edge to them, that keeps them eminently believable.. Like caricatures of real life people Bateman has either met, or more likely read about on the scarred front pages of the Belfast Telegraph.

Personally, although the plots aren't overly brilliant, I can't recommend these highly enough, particularly if you're aged between 35~55, as you will no doubt identify immediately with Dan Starkey, the series' anti~hero.
With the author's constant references to music, movies and other popular culture from the 70s and 80s also a major draw for me.

Although not the best Starkey novel (I'd just start with Divorcing Jack and go from there), Nine Inches is still a very entertaining tale nonetheless.

400ish pages.

4/5
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 March 2015
The very best writers don’t rely on just one character throughout their entire career, simply because it means that if the character goes a little stale, you have nowhere to go. Better to be an Agatha Christie and have two or three avenues to follow should you grow bored of writing about an inquisitive pensioner or a European PI. Colin Bateman is a brilliant writer who produces standalone novels and character books. For a few years he concentrated on his new Mystery Man character, but by book three things were getting a little stale. Enter Dan Starkey once more to cleanse the palette and remind fans why this author is one of the best.

It’s been several years since we last saw Starkey and in his normal fashion he has managed to destroy all the goodwill he gained when editing ‘Belfast Confidential’. Now he is a somewhat PI with no clients and no money. So, when a rich former friend turns up with a case, Dan is the Man without a plan (but a desperate need for cash). This being Starkey, a simple case turns into one of murder, mayhem and a missing legs.

‘Nine Inches’ is a great reminder to fans of Bateman of why the author is so good and he should not be underestimated. The book is effortlessly funny, but is also scary at times as there is real violence on show. You never know in Bateman’s books who will live or die; he is not adverse to a shock or two. ‘Nine’ is set in the modern Northern Ireland, but many of the old problems still exist. It is wonderful to see Starkey butting heads with gangsters and politicians alike to get to a truth that no one really cares about anymore.

Creating an anti-hero like Starkey is no easy task – I have read so many and few succeed. Dan is unlikable, a cheat, a stirrer and pretty charmless at times. However, he is also very funny and says some of the things most people wish they had the stones to say. With laugh out loud moments, real heart and some genuine thrills; ‘Nine Inches’ is a welcome return for Dan Starkey and one of Bateman’s best (and this is an author who has been writing great crime fiction for 20 years)

Sammy Recommendation
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 March 2015
The very best writers don’t rely on just one character throughout their entire career, simply because it means that if the character goes a little stale, you have nowhere to go. Better to be an Agatha Christie and have two or three avenues to follow should you grow bored of writing about an inquisitive pensioner or a European PI. Colin Bateman is a brilliant writer who produces standalone novels and character books. For a few years he concentrated on his new Mystery Man character, but by book three things were getting a little stale. Enter Dan Starkey once more to cleanse the palette and remind fans why this author is one of the best.

It’s been several years since we last saw Starkey and in his normal fashion he has managed to destroy all the goodwill he gained when editing ‘Belfast Confidential’. Now he is a somewhat PI with no clients and no money. So, when a rich former friend turns up with a case, Dan is the Man without a plan (but a desperate need for cash). This being Starkey, a simple case turns into one of murder, mayhem and a missing legs.

‘Nine Inches’ is a great reminder to fans of Bateman of why the author is so good and he should not be underestimated. The book is effortlessly funny, but is also scary at times as there is real violence on show. You never know in Bateman’s books who will live or die; he is not adverse to a shock or two. ‘Nine’ is set in the modern Northern Ireland, but many of the old problems still exist. It is wonderful to see Starkey butting heads with gangsters and politicians alike to get to a truth that no one really cares about anymore.

Creating an anti-hero like Starkey is no easy task – I have read so many and few succeed. Dan is unlikable, a cheat, a stirrer and pretty charmless at times. However, he is also very funny and says some of the things most people wish they had the stones to say. With laugh out loud moments, real heart and some genuine thrills; ‘Nine Inches’ is a welcome return for Dan Starkey and one of Bateman’s best (and this is an author who has been writing great crime fiction for 20 years)

Sammy Recommendation
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 October 2013
After being left on the subs bench for six years while Bateman worked on the Mystery Man series and copious other projects, Dan Starkey is once again called up to the big leagues in Nine Inches. During the intervening period, Starkey had spent much of the time living the high life that came with his acquisition of Belfast Confidential [the crusading news/vacuous celebrity magazine] and being generally faithful his long-suffering wife Patricia, but of course this good fortune didn't last. Once again down on his luck and out on his ear, Starkey has turned his back on journalism and established himself as offering "a boutique bespoke service for important people with difficult problems." Well, established in the sense that he has at least rented premises anyway.

Starkey's first client turns out to be Jack Caramac, noted/irritating Belfast talk radio personality and his one-time journalistic compatriot. Jack's four-year-old son had been kidnapped, held for approximately an hour, and then returned with a note in his pocket urging Jack to "Shut the f**k up." Unfortunately for Starkey, there are more than a few people who might want Jack Caramac to shut up and, as his investigation progresses, he finds himself having to fend off more butchers, barmaids, paramilitaries, teen thugs and glamorous politicians than you can shake an artificial limb at.

Nine Inches is another excellent, darkly humorous crime novel from Bateman. The Dan Starkey books are perhaps a little less surreal than the Mystery Man series but they are just as funny and also offer a different take on life in post-Troubles Belfast. Dan Starkey is a man with connections to folk from all strands of Belfast society and, being unafraid of ruffling even well-armed feathers, he lurches from one ridiculously dangerous situation to the next as he searches for an explanation for the Caramac kidnapping. While Starkey couldn't really be described as a likable character in the most obvious sense - he has foibles upon foibles after all - he is certainly charismatic and a great deal of fun to observe.

Nine Inches is a well-paced and intricately plotted crime novel. Bateman has here come up with another complex mystery for Dan Starkey to unravel between booze breaks and romantic assignations. Since most of the good guys are also at least somewhat bad guys, there are plenty of villains for Starkey to tangle with and Belfast, despite what the tourist brochures might say, is still absolutely riddled with intrigue. Like all of Bateman's books, the dialogue in Nine Inches is great. There are plenty of jokes and witty one-liners from Starkey and his exchanges with Bobby Murray and with the guys at Malone Security are particularly good. As well as the humour though, there is plenty of violence, sectarian and otherwise, in Nine Inches and the story is actually rather emotional and melancholy in places. Even Starkey himself manages to sober up and keep his sarcastic trap shut long enough to be involved in a couple of tender moments.

Overall, Nine Inches is another excellent crime novel from Bateman, involving plenty of action, intrigue, mystery and downright bonkers characters. You don't need to have read the previous Dan Starkey books in order to enjoy Nine Inches as each of the stories stand alone, but the series is so good that it's worth picking them all up if you get the chance.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.