Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Comedy of Northern Ireland, 29 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Cycle of Violence (Paperback)
I saw the film Divorcing Jack (based on a Bateman novel of the same name) many years ago, enjoyed it, then saw this in the store and bought it, and now, some 15 years or so later, I've finally got around to reading it. The good news is that my initial instinct was right -- I love comic fiction, and if it's dark comedy, so much the better. This book fits the bill nicely, with line after line of comic wordplay and nasty humor. Miller is a loose cannon of an investigative journalist who is banished from his Belfast gig after insulting his boss in a drunken tirade, and sent to work at a provincial arm of the paper in a tiny town called Crossmaheart (har har). Unfortunately for him, this being Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s, the town is crawling with IRA and Orangemen looking to off each other, as well as anyone who gets in the way. And one person who might have gotten in the way is Miller's predecessor, who has disappeared. But on the plus side of this banishment, there's the lovely and tempestuous barmaid Marie, with whom Miller quickly becomes besotten. However, since she was Milburn's girlfriend prior to his disappearance, the situation is a little tricky. And thus, darkly wacky antics ensue -- with a body count to rival your typical blockbuster thriller, along with plenty of laughs. Bateman is the kind of writer whose response to a tragic situation is to stare it in the face and point out how absurd it is by milking it for all the dark laughs he can get (the book includes probably the best Holocaust joke I've come across). Definitely worth reading if you like good wordplay and comic writing, and/or have an interest in Ireland.
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Reviewer

A. Ross
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Location: Washington, DC

Top Reviewer Ranking: 486