Book Review: Fire And Brimstone - Bateman
Once again Bateman is on fire
Thriller Fire and Brimstone Bateman Headline, £14.99 Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350
Somewhere along the way Bateman, one of Northern Ireland's most ingenious thriller writers and creator of the hugely successful TV series Murphy's Law starring James Nesbitt, dropped his given Christian name Colin – in his own words it was "gone but not forgotten".
Certainly not forgotten either is his ability to bring alive the mean streets of post-Troubles Belfast in this fast-moving tale of a city rapidly spiralling back into chaos.
Central to the action of Fire and Brimstone, which is sub-titled Preachers, Prophets and a Gangster's Paradise, is former journalist turned private detective Dan Starkey.
Dan is asked by desperate billionaire media mogul Thomas Wolff to find his student daughter Alison who went missing nine months ago after a drug gang massacre at a party in a seedy part of the city. Has she been kidnapped or killed? No one knows, and Wolff will pay handsomely to get the answer. But Belfast's underworld has changed radically since Dan was a crime reporter.
Sectarian divides have been replaced by vicious and greedy drug lords who have created a series of gangs who defend their territories with a ruthlessness far exceeding that of the paramilitaries.
In response to the drug wars, a new church movement has sprung up, and now stands accused of the firebombing of a controversial abortion clinic.
Did they do it? It is another question Dan has to find an answer to as he wades in with his usual bull in a china shop approach to detecting. Both funny and violent, this is a cracking read.