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Divorcing Jack: A Dan Starkey Mystery (Dan Starkey Mysteries)

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Northern Irish columnist Dan Starkey and American journalist Charles Parker are sent out to cover the upcoming elections, in which the charismatic, former victim of the war, Michael Brinn seems the obvious winner, campaigning on a platform of disarmament and peace between the warring factions in Northern Ireland. Absolutely loved the Mystery Man series, and was planning on delving into all the other books by Colin Bateman, but maybe I’ll save these for the kindle instead. Black romantic comedy set around the troubled "peace process" and its effect on a cynical Belfast hack. The way it is written is quite lighthearted and often very very funny, but the story is far from amusing, and I found it difficult to square the one with the other. I think Sean Duffy’s first involved a homosexual element in the IRA, and a rent boy: now that was unexpected – and the characters felt more complex, and real.

The ending is inevitable and almost predictable, yet it's the only proper ending this story could possibly have.The plot is set around the Northern Irish reporter Dan Starkey who gets entangled in a web of political intrigue and Irish sectarian violence, at the same time as Northern Ireland is set to elect a new Prime Minister.

American TV regular Richard Grant is lovely and believable as the visiting reporter from the US who came to cover the upcoming elections but is more interested in learning about the difference between the different types of scotch. I plan on reading all of Bateman's works so it was good to go back to the beginning to see how his style/voice evolves over time.

Dan Starkey cares for himself and makes excuses for nobody; and that makes him a protagonist you can relate to. This does not seem to be satisfactory for Keegan, but luckily for Starkey, he and his wife are saved in the last minute by Cooper, who storms in dressed as a nun wearing guns. Though tumultuous Irish history is key to this thriller, it is the characters that really made Divorcing Jack interesting for me.

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