review written and read live on the bookshow by Ro Bennett 13th Oct 2016
This is the first Colin Bateman story I have actually read. All the others have been audio books on the library One Click Audio service read by the excellent narrator Stephen Armstrong who has a lovely soft Irish accent which is a pleasure to listen to. A good narrator makes all the difference.
This book is called Shooting Sean and is the fourth Dan Starkey book.
Maverick movie star Sean O'Toole is a type cast action hero who has left the glamour of Hollywood to direct a film based on an infamous IRA member, a gangster named the Colonel. Local journalist Dan Starkey, has been employed to write his biography. It's a job that plunges Dan into the murky underbelly of the movie business, and from the backstreets of Belfast to the fleshpots of Amsterdam and the glitz of the Cannes Film Festival. Along the way a smouldering romance threatens the frequently rocky balance of his marriage to Patricia while he battles his way through kidnap, extortion and murder, and all of it liberally sprinkled with Hollywood gold dust.
This was another compelling read - a tense thriller full of twists and turns. It has all the elements that I tend to avoid - as well as the murder and kidnap element there is drowning, torture, drugs, explosions and the psychotic, cold, vicious cruelty of the Colonel. In many of his books, Bateman emphasises with contempt, the mindless violence and ruthlessness of the paramilitary organisations. Getting involved with the actor and the film soon lead to Starkey once again struggling to both protect his wife Patricia and her child Little Stevie. However despite the suspense there is also the cleverness and wit of Dan Starkey which kept me guessing and laughing out loud right to the end.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Colin Bateman’s books. His heroes are so flawed. The unnamed man who is the private eye in the Mystery Man series was totally neurotic and hilariously dysfunctional, his girl friend Alison’s patience stretched to the limit. And in this series, Dan Starkey also tends to blunder about making bad situations worse and is equally rubbish in his relationship with Patricia and her son - I kept thinking, ‘You are so useless Dan!’ but it kept me chuckling. At other times I was almost holding my breath wondering how on earth a situation could be resolved and hoping that it would not go horribly wrong.
I really recommend his books - both the audible and the hard copy. I thoroughly enjoy them - but I never read them at bedtime - far too scary!