9780006513797 / 0006513794

Divorcing Jack


Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd



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About the book:

In Colin Bateman's first novel, Divorcing Jack, a witty Belfast newspaper columnist named Dan Starkey gets drunk, falls in lust, and finds himself helplessly mired in trouble with his wife and the law. Shortly after Starkey's wife catches him in the arms of another woman, that woman is murdered and Starkey becomes the prime suspect. It turns out that the deceased woman was related to an important political figure, and now thugs from several of Northern Ireland's factions are out to get Starkey. The columnist decides he must track down the killer in order to clear his own name. During the investigation, he uncovers a scandal that could potentially alter the outcome of the next national election--and destroy the country's hopes for peace.

Mostly though, this thriller chronicles the beleaguered journalist's lame efforts to stay out of trouble. Starkey isn't exactly a man of action; in fact, he's a likeable character partly because he knows he's a weak man. Late in the book, Starkey sums up his predicament: "The world was still after me, Patricia was still missing, I was still a killer on the run, and I had a disturbing tendency to burst into tears, but I wasn't going to let little things like that get me down." He copes with stress by 1) drinking too much and 2) making jokes. When a nun in a miniature car saves Starkey from a hail of gunfire, for instance, he spends a few moments wondering what the proper name of her headgear is and decides to call it a Godpiece. Dan Starkey makes an entertaining guide to war-torn Northern Ireland, even while he discovers, time and again, that the pen is not mightier than the sword. --Jill Marquis

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