Bateman, Colin 1962–

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Bateman, Colin 1962–

Personal

Born June, 1962, in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland; married; wife's name Andrea. Education: Attended Oxford University.

Addresses

Home—Bangor, Northern Ireland. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Hodder Headline, 338 Euston Rd., London NW1 3BH, England. E-mail[email protected]

Career

Novelist and scriptwriter. County Down Spectator (newspaper), County Down, Northern Ireland, journalist, then deputy editor, until 1996. Director of short film The Devil You Know, 2001.

Awards, Honors

Betty Trask Award, 1995; Northern Ireland Press Award, for satirical columns.

Writings

"DAN STARKEY" MYSTERY SERIES; FOR ADULTS

Divorcing Jack (also see below), Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 1995.

Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, HarperCollins (London, England) 1996, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 1997.

Turbulent Priests, Headline (London, England), 1999.

Shooting Sean, Headline (London, England), 2001.

The Horse with My Name, Headline (London, England), 2003.

Driving Big Davie, Headline (London, England), 2004.

Belfast Confidential, Headline (London, England), 2005.

"JIMMY MURPHY" MYSTERY SERIES; FOR ADULTS

Murphy's Law, Headline (London, England), 2002.

Murphy's Revenge, Headline (London, England), 2005.

MYSTERY NOVELS; FOR ADULTS

Cycle of Violence, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.

Empire State, HarperCollins (London, England), 1997.

Best in the Business, Headline (London, England), 1997.

Maid of the Mist, Headline (London, England), 1999.

Wild about Harry, Headline (London, England), 2001.

Mohammed Maguire, HarperCollins (London, England), 2001.

Chapter and Verse, Headline (London, England), 2003.

"GANG WITH NO NAME" TRILOGY; YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS

Running with the Reservoir Pups, Headline (London, England), 2003, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Seagulls Have Landed, Headline (London, England), 2005.

SCREENPLAYS

Jumpers, 1997.

Crossmaheart (also known as Cycle of Violence), 1998.

Divorcing Jack (based on Bateman's novel), HarperCollins, 1998.

Wild about Harry, 2000.

The Devil You Know (short film), British Broadcasting Corporation, 2001.

Murphy's Law (television series), British Broadcasting Corporation, 2001–05.

Work in Progress

The children's novel The Titanic Times; an adult novel, titled I Predict a Riot.

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Sidelights

Known for his "Dan Starkey" mystery novels as well as for his work as a screenwriter and former journalist, Colin Bateman makes his home in County Down, Northern Ireland. Beginning his career writing for adults, Bateman made the shift to young-adult fiction in 2003 with his first young-adult novel, Running with the Reservoir Pups. As he commented on his home page, writing for younger readers was "like going back to the days when writing was just a hobby" and done "purely for fun"; now the author alternates his writing for teens with adult fiction and other writing. Praising Running with the Reservoir Pups, a Publishers Weekly reviewer described the novel as "a zany caper cloaked in the droll, dark comedy that marks [Bateman's] adult fiction."

Born in 1962, Bateman attended Bangor Grammar School and eventually won a scholarship to Oxford University. He began his writing career after publishing his award-winning first novel, Divorcing Jack, in 1994. The hero of Divorcing Jack, Belfast journalist Dan Star-key, serves as Bateman's alter ego and has gone on to appear in several novels in the "Dan Starkey" mystery series. A comic, political thriller, Divorcing Jack finds Starkey trying to solve the mystery of his lover's death while hiding from those who believe him responsible: among them the police, an IRA-connected thug named Cow Pat Coogan, and a Loyalist skinhead gang. John Ferguson, writing in the Boston Globe, cited Bateman's "wicked sense of fun," while Spectator critic Michael Bywater praised the novel's "good action" sequences. Characterizing Starkey as a "boozy journalist" whose narratives are enhanced by his "hilarious sarcasm and misguided action-hero antics," a Publishers Weekly critic praised the sleuth's second outing. Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men finds Starkey in top form as his assignment to cover the heavyweight championships unearths a virulent racism.

Running with the Reservoir Pups is the first of three novels that are collected as the "Gang with No Name" trilogy. It introduces readers to Eddie Malone, who moves from a quiet suburb to violence-torn Belfast, Northern Ireland after his parents' marriage falls apart. Left to his own devices, Eddie eventually finds himself involved with the street gang that lays claim to his neighborhood. Coaxed into breaking into the hospital where his mother works, Eddie overhears a plot to steal twelve babies and his conscience finally kicks into gear. Calling the novel "unpretentiously unpredictable," a Kirkus Reviews writer added that Bateman's teen novel is "a satisfying page turner." Rife with "action-packed mayhem,… irony, and snappy dialogue," Running with the Reservoir Pups was described by School Library Journal contributor Connie Tyrell Burns as an "outrageously comic caper" that "reads like a film, rapidly moving from cliff-hanger to cliff-hanger." While Hazel Rochman wrote in Booklist that Bateman's "plot is all wild contrivance," along with "real surprise as the action twists and turns at breakneck speed," the Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the author's "appealing young hero is entirely credible."

The "Gang with No Name" trilogy continues with Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, a dramatically titled tale that finds Eddie attending a Belfast private school as a way to keep him off the streets and away from gang influence. In addition to his blooming romance with best friend Mo, twelve-year-old Eddie is distracted from his studies by his efforts to start his own gang to rival the Belfast Pups, the theft of the relics (i.e., mummified body parts) of an Irish-Catholic martyr, and by his mother's annoying new boyfriend. The Seagulls Have Landed, which closes the series, finds a much older Eddie still hoping to avoid the Reservoir Pups while witnessing the effects of an addictive drug called Crush as it is unleashed upon British young people by a group of immigrants. Noting the "marvelously over-the-top plot and likable, down-to-earth main characters" in Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, Coop Renner added in School Library Journal that Bateman's "light touch keeps the violence from seeming … frightening" to younger readers. The novel "lives up to the high expectations set" by the first volume in the series, according to Horn Book reviewer Anita L. Burkham. Bate-man's teen protagonist demonstrates "leadership and nerve," Burkham added, despite being "possessed of neither sense nor luck." Published in the United States as well as in Great Britain, the first two books in the "Gang with No Name" trilogy were also cited by critics for their appeal among reluctant readers.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 1995, p. 39; May 15, 1996, Thomas Gaughan, review of Cycle of Violence, p. 1567; April 15, 1997, Bill Ott, review of Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, p. 1392; March 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 1193; October 15, 2005, Debbie Carton, review of Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, p. 48.

Boston Globe, August 24, 1995, p. 67.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2005, Krista Hutley, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 199.

Horn Book, May-June, 2005, Anita L. Burkham, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 320; November-December, 2005, Anita L. Burkam, review of Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, p. 713.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 1198; September 15, 2005, review of Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, p. 1020.

Library Journal, November 1, 1995, A.J. Wright, review of Divorcing Jack, p. 104; May 1, 1996, Harold Au-genbraum, review of Cycle of Violence, p. 129; April 1, 1996, Michele Leber, review of Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, p. 120.

New York Times Book Review, August 27, 1995.

Publishers Weekly, July 24, 1995, review of Divorcing Jack, p. 48; March 25, 1996, review of Cycle of Violence, p. 60; March 31, 1997, review of Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, p. 60; January 10, 2005, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 56.

School Librarian, autumn, 2004, Janet Summer, review of Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunckett, p. 135; autumn, 2005, Eileen Armstrong, review of The Seagulls Have Landed, p. 153.

School Library Journal, January, 2005, Connie Tyrell Burns, review of Running with the Reservoir Pups, p. 122; November, 2005, Coop Renner, review of Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, p. 124.

Spectator, March 11, 1995.

ONLINE

Colin Bateman Home Page, http://www.colinbateman.com (July 1, 2006).

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Bateman, Colin 1962–

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