There are some things you can always be certain of when it comes to a Dan Starkey novel; nobody is telling the complete truth, nothing is ever what it seems and Dan Starkey will always be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and say – with great purpose – exactly the wrong thing. It has been five years since we heard from Starkey and the years have not been kind to him. The success, and the lifestyle, he enjoyed with ‘Belfast Confidental’ was short lived. He is broke, having wasted all his money, and alone, with the long suffering Patricia finally running out of patience.
In order to keep himself busy and make use of his talents Starkey is now running a ’boutique, bespoke service for important people with difficult problems’. Essentially, he aims to make tricky situations quietly and discreetly disappear for is famous clients. Those who have been following Dan Starkey over the years know that his version of discrete normally results in an explosive conclusion. His first client is radio shock-jock Jack Caramac. Jack’s son was kidnapped and returned with a note warning him to ‘Shut Up’. He wants Starkey to find out which, of the many enemies he has made with his on-air antics, is threatening him.
Dan takes to the case with his usual approach, almost more likely to talk himself into trouble that out of it. His determination to have the last word or squeeze in one last quip is the hook that never disappoints. The plot twists and turns without ever leaving the reader behind; as with all Bateman books, the ending will always be a surprise without making any ridiculous leaps of logic. It will all make perfect sense. Amid all the humour is a classic crime thriller plot. In many ways, Starkey is the classic noir cop, armed except with his wit instead of a gun. If you want a book that will keep you gripped and gripping your sides with laughter, look no further than Nine Inches.