Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Yeah, I know.....

....it has been a long, long time. I've been looking into getting the website rebooted, but that's no excuse really. Lazy also comes into the equation. That said, I have been updating fairly regularly on Facebook if you want to search that out, and there's also been Twitter in the last couple of weeks.

So where are we?

The new book, The Day of the Jack Russell, was released this week, and should be in the shops. I'm expecting reviews to appear over the next few weeks - fingers crossed. Any feedback I've had so far has been very positive. For those who don't know about it, it's the follow up to Mystery Man, and I'm currently working on the third in the series, which at the moment I'm calling 'Dr. Chicago' (think about it).

What else is happening in Bateman world? Well, I've written a 60 minute script for the BBC based on 'Mystery Man', but no decision yet as to it actually going into production or not. There's a lot of scripts out there vying for very few slots. But fingers crossed. It would be nice to make it, and even nicer to make it in Belfast. If you've read it, and have any ideas who you think might be good in the lead role, don't be shy!

The book had a very successful launch at No Alibis - where else? - last night, with a full house, which I think was pretty great for a miserably wet Monday night. At the event I read a short excerpt from 'Dr. Chicago', plus two short stories, 'Happy Endings' and 'Dublin Express'. The first of these is due to appear in the er, prestigious Red Bull Magazine, which I believe is given away free with The Independent newspaper, but I've no idea quite when. The other is currently lacking a home, written purely for fun.

Elsewhere in Bateman world, I've been writing a tv script called 'Alice Glass', about a bi-polar detective, I've written a children's book which is the first in a planned series, 'SOS: Icequake', and I've been talking to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast about staging my first play, 'National Anthem', when it re-opens early in 2011. So its been a busy week.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Zoot Alors!

If you happen to be passin' thru Paris this week, then do call and say hello. Yours truly will be performing - and I mean performing, I juggle now as well as read - at the Irish Cultural Centre this Thursday evening at 7.30 pm. It's at rue des Irelandais, naturally enough. Then on Saturday night I'll be taking part in a panel discussion at Bilipo: 48-50, rue du Cardinal Lemoine. This is a library actually devoted to crime fiction, and I'll be on stage together with two other authors who like to have a laugh as well, the Frenchman Colin Thibert and the Englishman Charlie Williams, whose works, like mine, have been published in French by Série Noire. The moderator for the evening is Nathalie Beunat. So if you get the chance, come along and say 'ello, 'ello.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


Strewth, whatever will they come up with next?! You can now download the first chapter of Mystery Man onto your mobile phone simply by texting MYSTERY to 64888! I have no idea how this works outside of the UK, but why not give it a try? If it doesn't work you could try txting me directly and I'll call you back and READ you the first chapter. Just key in CATCHYOURSELF ON. Meanwhile I fully expect The Observer to carry a piece on Mystery Man and the publicity whirlwind surrounding No Alibis this weekend, and also The Sunday Times has been looking for a photo of me, so this probably means they're doing something as well, unless of course they've discovered that I've secretly been trafficking gerbils to Azkaban in which case I'm saying NOTHING. These may only appear in the Irish editions of these papers, which is a crying shame.....

Friday, 1 May 2009

It's no longer a Mystery, it's a little piece of History

Hopefully very exciting times ahead folks, with the news that Mystery Man has been seized by the Richard and Judy show for their Summer Read promotion, news which was released by huge coincidence on the very day the book was published. I'm in with seven other books, which I'm sure are all fine and wonderful, but really I'd much prefer you buy mine! What it does mean is that the hardback/trade paperback will be joined very suddenly next weekend by the mass market paperback as well. Frankly, I think you should buy them all. It's also a little ironic that a book which in its own mad way celebrates the wonder of independent book stores, suddenly becomes available through Tescos and Asda and other major chains where previously I couldn't get arrested. Seriously, it's a huge bonus. Depending on where you live of course, and when you read this, I hope some of you can come along to what will be a rather surreal experience tonight, the launch of Mystery Man in No Alibis in Botanic Avenue in Belfast, that's 7 pm on May 1st.
This extra promotion for the book has also led my publishers at Headline Review to bring forward the publication of the sequel, The Day of the Jack Russell, which instead of May next year, is now to be published this coming November. Around about that time I should also be starting in on the third in the series, which at the moment I'm calling Dr. Chicago. All I need now is a plot.

Meanwhile, entirely independent of the above promotion, I'm at a fairly advanced state of negotiations with the BBC over a television version of Mystery Man, and if all goes according to plan I'll start writing the script in about a month's time.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Mystery Man is now just about....

at a shop near you. At least if you live in Ireland, where they seem to release it a few weeks early. The OFFICIAL release date is April 30th, and will be marked by a series of three readings in almost as many days. Those of you in the vicinity of my home town of Bangor, Co. Down, can pop along to the all new Library on Hamilton Road on the 30th, or come along to No Alibis bookshop the following night, Friday, May 1st. The No Alibis reading will be particularly meaningful/emotional as the book is almost entirely set in the shop itself. I may also be reading a little bit from the sequel, The Day of the Jack Russell. Then on Monday, May 4th, I'm appearing at the Black Box theatre in Belfast, as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. I'm sharing the bill here with Dublin writer Gene Kerrigan. So you get two authors for the price of, uhm, two. Also worth noting that if you attend any of these gigs you'll hear two pieces of news about Mystery Man that have me very excited. If not, all will be revealed here in the next couple of weeks.
Before these gigs I'm also appearing at the Cuirt Festival in Galway - that's this coming Friday, and that gig is again with Gene Kerrigan.

Monday, 26 January 2009

When the going gets weird.....

I had the weirdist experience the other night.

A had this dream/nightmare about being attacked by a giant bee. I was just in the act of punching out at it when I woke up suddenly - just in time to stop myself punching my wife in the head.

I pretty quickly went back to sleep and then forgot about it until the following evening when I jokingly apologised to my wife for almost hitting her. She asked why and I explained about being attacked by a giant bee. And her mouth just dropped open. Because the novel she had been reading in bed beside me that night featured a man who could control bees with his mind and make them attack people.

This was a book I had never read and knew absolutely nothing about.

Just a coincidence?

Or evidence of the untapped powers of the mind?

Forty years ago I might have reported it to the Bee Specials, but too late for that now.

(Only a few of you will get this. Apologies. But the bee story is true. And scary.)

Told you....

Last week I mentioned that I was flying to Manchester for the Salford Children's Book Award, and how my previous experience of attending such events was quite embarrassing - authors who do attend sit on a stage before a large audience awaiting the announcement of the winner, who, invariably, is unable to be there. That happened twice last year - at one the winner couldn't make it because he was busy, and at the other the author couldn't make it because she was dead. Well, you could probably detect from what I wrote that I wasn't hugely unthusiastic about making the trip to Salford, but as it turned out I had to cancel at the last moment as an important business meeting came up. A good thing, as it turns out, as I lost to that very same recently departed author. To lose once to a recently deceased author is unfortunate, to lose twice is.....

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Mystery Man.....the countdown....

.....still three months until the launch of the next novel, Mystery Man, but it's nice to report some very positive early reaction. For those of you who like to keep up to date with what's happening locally as far as crime fiction is concerned, there's no better place for you to go than to Gerard Brennan's Crime Scene Northern Ireland website, and it's this very location which has run the very first review of the new book, having somehow gotten hold of a proof copy (!).

To wit:

A Wee Review - Mystery Man by Colin Bateman

There’s a new PI in Belfast. His qualifications? He owns No Alibis, a bookshop specialising in crime fiction. Is he a fast-talking, hard-drinking, skirt-chasing tough guy? Um, no. Not at all, really. He’s a bit... well, he’s cut from a different cloth. Oh, and he most definitely is not David Torrans.

Mystery Man is a Belfast crime fiction comedy in which our protagonist (a man with no name) tackles the cases he’s inherited from one of the few ‘real’ PIs in town. Malcolm Carlyle, the proprietor of Private Eye, a private investigation firm situated next to No Alibis bookshop, has apparently skipped town; leaving many a loose end untied. In desperation, his abandoned clients have started trickling into No Alibis for help. Handpicking a few cases, to pass the time more than anything else, the narrator makes a bit of a hobby out of tracking down scorned girlfriends or elusive items of clothing. It’s a nice distraction. Well, it’s nice up until he gets involved in The Case of the Dancing Jew.

This is probably Bateman’s most comedic novel to date, with practically a laugh a paragraph guaranteed. Some of the humour can make you feel a little guilty for laughing. To Bateman, political correctness is something that happens to other people, it would seem. It’s actually quite refreshing. The rest of the humour is of the semi-self-aware, self-deprecating variety that comes from the small revelations of the narrator’s personality. Each little nugget of information gradually builds to form one of the finest protagonists I’ve ever read. Yes, he even gives Dan Starkey a run for his money.

In the early chapters, you could well believe that Bateman has chosen to have a go at writing a modern-day cosy; a slightly bumbling detective logically solves a few minor mysteries. Then the dead bodies start to show up. In abundance. And as Dan Starkey has said more than once, “The jigsaw thickens!” Bateman looks beyond the Troubles (well, apart from a few political wisecracks – it’s set in Belfast, after all) and brings a different evil into the Northern Irish mix. Even at his most light-hearted and funniest, Bateman can’t resist dragging the reader over to his dark side. And, you know, it wouldn’t be half the experience it is if he didn’t.

So, accompanied by a dreadful shop assistant, a beautiful and quirky sidekick and a personality defect or three, Bateman’s latest protagonist really spins a terrific yarn. And it’s possible that he’s taking on Starkey’s torch as the new Bateman series character. In fact, Bateman has announced on his blog that he’s already halfway through the follow up, Day of the Jack Russell. If anybody is going to replace Belfast’s most infamous reporter and anti-hero, let it be the Mystery Man.

You should look forward to April 2009, when you can get your hands on a copy. Mystery Man will give you more laughs than a room full of rabbis and priests. This being the follow up to the more serious Orpheus Rising, you just never know where Bateman is going to take the loyal reader next. You do know that it’s a place worth visiting, though.

So ta very much to Gerard, and do check out the site at : www.crimesceneni.blogspot.com

A few dates starting to filter in now for the launch of the book: there will be two launches really in Northern Ireland: the first on April 30th at Bangor Library, which is in my hometown, and then the following night in, of course, No Alibis.

Prior to that there I'll be appearing at the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway - the last time I was there was at least ten years ago. I understand I'll be sharing the stage with another Irish writer, Gene Kerrigan.

Then on to Paris in May, with one reading at the Irish Cultural Centre and another for the French library service two days later. Which means, unfortunately, that I'm going to miss out on crime writer Michael Connolly's visit to No Alibis, which falls between my two French dates. One idea No Alibis had was for me to interview him on stage, but sadly that's not now going to happen.

Friday, 16 January 2009

In the shadow of Old Trafford

I'm off to Manchester next Friday (23rd) for the Salford Children's Book Award. Titanic 2020 has been shortlisted, along with : Tom Becker: Darkside; Siobhan Dowd: The London Eye Mystery; Julia Golding: Ringmaster; Matt Haig: Shadow Forest; F. E. Higgins: The Black Book of Secrets ;Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell: Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf. Should be fun, and it's great to meet fans of the book, but it's always a bit of a strange experience. Last year Titanic was up for three awards - at the first there were five short listed authors on the stage, anxiously waiting the announcement, and when it came the winner turned out to be the only author who wasn't there. Which was mildly embarrassing. Then the next one I lost out to an author who definitely couldn't have attended, having recently departed this mortal coil. The third time I was short listed, and having suffered the outrageous slings and arrows of being defeated, I decided not to attend....and won. So who knows. I haven't read the other books on the short list, although one of them is by that recently departed author, which is a bad omen. Keep you posted!
Interestingly, when my brother heard I was going to Salford, which is the home of Old Trafford, he offered me a ticket to go and see the FA Cup game between Manchester United and Spurs. I turned him down, once I'd finished laughing.