This book is a surprise. I had forgotten that Bateman could have a such a tragic thread as well as the biting satire.
Miller is a journalist who is bumped from a Belfast daily paper to a provincial weekly production based in the town of Crossmaheart. His initial dismay gives way to acceptance once his life acquires a love interest.
Marie captures his heart and the reason the position was available was due to the unexplained disappearance of the previous journalist who was also Marie’s boyfriend “Jamie”. Miller starts to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and in foun so unearths a previously hidden aspect of Marie’s past.
Miller uses his bicycle to get around and he assigns it the title “the cycle of violence” as this is the type of reporting with which he is most associated. What quickly transpires is that a “cycle of violence” is unleashed on the town of Crissmaheart and he appears to be at the centre.
This book seems like a fairly standard thriller but it develops a viciously nasty little undercurrent which comes back to bite way harder than you might expect. There is satire and in that way there is a brave look at the politics of unionist and loyalist violence in Northern Ireland but it is about 15 years old. It’s well done as most of his work is.