12th out of 12 books — 4 voters
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Cycle of Violence
Marked by Colin Bateman's signature blend of sinister violence and sidesplitting dialogue, Cycle of Violence is the story of Miller, Belfast's bicycling journalist, and his "cycle of violence", on assignment to Crossmaheart, a post-terrorist ghetto where the preferred response to bone-chilling murder is a hilarious one-liner, and vice versa. The town harbors secrets more s ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 5th 1997 by Arcade Publishing
(first published January 1st 1995)
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I saw the film Divorcing Jack (based on a Bateman novel of the same name) many years ago, enjoyed it, then saw this in the store and bought it, and now, some 15 years or so later, I've finally got around to reading it. The good news is that my initial instinct was right -- I love comic fiction, and if it's dark comedy, so much the better. This book fits the bill nicely, with line after line of comic wordplay and nasty humor. Miller is a loose cannon of an investigative journalist who is banished ...more
Cycle of Violence by Colin Bateman is a good quick read set in 1990s Northern Ireland. It's mordantly funny, but I don't think it's as hilarious as the the dust jacket told me. Manic depression & the lifelong effects of sexual abuse are handled very maturely with most of the punchlines being about terrorism & manslaughter. The Femme Fatale trope is subverted. It's kind of like Martin McDonagh work. Most importantly, the scene on this cover does happen in the book.
This was recommended by a work colleague, and it didn't disappointed. The protagonist is a stereotypical journalist - drunk, outspoken and angry. The 'cycle of violence' is a reference to the bicycle he rides to the violent scenes of the Troubles. He's reassigned to what would have been called 'bandit country', where the Loyalists and Republicans are facing off in a small community. Black humour - lovely.
Nov 13, 2014 Sandi rated it it was ok · review of another edition
Set mainly in the small town of Crossmaheart in Northern Ireland, this was rather a bit too dark and depressing for me and while there was some dark humor it was not nearly as funny as I remember his first book Divorcing Jack being. I listened to the audio version and unfortunately the narration by Andrew Jackson was rather pedestrian.
Blimey this was black, even for Bateman. First published before the Good Friday Agreement, it provides a bleak picture of Northern Irish town life along with the usual self-deprecating male mayhem. It's also a very sweet sad love story and a series of heartbreaking puns. Plus a curious dollop of Barbara Pym-esque boarding house life.
A very entertaiing read. The novel combines suspense and murder with romance and comedy. The local colour makes it a great summer read. Miller is a reporter banished by his editor for a drinking indescretion to the small Northern Irish town of Crossmaheart. There he encounters a disappearance and murder as well as a woman with a very troubled past. Like all Bateman's novels, this is worth reading.
Depressing as hell, but very clever and entertaining. The story was brilliantly crafted and brilliantly told. Even the title was perfect because it worked on several levels. It wasn't just another depressing book - it was a heartbreaking, unforgettable tragedy. The story and characters are etched in my memory years later.
This is the second of his books I've read (the first being Mystery Man) and although I enjoyed the sense of humour and dark quality to the book I would have liked a less depressing ending - perhaps that's me being an old romantic at heart but I do like some smidgen of happiness in my endings.
Colin Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, Divorcing Jack, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. He wrote the screenplays for the feature films of Divorcing Jack, Crossmaheart and Wild About Harry. He lives in Northern Ireland with his family.More about Colin Bateman...