cover image Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men

Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men

Colin Bateman. Arcade Publishing, $23.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-376-5

Dan Starkey, the dubious hero of Divorcing Jack, is back again. This time, the boozy journalist brings his hilarious sarcasm and misguided action-hero antics to New York, where his mission is to cover a heavyweight championship bout between ""Fat Boy"" McMaster, an unlikely Belfast boxer, and Mike Tyson, on St. Patrick's Day. When McMaster's wife, Mary, is kidnapped following an unwittingly racist comment McMaster makes at a press conference, Starkey turns sleuth along with ex-cop Peter Smith to investigate the case. In due course, he will take part in a commando attack on a Muslim temple, serve as a punching bag for a troupe of homosexual waiters, and be saved from the jaws of death by a large Minke whale. With characteristic imaginative flair, Bateman works an astonishing number of issues into the plot, including racism, bigotry, religious extremism, alcoholism and inter-ethnic romance--and that's just for starters. This is indeed an extended romp, but not as tight and focused as Bateman's previous work. It also reflects a distinct political and religious bias, which will surprise readers who appreciated Starkey's earlier, more tongue-in-cheek approach to Northern Ireland sectarianism. Nevertheless, Bateman delivers the kind of humor and sense of the ridiculous that his fans will relish. (May)