Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Divorcing Jack

Divorcing Jack: Bateman, May 17—26, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

DivorcingJackSet in pre-Good Friday Northern Ireland, Divorcing Jack is a darkly comic crime adventure starring newspaper columnist Dan Starkey. When he kisses a girl at a house party, he’s given 24 hours to move out by his wife. Soon, the girl is dead and her last words, “Divorce Jack”, are all Starkey has to exonerate himself from the outlaws and lawmen who are after him.

The setting is critical to the story and provides a depth to everything and everyone. Nobody can live amid the Troubles unblemished. Everything has a subtext and Bateman accessibly and authentically brings Northern Ireland’s recent history to the fore.

Perhaps it was the lackadaisical attitude of Starkey, but there was no urgency to anything. He could be quite droll and do what he could, but there was little in the way of reacting very much to anything. Other than a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde moment with Lee (which seemed abrupt and infeasible), the lead seems surprisingly disinvested. As a result, I wasn’t gripped by the book the way I expected to be.

The plot moves at a steady pace. You never get bored, and the humour, though subtle, is never far away. The resolution comes about with relative believability, despite how impossible it seems from the outset. Although what is a rather simple story has few major twists, the writing ensures you coast rather than drag your way through.

A witty debut, much bolstered by its rich setting, and an all round decent story. I might not be rushing for the sequel, but I’ll get to it.


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This entry was posted on May 26, 2014 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare