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Colin Bateman fans rejoice as reporter hero Dan Starkey returns in latest novel

Writer Colin Bateman
Writer Colin Bateman
Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney as Paisley and McGuinness in The Journey

By David O'Dornan

Author Colin Bateman has delighted fans by announcing that he has written another book based on Dan Starkey, the character who launched his career as a novelist.

Bangor man Bateman first wrote about the exploits of Starkey in his 1995 debut Divorcing Jack, which won a prestigious award and was adapted into a film to set him on his way to becoming a famous writer.

He revealed online that he has completed what will be his 11th book featuring Starkey - as long as he can secure a publishing deal.

He said: "I finished writing the new Dan Starkey today. All I need now is a drink and a publisher. Next year it's 25 years since Divorcing Jack came out."

Based against the backdrop of the Troubles and laced with dark humour, Divorcing Jack was influenced by his former life as a journalist - Starkey is a reporter who embarks on a murder-mystery tale.

It won a Betty Trask Award the year it was published and was made into a film three years later with Starkey played by David Thewlis, who went on to star in the Harry Potter films as Remus Lupin.

After he made the announcement on his Facebook page, scores of fans told him how excited they were by the news, including Dolores McCartney who said: "This a no brainer... publishers should be falling over each other to get to this!"

Another, Ian Cardwell, added: "Brilliant news, keep us updated, can't wait to read it, I have read all your outstanding books, thank you Sir."

Some people also offered to set up crowdfunding to get the novel published for the author, who was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Ulster for his services to literature in 2010.

Bateman (56) has written more than 30 books - including some for children - since his famous debut. His most recent, Paper Cuts, was printed three years ago.

His book Murphy's Law was adapted from the BBC television series Murphy's Law (2001-2007) featuring James Nesbitt, and he has been busy in recent years writing feature film scripts.

He wrote drama The Journey in 2016 about power-sharing politicians Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, and how they went from being sworn enemies to being dubbed 'the Chuckle Brothers'.

The movie starred Timothy Spall as DUP leader Paisley and Colm Meaney as former IRA man turned Sinn Fein's Stormont leader McGuinness.

Later this year another film written by Bateman will be released called Driven, which is based on John DeLorean.

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