Review published on April 22, 2016.
Rob Cullen a journalist with the Guardian, has returned to Bangor, a faded seaside town near Belfast for the funeral of his mentor, Billy Maxwell. Maxwell had edited the Bangor Express and Rob is persuaded to stay on and help get the local paper back on its feet.
Small town, small stories, a family friendly paper which dare not offend its advertisers – this is a far cry from Rob’s usual job, but he sets to, with the help of owner Gerry, reporter Alix, Pete the human encyclopaedia, Sean and Michael the rookies and Janine the advertising manager.
This is the basis of a very funny take on small-town newspapers everywhere. There are some great stories of artistic rivals, illegal immigrants, human bones etc along with the struggle to get each week’s edition on to the news stands.
Rob has never explained why he has time off from the Guardian and whether his marriage is over, so he and Alix have a will they/won’t they relationship which is funny and touching. The final scenes are of a shoot-out in a corner shop when a robbery goes wrong and this is a cracking ending in every way.
Colin Bateman is a genius at writing conversation, with plenty of banter, wisecracks and sparring between the staff and the public. I laughed out loud in places, but the whole book is quietly witty. I will look for other Colin Bateman novels to read.
Paper Cuts by Colin Bateman
Head of Zeus 9781784973780 hbk Feb 2016
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