Notable for his Dan Starkey, Martin Murphy, and Mystery Man series of novels, he is also recognized for Reservoir Pups, Ice Quake, and other children's books. Also a screenwriter, he created a television series titled Scup.
In his mid-teens, he began working as a reporter and columnist for a newspaper called the County Down Spectator. A decade and a half later, he published his first Dan Starkey novel and subsequently received the 1994 Betty Trask Award.
His 2007 book Titanic 2020 was nominated for the Salford Children's Book Award.
The son of a World War II veteran, Bateman spent his youth in Newtownards and Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland.
His darkly comedic novel Divorcing Jack was adapted into a 1998 film starring David Thewlis.