Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Books: Beast of Burden by Ray Banks

Beast of BurdenBeast of Burden by Ray Banks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cal Innes is a private investigator with a past. Ex-con, ex fight promoter and the victim of a drug induced stroke, this once dangerous man is reduced to walking the streets of Manchester with a cane and half of his face paralyzed. But Innes is a hard man, and tough to keep down. He is contacted by Morris Tiernan, head of the local crime family and someone with whom Innes has tangled with many times before. To his surprise, Innes is hired by Tiernan to find his son Mo who has gone missing. The narrative is split between that of Innes and Iain "Donkey" Donkin, a detective suspended from the Manchester police force for excessive use of violence. Donkin is convinced that Innes is responsible for Mo's disappearance and will stop at nothing to get a confession. This was a very well written noir, deep and dark and laced with bone-dry humor. Banks writes dialogue particularly well, using the argot of crooks and crooked cops and the slang of the area to excellent effect. Innes is a fascinating character, even now in his handicapped state, and Donkin takes the cliche of the out of control cop in a whole new direction. While this is an excellent book, it has a lot of back-story needed to fully understand what is going on, so newcomers to the series are advised to begin with the first book in the quartet, Saturday's Child. But those familiar with the series or fans of dark crime fiction are in for a treat. Beast of Burden - amazon.com

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