Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wolf Tickets by Ray Banks #review

Title: Wolf Tickets
Author: Ray Banks
Publisher: Blasted Heath, 2012

From time to time I make a foray into a genre I don’t ordinarily dip into, and this is one of those occasions. Wolf Tickets is a short, fast read wherein we get to know two real lowlives and, as the book’s description suggests – all-round scoundrels.

Sean Farrell is not the sort of guy you’d invite over for tea. His steel-capped boots are often put to use for their intended purpose. When his girlfriend runs off with his money and his favourite jacket, he’s pissed off and bent on getting his stuff back.

Cobb, on the other hand, seems well satisfied with his dingy life. Ex-army, he’s ill-suited to civilian life and indeed any form of legal occupation, and he prefers to spend his days drinking and shoplifting.

From the outset, these two don’t seem like the type that’d even get on, but they’ve got a history together and they’re tight, despite not having seen each other for years. Neither is all that successful in their criminal lifestyle but there’s a kind of disturbing charm in how they go about trying to find the missing Nora who’s got the money.

The setting Ray Banks dumps us into is the seamy underbelly of the UK, and I can safely say that there is not a single likeable character in this story. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the ride.

Wolf Tickets is violent and bloody. Things get ugly, very quickly, yet there is an undercurrent of dark, dark humour in how Farrell and Cobb interact with each other and other folks who cross their path.

I don’t have much to compare this with except for the type of stories presented by Irvine Welsh. Only I find myself liking Banks a helluva lot more than Welsh.

Using broad brush strokes, Banks paints a suitably grimy, vivid and awful world, and I could easily visualise the people and places – and suspect this story would make a most excellent film too.

There you have it – my opinion. I’m not au fait with noir as a genre on a whole, but really enjoyed this little excursion.

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