Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gun by Ray Banks

< Review by Tony Black >
< GUN by Ray Banks >
< Published by Crime Express >
< Price £4.99 >

< ISBN-10: 190551252X >

< ISBN-13: 978-1905512522 >

Gun is biting, bleak noir with a boot in the gutter and a shooter in the waistband. Banks, author of the outstanding No More Heroes and Beast of Burden has sharpened his already laser-edged storytelling in this novella about a bottom-feeder crim sent to collect a handgun.

British crime fiction doesn't get much grittier than this foray into the mean streets of petty crooks and knuckle-breaking thugs. Banks portrays the street trash and derros of the inner city with an acuity few of his peers can match. But it's his empathetic treatment of their woes that shines out in Gun. This is a tale that speaks up for the futility of those trapped in the slum, those seeking a better life when the only options point to prison or a needle.

For such a short, and seemingly prosaic, tale Banks crams in an incredible amount. Like Hemingway's iceberg principle, there's much more going on between the lines that the keen reader will ponder on. This is no mean writing feat, and one too rarely achieved these days.

Gun is a buy in the morning and devour by the afternoon mini-masterpiece that will whet the appetite for more from this talented writer.