If anyone in the small universe of this blog’s readers—and I thank you all sincerely—is as yet unfamiliar with Ray Banks, you really need to knock that shit off. Banks is a keeper.
Wolf Tickets is my third Banks. No More Heroes (part of the Cal Innes series) was a hell of a novel; Gun was as good a novella as I’ve read. Wolf Tickets may be a short novel or a long novella; it’s hard to say on a Kindle. What’s easy to say is the book is exactly as long as it needs to be, with no more words than is necessary; no fewer, either.
Jimmy Cobb and Sean Farrell are mates from way back, grown distant both geographically and psychically due to Farrell’s involvement with a woman named Nora. Farrell and Cobb are brought together again when things go pear shaped between Farrell and Nora and her ex-boyfriend re-enters the picture. And a large sum of money is in dispute. Oh, and a leather jacket.
The story is told through first-person point of view, alternating from Cobb to Farrell and back. It’s an effective device for allowing the reader to see through a character’s eyes and feel his emotions, yet still know more than either of them alone. Farrell and Cobb are operating from two disadvantages: they don’t know everything they should to make good decisions, and their decision making processes don’t kick any ass, either. One of them isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. To find out which, read the book. I’m not here for spoilers.
The only downside to American readers is the language. Banks is a Scot; the two POV characters are a Brit and an Irishman. They speak the language of such criminals, which at times resembles American English the way a pork chop resembles a ham. Deal with it. You may wonder about a word or two, but the meanings are still clear, if imprecise to the untrained ear. The language is an indispensible part of what drives this story and draws Farrell and Cobb so clearly. Besides, there’s nowt a thing wrong with a gadgy chancer such as yourself learning a thing or two, is there?
Any book that opens with a quote from Tom Waits has set the bar pretty high. Banks clears it with a foot to spare.
Now that I have your attention and have piqued the reading part of your crocodile brain to go over to Amazon right this minute and buy Wolf Tickets for a measly $2.99, you might as well pick up a copy of Worst Enemies while you’re at it. Save wear and tear on your keyboard and mouse, not to mention minimizing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome from typing the URL too often. It’s also $2.99, and worth every penny more you don’t have to spend on it.