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Chris High reviews a Ray Banks crime fiction novel


Ray Banks

Publisher: Polygon
ISBN: 1-904-598-78-1
April, 2006

Front cover of the book by Ray Banks - Saturday's Child

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Blood, muck, deprivation and dark, dark humour – and that’s just chapter one. If you like your crime gritty, absorbing and utterly compelling, look no further than Ray Banks and his second novel, Saturday’s Child.

Cal Innes is fresh out of Strangeways, playing PI and running from a past muddied with ties to local gang lord 'Uncle' Morris Tiernan. When Tiernan tells him to track down a rogue casino dealer who's absconded with a hefty chunk of cash, Innes is thrust into a cat-and-mouse game with Tiernan's psychotic son. Finding the thief proves potentially fatal as the case points north to Newcastle and the sordid truth threatens to put blood on his hands. With Tiernan's son on his tail, and a Manchester cop determined to put Innes back on the spurs, Saturday's child definitely has to work hard to keep living.


Writing in a style that could make the most noted of authors wince with inadequacy, Ray Banks has created characters in Saturday’s Child that make Hannibal Lecter look like a favourite uncle who’s just popped around stinking of Werthers Originals. In Callum Innes, Maurice Tiernan and his son, Mo, the true bedrocks of good and evil – empathy and loathing – have been lashed together, making them magnificently inseparable for the time being.

The descriptive prose that takes in the darkened slug’s belly of two of England’s most fashionable cities and showing those places and events that do not appear in brochures, is at times like witnessing the aftermath of a car crash; you don’t want to look on, but you have to. The writing at times is breathtaking in itself and should be a source of inspiration to those aspiring to become writers themselves. As a result, if the book is started at ten in the morning, what has taken years for the author to painstakingly create could easily be finished by six the same evening because the pages won’t have stopped turning once the story has begun.

All of which is helped considerably by fast, snappy and – above all – natural dialogue that keeps the pace up to Formula One standards throughout, but without ever becoming tiring. Some books have nuances in them that, at first, are endearing but which soon become dull. Here the reader asks “would I have said that?” and the answer, somewhat incredibly, is “Yes …if I’d the bottle” every time.

This is a truly stunning read. Not since Chris Simms’ Killing The Beasts for characterisation, Mo Hayder’s Birdman for delightful, unexpected shock value and Margaret Murphy’s The Dispossessed for descriptive narrative has a novel been so well written. As has been mentioned here before, occasionally when working on the coalface something of great value drops into your lap.

Ray Banks’ Saturday’s Child is without doubt, just such a gem.
10/10. - the home of Ray Banks and Cal Innes

“Many, many, MANY thanks for the sterling review of SC, Mr H. You make a bitter young man extremely happy. Keep up the excellent work.”
Ray Banks 2006

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers



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