Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sucker Punch -- Ray Banks

This is the second novel to feature Cal Innes (two more have already been published in England, I believe). Cal is now off probation after a prison sentence, and while he still has his bad back and prescription pain pills, he's more or less happy in his work at Paulo's gym. You know it can't last, though, and sure enough Mo Tiernan shows up. Ass-kicking ensues. You think that's the end of it? Surely not.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Later, Paulo asks Cal to babysit a fighter who's going to Los Angeles to fight in a tournament. It's the fighter's big chance, so you just know Cal's going to screw things up. The question is, how will he do it? Is the competition rigged? Is the guy Cal meets in a bar on the up and up? Is the fighter going to behave himself? What about the attempted bribe?


This is almost more of a character study than a crime novel, and you might wonder just when the bad stuff's going to occur. It does, so wait for it. In the meantime, enjoy the company of one of life's pill-popping losers while he tries to get his life straight. The book's funny and ferocious at the same time, and you'll keep hoping that Innes will pull things off even as you know he won't.

[END OF SPOILER ALERT]

While you won't have to have read
Saturday's Child to appreciate this sequel, it would probably be better if you had. Either way, if you're a fan of hardboiled crime fiction and tough-guy writing, you'll probably find yourself smiling to know that there are at least two more books about Innes coming to this side of the Atlantic fairly soon. Check this one out now.

3 comments:

Christa Faust said...

The thing I liked best about Sucker Punch was reading an outsider's take on my city. Funny stuff.

Banks remains one of my favorite modern writers.

Bill Crider said...

People tend to overlook how funny his books are.

Keith Rawson said...

No way, Banks is a serious smart ass, both Sucker (Donkey)punch and Saturday's child have some great lines in them.