Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: CALIFORNIA by Ray Banks

CaliforniaDown the winding road on a path to realise a dream forged in prison, Shug uses a clear and positive mentality to turn his life of crime around and start anew. Fresh from a bid in prison, Shug returns to his former girlfriend’s house wanting only to reclaim his stash from the heist that took away 4 or so years of his life with the aim of using it to front his journey to California sun and wine. Sounds nice and rosy, but this is a Ray Banks novella so you know its going to turn poison ivy and rash in jig time – which is exactly what happens.

Ray Banks delivers a delectable noir downsized for a single reading. As always, the characters are the driving force with their escapades delivering much of the story’s enjoyment. I’m yet to walk away from a novel/novella written by Banks unsatisfied and CALIFORNIA is no different.

The sharp dialogue and confronting circumstances combine for a realistic and moody tale which still teeters on the line of dark humour. Amidst a brawl Banks manages to convey a sense of jocularity, be it a throw away comment, humorous thought, or outlandish action resulting in a distributing yet smirk inducing visualisation of events. All good stuff and true to form for a typical Ray Banks outing.

CALIFORNIA, while being a novella under 100pgs it reads much deeper. The reader gets a good impression of Shug and the events that led to his imprisonment, life with his girlfriend before and after his release, and the shoddy accomplices that may have played a hand in him turning his back on the peaceful life. Oh and there’s the added element that he’s badsh!t crazy too.

If you’re familiar with previous novels by this author, then you’ll know what to expect – a damn good slice of entertainment. I highly recommend it.

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