Farrell has problem. His girlfriend, Nora, has stolen his twenty grand stash. But, worse still, she’s also taken his Italian leather jacket – the one that makes him look like Franco Nero, at the right angle and the right light. She’s left him a note telling him that if he’s smart he won’t go looking for her.
He ignores it.
He ropes in his mate, Cobb (a flabby, lightfingered Geordie whose as fast with his lip as he is with a battery-filled sock) and they go looking for her. The path leads them to a crippled drug-dealer, a stolen gun with dodgy bullets, a murdered girl, and a psychotic Irish ex-con with a nifty and nasty line in torture and disfigurement.
Wolf Tickets might not be very long but this novella is a prime slice of crime fiction. The writing is superb – slang driven, tightly knitted prose told from the POV of Farrell and Cobb (alternating a chapter each) – and the story screams along like a nitro-powered race car. Every character is fully fleshed-out (even the minor characters) in a few sentences or lines of dialogue, which, as always with Banks, is flat-out superb. When the book was over I felt sad because it’s a masterful ride while it lasts. If it hadn’t been for Roger Smith’s Capture this would have been my favourite read of the year. Still, it’s a seriously good piece of writing: exciting, frightening, funny and as brutal as Cobb’s battery cosh. Highly recommended.