Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dead Money by Ray Banks

Dead Money is about Alan Slater, a failing door-to-door salesman whose screwing around behind his wife's back. The novel opens with Slater at a casino with his "friend," hot-headed, high-stakes gambler and all-around asshole Les Beale. Beale is in the habit of convincing Slater to hang around with him as a sort of moral support/check on his explosive temper.

The one night Slater bows out from these festivities he gets a frantic, 2 a.m. call from Beale. Out of some sense of loyalty (or not?), Slater gets out of bed and helps Beale dispose of a dead body. Poorly.

From here, he enters a world of shit.

This book has everything I want. It's fast-paced, sweary, overflowing with black humor, and fatalistic to the core. At the start, Slater appears to be a regular guy, but the more desperate he gets, the more awful he acts.

And as things get more fucked, Slater becomes more like the guy he hates -- he becomes more like Beale. Banks handles this with remarkable care and it feels genuine.

If this is the kind of stuff Blasted Heath is putting out, sign me up.


  1. Ray shoots out the nights with this one. It all started with a big black dog . . . kind of. One of my favorite novels this year.

  2. Yep, brilliant book. One of the most realistic books in a long time. Dead funny,too.