Beast of Burden

Beast of Burden - Ray Banks If you're looking for a hard-boiled detective noir with roguish dialect, Beast of Burden by Ray Banks is a great choice. It's got chain-smoking, cuss-using offenders and questionable coppers tripping over each other in an effort to find out who killed a king pin's son. Some try harder than others, but all have their reasons for injecting themselves into the investigation. The characters are gritty, exposed and although they are tough guys, all are completely vulnerable at varying points in the story which gives this noir a real-life feeling that will appeal to the common man or woman. What I found most impressive about the story was Banks use of dialect. The authentic speech and dialogue were unabated and uncensored. Banks has crafted a perfect example of how speech is specific to area. Nothing is proper about it, but that is not to say the author doesn't know the difference. In fact, he is acutely aware and knows just how to utilize conversation to deepen characters, strengthen plot and intensity. By doing so, it makes for more than just a hard-boiled noir, expanding it into a literary critique of how dialogue expresses class, stereotypes, setting, economic gap and cultural structure. Thematically, questions loyalty, revenge, family and justice. Heavy on the language and violence, but little sexual content.