In his short career as Manchester’s most indestructible private eye, Callum Innes has been run over by a car, beaten within an inch of his life, shot in the ear, left for dead on a desert roadside, and halfway blown up by a car bomb.
Now, mourning the death of his addict brother, walking with a cane, and barely able to speak following a massive drug-related stroke, Cal is a wreck. Enter Manchester ganglord Morris Tiernan to make his life even worse. Tiernan’s ne’er-do-well son Mo has gone missing, and Cal Innes is the only person the distraught gangster trusts enough to conduct the search. There’s nobody Cal would like to find less, but you don’t say no to Uncle Morris. And it turns out that Innes is not the only one working the case — the corrupt and parasitic Detective Sergeant “Donkey” Donkin has a vested interest in the fate of the Tiernans, as well as a long-standing grudge against the intrepid private eye.
In this fourth and final installment of the Cal Innes series, our hero gives up acting as a pawn in Manchester’s underworld disputes. He has his own burdens to bear and scores to settle — with the Tiernan family, with Sergeant Donkin, and with the darkness in his own past.
British author Banks's fourth and most definitely last Cal Innes novel (after No More Heroes) finds the self-destructive Manchester PI recovering from a drug-induced stroke that's left him barely able to speak. Spurred by the recent death of his addict brother, Declan, Innes vows to finally settle numerous scores with the people who have wrecked his life and destroyed his family. But after being manipulated into helping crime boss Morris Tiernan locate his missing son, Mo, Innes becomes a target for villainous Det. Sgt. Iain "Donkey" Donkin, who's been suspended from the force and is in the end days of his own psychotic downward spiral. While the alternating first-person perspectives of Innes and Donkin keep the action moving briskly, the heavy use of slang may daunt some American readers. Still, crime fiction doesn't get much grittier than this addictively readable narrative that's in turn ill-tempered, cynical, vulgar, and unapologetically violent.