By K. Robert Einarson

Alan Slater's life is adrift. Days spent as a double grazing salesman and nights wasted with a gambling addict coworker Les Beale. The only bright spot is his girlfriend Lucy.

But an accident where he ran over and killed a dog begins a process that causes his life to unravel and lose what little he has.

After I finished this book, I found one line stuck out that summarized who Alan Slater is: "Nothing to tell me how I got here. No religion, no nothing. An empty husk rattling around the place, that's what I am." This character is both contemptible and sympathetic at the same time.

Banks creates excellent believable characters, which helps to advance the plot. He captures the self-loathing of being trapped in a pointless job and Alan's attempts to keep himself balanced enough around his girlfriend to avoid losing this one element of his life that is still positive.

The story has great pacing and the Bank's style has elements of Ken Bruen while still being his own. His dialog is crisp and natural.

This was Banks debut but it shows an understanding of the essential hardboiled elements that keeps the characters fresh and prevents them from slipping into melodrama.

This book is very enjoyable and is highly recommended.

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