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Beast of Burden (Cal Innes #4)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 11th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published March 1st 2009)
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Justice is almost done.

I didn’t expect to like this though I’m not sure why. There’s not a redeemable character in this lot yet I found their lives darkly compelling. I read on wondering who would come out on top; either the dirty and/or inept cops or the non-repentant criminals who’ve just left jail (and are probably headed straight back). This is a very British novel. It’s set in Manchester and I can only assume all the slang I didn’t understand hails from her rough streets. That might put som
Ray Banks is some kinda guy. I'd never read any of his books before, and if they are anything like this, prepare yourselves. Living on "the wrong side of town" doesn't come close to covering it. The police investigator, Donkin, is hapless--mentally out-manned by the criminals he seeks and by his colleagues, he resorts to lashing out in frustration at anyone within reach. He strives to reform, to control his fear and anger, and only succeeds in bottling it up to explode in rage again when events ...more
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 s ...more
Les Edgerton
Ray Banks


Wow. A world like the one I existed in when I was in my salad criminal days and which I’m pretty sure still exists intact. Where the cops have no morals and the outlaws do. I frickin’ loved this novel! And, I loved/hated the ending! I won’t spoil it here, but man! All I’ll say is that it fits perfectly Flannery O’Connor’s definition of a perfect ending—that it completely surprise and come clear out of left field, but that upon reflection it be the only possible en
Warren Stalley
Beast Of Burden is the final novel in the Cal Innes quartet. When his brother commits suicide Cal is distraught, then local gangster Morris Tiernan hires him to find his missing son Mo. But after events in the previous books Cal is a wreck, a stroke victim and humiliated. DS Iain Donkin is also back to hound and antagonise Innes. As the bleak story unfolds from twin points of view – Innes and Donkin, we see a fuller picture of their lives. Both men seemingly locked in self destructive spirals. W ...more
Greg Tymn
The Cal Innes series is really one book. It is incomplete in any other context. Fortunately, Mr. Banks assembled an Omnibus Edition, which is what I recommend to anyone who remotely enjoys Saturday's Child.

Some readers have disliked the intemperate language, or the violence, or the vernacular, or the shifting points of view…. Hmmm….I suppose each of those criticisms is legitimate, but that also makes for a very textured weave to the plot. Personally, I enjoyed it and found it no different than s
To get the full impact of the dystopia that is Ray Banks' Manchester, one really should start with the first in the series, Saturdays' Child. This book, the fourth in the series, starts with Callum Innes still trying to put his life back together. His brother has killed himself. Callum is recovering from a stroke and trying to get his life back. Or to get revenge on the ones who have caused his misery - Morris Tiernan, the powerful crime boss, and Sgt. Iain Donkins, the thuggish cop who dogs him ...more
P.I. Cal Innes is a mess. A drug induced massive stroke has caused him to be barely able to function: he walks with a cane, one leg dragging, he has trouble speaking. He's also mourning the death of his brother, a drug overdose suicide.

But he has a job to do.

Crime lord Morris Tiernan wants Cal to find his son. Which is funny. The Tiernan family is responsible for Cal's ills, from his brother's death, to his stroke, to his prison sentence.

Also on the case is another one not real friendly: Detecti
Mo Tiernan is missing.

This one simple fact kicks off Beast of Burden, the fourth book in Ray Banks's Cal Innes series. Through the course of the previous three novels, Innes has been beat up, blown up, lost part of an ear, developed a painkiller addiction, and had a stroke. Burden opens with him picking up an application for a barista job; one of the few jobs left someone who's "half mong" can do to support himself. So when local gangster "Uncle" Morris Tiernan says Innes is the only one he trus
Callum Innes is not your typical PI – a self proclaimed ‘mong’ after falling victim to a stroke, all the exterior hardness is seemingly replaced with venerability, a threat he poses no more - right to assume on face value, wrong in practicality. Innes is still one mean mofo and in ‘Beast of Burden’ we see a resilience and hardness like no other given his circumstances. Sought by mob boss Morris Tiernan to locate his estranged son, Callum is once again thrown into the brutal and violent world he’ ...more
Tim Niland
Cal Innes is a private investigator with a past. Ex-con, ex fight promoter and the victim of a drug induced stroke, this once dangerous man is reduced to walking the streets of Manchester with a cane and half of his face paralyzed. But Innes is a hard man, and tough to keep down. He is contacted by Morris Tiernan, head of the local crime family and someone with whom Innes has tangled with many times before. To his surprise, Innes is hired by Tiernan to find his son Mo who has gone missing. The n ...more
Robin Jonathan Deutsch
Tremendous finale to the Cal Innes Series.
Karen Dunaway
Liked at first, had similar dialect and rotten attitude (in a good way) of Trainspotting. But rotten characters (one character, the rotten cop) wore on me. Don't want to live too closely with people whom I abhor, at some point I'd just as soon start a different book. Apparently there are other books in the series which might have improved my compassion for these people - but no, I doubt I'd have got through all of them, just barely managed to finish this one. Pretty good writing.
Was not clever to read this first, the fourth in the series, but Ray Banks has been on my list for a while and when I spotted it in the library I grabbed it. Callum Innes a truly fucked up character here, but I want to know more so shall look out for the early ones, but delay reading so as to try and forget this one.

Tense plotting and tight dialogue, depiction of a truly dirty world, all exceedingly well-writ .
Sad. Relentlessly sad. But so visceral as to be one of the most satisfying reads I've had in a long time (probably also helped by the fact that it's the end of a tetralogy). Things don't end how you want but even wanting it is futile, and I knew that, unavoidably, as I was reading it. Holds up to Saturday's Child in a way I didn't feel from the previous two.
I'm sad to finish this quartet of books but looking forward to reading more from Banks.
Amazing how this one brought all of the other books together. The best book of the 4 . They should all be regarded as different chapters in the one big story though. This was the bleakest tragic one of them all . ray Banks doesn't do happy endings ( thank fuck!)
Just couldn't get into this book. The quoted dialect was so thick that I just couldn't get past it. I felt like I was slogging through quicksand to get to something that would make me want to keep going, and it didn't happen.
New character, new author. Book catches you at the beginning. My kind of book.
David Lieberman
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Other Books in the Series

Cal Innes (4 books)
  • Saturday's Child (Cal Innes, #1)
  • Sucker Punch (Cal Innes, #2)
  • No More Heroes (Cal Innes, #3)
Saturday's Child (Cal Innes, #1) Wolf Tickets No More Heroes (Cal Innes, #3) Sucker Punch (Cal Innes, #2) Gun

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