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The Big Blind Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Point Blank (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193099737X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930997370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,994,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his diverting noir debut, British author Banks pulls off the challenge of creating a repellent protagonist with few virtues who still manages to engage the reader. A salesman of double-glazed windows, Alan Slater feels his bleak life begin to spiral out of control when he accidentally kills a dog. Slater is then drawn into the violent world of a fellow salesman whose requests for help become increasingly demanding. The one ray of light in Slater's life, his young girlfriend, demonstrates a remarkable and baffling tolerance for his irregular habits and schedule. The author's own experiences in double-glazing sales lend an authentic flavor to his character's sometimes darkly humorous efforts to close a deal, though the story lacks the power and force that one associates with the work of a classic noir writer like Cornell Woolrich. A blurb from Ken Bruen, the king of Hibernian noir, may give a boost.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ray Banks shares his birthday with Curtis Mayfield and Chuck Barris and was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, the same day Roberto Rossellini kicked the bucket, and four days before The Sex Pistols went on that jaunt up the Thames. He has worked as a wedding singer, double-glazing salesman, croupier, dole monkey, and various degrees of disgruntled temp.

He currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and online at www.thesaturdayboy.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Fitzhugh on February 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
After reading an article in Crimespree Magazine in which Mr. Banks exposed the tendons connecting noir to Tom Waits I knew I had to read his novel. It's short, perhaps even a novella but that doesn't matter. It's pure punchy prose and dialogue that puts you into a world of struggling boozers, hard core working class mates whose lives revolve around jolts of nicotine, gambling, and rank violence. Anything to keep their minds off their next sales pitch for double glazed windows. A hint of Glengarry Glen Ross desperation wafts through the story like gas leaking from a pipe. It's about bad decisions and consequences and maybe even about the salvation that love offers. Events unfold in startling ways and there are more than a few good laughs but the characters are the strong suit here. Their noses break and bleed and you can't help but stare. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Life in Manchester, England is weighing heavily on Alan Slater and he can't wait to leave the place. In the meantime he works as a double glazing salesman by day and accompanies Les Beale, his friend and colleague to the city's casinos by night. Somewhere in between he finds time for his girlfriend Lucy, a university student and a possible stabilizing influence on his life.

But it's the destabilizing influence who dominates Slater's attention - Les Beale. Beale has a habit of attracting trouble and then relies on Alan to get him out of it. Whether it's drunk and obnoxious in a casino, starting fights with bar patrons or getting home unscathed, Beale has some sort of hold over Alan that he can't say no to and drops everything to help him out. The story, and Alan Slater's future all hinge on the night of a fixed poker game. Beale is playing the game, Slater is at home with Lucy, but as has happened every other time he's gotten into trouble, Beale calls Slater to help bail him out. Slater provides his help one time too many and the ride into hell begins.

Searing hangovers follow drunken nights and Alan's vows to cut his ties to Beale dominate the story as the slow spiral begins to gather momentum. The mirage of happiness in the form of his girlfriend, his job and his health flickers as Beale's influence is stronger than Alan's determination.

There is a boozy, paranoid hysteria about the story, opening with the breathless dread following a car accident in which Slater has hit and killed a dog. The pressure never lets up with a definite sense that Alan's life is always about to spin out of control. Told in the first person we become intimately familiar with Slater's feelings and the incredible lethargy he feels when it comes to standing up for himself.
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By Chicago Noir on January 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
This story is set in present-day England, but its antecedents are the American pulp novels of the 1950s -- think Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford. If you like those books, you'll like this one. The Big Blind is written in the first person with a protagonist who is not a particulary sympathetic character, but you'll find yourself identifying with him anyway. The fatalistic story really picks up steam in the second half. The author also knows how to turn a phrase, and the novel is not without its humorous moments (although those are usually "black humor"). If this is Ray Banks' first novel, he has a bright future ahead of him. The Big Blind is an excellent debut.
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