Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
The hardest part, Connolly points out, is getting hot money into the banks, not getting it out. We all come against anti-money laundering procedures from time to time nowadays – all of us, that is, except bankers, financiers and serious criminals.
His crims in this, the follow-up to Layer Cake (filmed with Daniel Craig), have hard cash by the million (some fifteen million, at the start) so naturally they bypass the pettifogging regulations and bureaucracy the rest of us have to put up with, and head straight for a (fictional) compliant bank in Barbados. They’re tough, stupid and successful, and surprisingly unaware that fifteen million in disposable currency may attract other people. The compliant banker for a start – and he is just the start.
You could call this a caper novel, though it’s pretty short on laughs. It’s pretty short on credibility too, and entirely lacking in characters to like. But who likes big-time drug dealers? Lack of empathy didn’t stop Layer Cake, and shouldn’t stop fans of that novel buying this, ‘a criminal procedural rather than a police procedural,’ as Connolly tells us. Nevertheless, those who like more traditional crime fiction may prefer something, well, more traditional.