Donkey Punch (novel)

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Donkey Punch (also referred to as Donkey Punch: A Cal Innes book and Sucker Punch) is a crime novel by author Ray Banks. It was first published in the United Kingdom by Edinburgh, Scotland company Birlinn Ltd in 2007. Donkey Punch is part of a series following protagonist Cal Innes, a former convict and private investigator. Innes agrees to accompany a novice boxer from England to a fight in Los Angeles, California. While there, Innes must investigate the subsequent kidnapping of the boxer, while battling his own internal struggles and avoiding trouble with the Los Angeles Police Department.



Cal Innes

  • The PI days are over, if they'd ever been there in the first place. I've been concentrating my energies on caretaker work, whatever errand Paulo needs me to run. Sweeping floors, picking up the focus pads, grunt work. Whatever pays the bills and keeps me clean. Because God knows, being on license isn't all it's cracked up to be. Probation's a barbed wire leash. And I've already felt it dig into my throat once before.
  • Burgess gazes through me, like he's trying to read my mind instead of asking me straight out. Probably thinking that if he did ask something, he'd get a fistful of lies in return. Some blokes I know, that stare puts the shits up them, makes them paranoid. Others just take it as a confirmation of their recidivism, makes them think their record marks them like a bad dose of acne, that they haven't got a chance in the outside world. And that's what they call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    • Banks 2009. p. 5.
  • The joker swigs whiskey and grips the bottle that little bit harder. This isn't going to end well. Everyone squaring up like it's West Side fucking Story. This is going to end with the pair of us in hospital and no medical insurance.
    • Banks 2009. p. 127.
  • I'm constantly surprised by the space in this country. Back in Manchester, there's no such thing as this much space. The city center's become a shrine to high-rise buildings, people shunted into tiny apartments, paying over the odds to enjoy wooden floors and sky-high urban living. Students and young professionals everywhere, multiplying like a hostile virus. But here a man can live without seeing another individual if he wants to. It's a comforting thought, that kind of isolation. I've lived too long under people's feet, or with people under mine. Might be good to get away from it all out here. It's a fantasy. A ridiculous fucking dream, but that's what this country's all about.
    • Banks 2009. p. 261.
  • You don't reason with a pillhead psycho. You don't try. You do what I just did — hit him as hard as you can and run the other way. And you hope you hit him hard enough that the battle's done and so's the fucking war. Hope you put enough force into those blows to make 'em count, put him down and keep him down.
    • Banks 2009. p. 276.
  • When I'm finished, I reach for the towel, catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror above the basin. The glimpse turns into a full vacant stare. Blood spots all over my face. A missing earlobe. Battle on. That's what they say. I rub the towel over my face, watch the blood smear in the mirror. Yeah, you battle on.
    • Banks 2009. p. 277.

Nelson Byrne

  • I was a pain in the ass when I fought. You want something that much, you think you can do it, that's all that matters. People, they're a waste of breath. Can't talk to people, because they're never gonna see the world like you see it. You get so wrapped up in yourself and your goals you can't see beyond the ring.
    • Banks 2009. p. 67.
  • I miss heroes. I miss real heroes. Used to be, you knew who the heroes were just by looking at them. Good guy in the white hat, bad guy in the black hat. You knew where you stood.
    • Banks 2009. p. 88.
  • This sport, it's a business more than ever now. The rankings don't mean anything. Those rankings were fixed when I was in the circuit, no reason to believe they're any different now. Talent talks, but it's the money that keeps you running. You got promoters paying off boards so their fighters can square off against each other and keep the dollars rolling through the gate. Doesn't matter who knocks down who, the promoter's the only one that really wins.
    • Banks 2009. p. 137.
  • A guy makes his living with his fists, it gets so that's the only thing he knows how to do. And when you're pro, you learn things you don't want to learn. You can get like me and get out, do something else, scrub yourself, and try not to look back.
    • Banks 2009. p. 163.
  • Jesus, man, you get hit in the head that many times, you hear one thing, you see something else, find out the people you respected and loved are setting you up because you're getting older and slower? You'd be a fucking saint not to let that affect you.
    • Banks 2009. p. 163.


  • By transplanting his thuggish noir from Manchester to LA, Ray Banks' second Cal Innes novel has two sets of mean streets to pace. Not that his grasp of characterisation has gotten any stronger: Donkey Punch is as terse and macho as Saturday's Child, although his hardboiled writing style has become more poised and confident.
  • Vivid and realistic, with an appealingly flawed hero and an interesting setting amid the underside of modern LA, this is a knockout.
    • Andrea Mullaney (1 April 2007). "Round up: Crime - Donkey Punch". Scotland on Sunday (The Scotsman Publications Ltd.): p. 6. 
  • I enjoy the hard-boiled style. ... It certainly isn't a new formula, though Ray Banks does follow it well.
    • James Crane (10 December 2009). "Crime drama". Electric City (Scranton, Pennsylvania: Section: Columns; 2009, Electric City, Scranton, PA. Archived by: NewsBank.). 
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