He had to remember – his heart pumped too fast, he’d bleed out quicker; too slow, and he’d pass out. Had to maintain a balance if he was going to make it out of this.
Richie has recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for ABH (actual bodily harm) committed during the course of doing a job for local crime boss/drug dealer, Goose. Richie’s girlfriend wants him to make a fresh start and get a proper job, but only 18 and with no real education Richie soon finds himself back on Goose’s doorstep looking for work.
Though at first Goose doesn’t even remember him – rather insulting since Richie did more time than he otherwise would have had to because he wouldn’t tell the police who he was working for – Goose soon assigns Richie the task of dropping by another lowlife’s place, picking up a gun Goose has arranged for, and bringing it back. Sounds simple enough. But of course it’s not. It never is.
Things go sideways for Richie almost immediately, and the matter-of-fact manner in which the violence that ensues is portrayed speaks to the brutal environment Richie and those around him similarly situated function in as they attempt to improve their lives through the only path they see as being a realistic means to an end: crime.
While on the surface Gun is a straightforward gritty tale of crime and noir, and a damn good one, there’s more going on than just fisticuffs and gunplay. Banks very subtly infuses the story with an undeniable undercurrent of futility and hopelessness that speaks to more than just Richie’s predicament, which is merely a reflection of the larger plight of those caught in a similar never-ending cycle: poverty, crime, prison, repeat.
It speaks to Banks’ skill as an author that he’s conjured up a quick and dirty tale that not only satisfies on a visceral level, but which also manages to make some very poignant social observations in the process. Both bleak and brilliant, and with an ending that will leave you feeling gutted, you should definitely give Gun a shot.