Cal Innes

Created by Ray Banks

If you like self-destructive, cynical P.I.s who just don’t seem to give much of a shit anymore, with a British twist and a Scottish burr, you could do far worse than Ray Banks’ CAL INNES, who hails from Manchester and appeared in several short stories and four novels. Here, his creator dishes up the dirt:

Callum Michael Innes was born 19th August 1975 in Leith. Physical descriptions aren’t necessary, suffice to say he’s not as fit as he should be, nor as handsome as he’d like to be (much like his creator). He has more than a passing penchant for The Clash, Billy Bragg,The Stranglers, The Smiths, David Bowie and Elvis Costello (again, much like his creator).

Cal’s background is sketchy. He left home after his abusive father James Innes had a few drinks too many and didn’t realise his son was just as big as him. At the age of eighteen, Cal followed his brother Declan to Manchester. Slowly but surely, he realised that Declan was working for a local ganglord, “Uncle Morris,” Tierney and slipping into junkiedom. Despite his best efforts, Cal was taken under Morris’ wing and left to take the rap when a botched warehouse robbery left a security guard dead. After two years and some change in Strangeways, Cal returned to the streets, rehabilitated and determined to go straight.

It hasn’t been easy. He’s harassed by the police, worried about his brother (who is now back in Edinburgh and in rehab) and desperately trying to do some good in a bad world. He has help in the form of Paulo, a retired fighter who runs a boxing club for young offenders. Cal has his office in the back, working as an unofficial private investigator. His clients are those who are either too shady to go to the police, or too cheap to pay for a licensed investigator. And while Cal is still a little green, he’s able to take more than his fair share of beatings. So far, his clients have included a corrupt detective sergeant with the Manchester Met, a homicidal children’s entertainer, a dog fighter and a failed beat poet.

Whatever it takes to get from cheque to cheque and somewhere along the mean streets towards absolution…


Ray Banks has been a student, a salesman, a croupier, and varying degrees of disgruntled office monkey. He was born in Kirkcaldy, but subsequently dragged from the frozen wastes to the north of England, where he discovered that it was just as cold as where he’d been born. Schooled and bullied, he sought solace in crap teenage poetry and horror novels. His first novel, a standalone entitled The Big Blind was published in 2004. The first novel to feature Cal Innes, Saturday’s Child, appeared in 2006, followed by Donkey Punch (2007), No More Heroes (2008) and Beast of Burden (2009), as well as several short stories. The four novels together make for one ripping read; one of the best story arcs in P.I. fiction of the new millenium.

Meanwhile he works as a sales support and business development assistant. Which means just as much to you as it does to him.


  • “So here I am, rattling like the last Pringle in the tube, coming up with theories left, right and centre. But then, when you’re trapped in the boot of the car that knocked the shit out of you, you tend to take stock.”
    — Cal Innes, last of the happy campers


  • “Banks is updating the noir novel with an utterly original sensibility.”
    — Publisher’s Weekly
  • “Banks is part of the post-Rankin generation for whom hardboiled is not just a state of mind but a reality. Tough-guy colloquial prose and a pace fast enough to skin a rabbit, at the service of a tale of down-and-dirty realism: this is fiery stuff.”
    — Maxim Jakubowskion Saturday’s Child
  • “Thrilling Detective fave Ray Banks has a new book out, Saturday’s Child, featuring tearaway private eye Cal Innes. It just slipped over the transom, appropriately enough, on Saturday afternoon. Of course, I absolutely don’t have time to read it, no, not at all, since my to be read-and-reviewed pile is now so friggin’ high it could interfere with air traffic in the area and I’m far too busy to read something just for fun, nope, no way, but I figured a little peek wouldn’t hurt, right? Right? The book kicks off with an assault by toilet and just gets better. And better. Damn you, Ray — there went my whole friggin’ frickin’ Saturday night.”
    — Kevin Burton Smith, fromThe Thrilling Detective Blog
  • “… crime fiction doesn’t get much grittier than this addictively readable narrative that’s in turn ill-tempered, cynical, vulgar, and unapologetically violent.”
    — Publisher’s Weekly on Beast of Burden
  • “… more blood, spit and tears — and heart — than a inner city ER on a Saturday night.”
    — Kevin Burton Smith


  • “The Monkey Man” (November 2002, Handheld Crime)
  • “Donkey Work” (August 2003, Hardluck Stories)
  • “Diamond Dogs” (Autumn 2003, Hardluck Stories)
  • “Walking After Midnight” (Winter 2003, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (February 2004, Shred Of Evidence)
  • “The Beat Goes On” (March/April 2004, Plots With Guns)
  • “God Put A Smile” (April 2004, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
  • “Take Down The Union Jack” (Summer 2004, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
  • “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” (undated)



  • Dirty Work: The Collected Cal Innes Stories (2012) Kindle it!
    Collects all nine short stories featuring Banks’ trouble-bound minder, plus an intro by the editor of this site. But buy it anyway.


Respectfully submitted by Ray Banks, with a little extra fuckery by Kevin Burton Smith.

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