I've been avoiding Iain Banks since I read Dead Air, but just couldn't resist. It turned out to be a wonderful read, full of whacky characters which are eminently believable by virtue of their fully developed histories; every character is a creation of their experiences.
As well as the wonderful characters the plot is also rich in detail and corners. It is told temporally disjointed, but skillfully so so that the whole story unfolds in a surprisingly straight-forward, even linear, way.
And if that isn't enough, the whole is played out on a wonderful canvas that spans the globe and makes full use of the variety of lifestyles and cultures the world has to offer.
And then there is the final reveal which, while not mind-blowing, is unpredictable and surprising and draws a tidy ring around the story.
I shall have to get around to reading Banks' other non-sf stuff now, though I am sure, despite this book, that I am going to hate most of it.