Lean yet prone to intriguing distractions, full of grit and a whole lot of bad things happening to bad people but still marked by Johnson's typical empathy for fuckheads. It may bother some that this is an unabashed Popov shot of a crime novel, a little cheaper-tasting than you might have expected in such fancy trappings from a fancyboy big-shot, the sort of thing that could have held its own in a squeaking wire-frame paperback display squeezed in between copies of pulp writers no one but the staff at Hard Case know about anymore. I was gonna give it three stars, but I bumped it up for the absence of existential philosophizing, of pantomime cheapness or any whiff of pretension, and I did enjoy the hell out of the fast read. Where others might toss off a crime novel to get at the way of the world, Johnson--like the best of 'em--just writes a world. A scuzzy, ill-starred, violent world, with a shot of hope on the side.