I see from another (the only other) review here (so far) that Eightball
is Burke's first novel. Makes sense. What works is voice -- Burke's narrator is channeling some few thousand smart- and hard-assed protagonists, and yet, despite the many echoes threatening to drown the novel, Rigby's often funny, and Burke's prose often has bite, not just ye olde well-known bark.
For the first fifty pages, heaven. But the plotting--which is worked through with a lot of first-person exposition, Rigby figuring things out in big chunky paragraphs--is both overdetermined and over-complicated. I began to stick, stumble, trudge. Your mileage may vary, depending on how you balance the delights against the relentless familiarity. What I will say: it's a nice calling-card for Burke's chops.
(I'll admit to being mightily distracted by a new site called longform.org, which collects/archives recent and past examples of great longer-style journalism. Further, you can use instapaper.com to save these articles, and send 'em to your kindle or other device... and voila: your own cool journal. So I kept starting Burke, getting a little worn down... and switching over to read, instead, a piece on coincidence from a 2002 New Yorker, or any number of great essays by David Grann, or David Halberstam's brilliant piece on late-career Michael Jordan, or....)