This book was one of my "bedtime" reads. Each evening before going to sleep I would read a few pages to help me simmer down. Bad idea. This monograph practically turned the pages by itself; I was up late on more than a few occasions. I enjoyed Bower's ability to set a scene with regard to action and attention to detail. The characters are right out of real life and one cannot help but envision them as actual people we have known. The themes are gritty and forced me to come face to face with a few of my own fantasties. Bower's mastery of description and witty humor add weight to his work; reading it is like a spa for the intellect. It doesn't read like a first novel but rather a story that had to be told.