This book is written in a lively, energetic style that bounced me through the story. The narrator is Swanson’s main character, one Jimmie Barlow. The voice feels to me, though I am fairly long-in-the-tooth, to be a very authentic male teenage/young adult one. Seeing as the author is both female, and of nearer my age than a teenager, I consider her character’s words have been delivered with a great deal of aplomb and credibility. In places, I could hear my own young adult children talking.
To the outside world, Jimmie appears to have the profile of a classic off-the-rails young man. He is hooked on on-line gaming, dubious money-making enterprises, is often absent from school in which he has few friends, he associates with life’s tragic and criminal cases, and he is not beyond being the part of almost any mischief. Nearly everyone underestimates and/or believes the worst of Jimmie.
The plot has violent and tragic tones, an often irreverent humour, sad and dysfunctional characterisations, and all overlaying a serious subtext concerning social issues that impinge on nearly all of our lives. I am now a C.D. Swanson fan. There were a few copy errors in the version I read, but they were too minor to concern all but a ‘precision-editing-fascist’.