It starts with a meeting between protagonist Bruce and best mate Harpail. There is also an unnamed girl. It is not made clear, even at the end of the book, who the girl is. The meeting is three years after they last met. Presumably this first chapter is intended as a sort of prologue, to act as a hook by making us wonder what is going on.
The bulk of the book reads like a memoir of the first experiences of this young copper. It shows that the book has been intensively and extensively researched and there are some period details which help provide a solid basis of authenticity (although care needs to be taken not to make it seem that a detail has been included simply for the sake of proving that the author has done the research).
The memoir aspect of the book does mean that it is rather a slow burn. The climactic episode occurs at the 70% mark which seems rather late. Novels have a slightly different structure from memoirs.
A fascinating feature of this book are the very short chapters written in italics and clearly interjecting an alternative (female) point of view. These chapters act as a tease in the early part of the book and keep the reader going by providing a mystery hook.
Some good lines:
- "For Bruce, who had just turned nineteen, talk of retirement dates and annuities was like hearing a language from a country he never expected to visit." (C 2)
- "Was that what religion is about? A control mechanism in the hands of the older generation, designed to put young people on a guilt trip?" (C 15)
- "I am not a prostitute. I work as a prostitute." (C 32)