I met William Boyd at the London bookfair and had been looking forward to reading this book in spite of some reviews which cast a little doubt over its quality. I think that what he achieves in this book is significant. There is the tension that you would expect from what is I suppose a thriller. It comes very early on and I worried a little that it might lose strength. However, the energy is maintained by the introduction of deep characters and the slow emergence of the 'real' plot. There is revealing description of low life London. It is a book that takes you out of a safe place into one outside normal society.